It’s that time of year where I find myself absently staring out of the window and wondering when I get to start my extended summer holiday. Mind you, as I’m absently staring out of the window today, one could easily be forgiven for thinking it’s October outside. Summer seems to have passed Angleterre by once again and there’s a menacing looking grey cloud chilling outside the window; squint and it definitely has a malevolent grin. Even though it’s been donkeys’ years since I left school, I still get a sense of ‘breaking up’ around this time of the year and it is always a crashing disappointment when I remember that I don’t get six weeks to chill and do nothing, I still have to drag myself to work every day. With the Olympics looming in the Metrop, that concept is even less joyous than usual…
With that feeling of ‘breaking up’ hanging over me, I took myself off to two school performances this weekend. There’s a world of difference between London Russian Ballet School (LRBS) and the Royal Ballet School (RBS) but they’re both out there with the same aims and ambitions.
LRBS presented Act 2 of Swan Lake and highlights from the Sleeping Beauty at the Royal College of Music’s Britten Theatre, ably led by Rachel Hernon and Evgeny Gerasymenko. On the surface, LRBS might seem a small fish in a big pond, but it has a big voice, big ambitions and a big future.
The RBS’ annual performance at the Royal Opera House was a complete world away. The RBS has been long established, say ‘ballet school’ to pretty much anyone and they’ll assume you mean the Royal. All the performances were polished and accomplished, showcasing the entire school but my particular highlight was Paul Boyd’s Uneven Song for the third year upper school students. And then of course there’s the Grand Defile where the hairs stand up on the back of your neck – it’s one of those things you have to see at least once.
Speaking of summer, it’s also that time of the year in the Metrop for the Proms. My housemate refused to believe that in all my years in the Metrop I’d never actually made it to a Prom of any description. After she’d stopped doing a stranded codfish impression at me, we synchronized diaries and selected ourselves a Prom to attend: Strauss, Strauss, something else and Sibelius. The ‘something else’ which never did stick in my mind, the Proms guide tells me was Laterna Magica by Kaija Saariaho having its UK premiere. As a piece it was enjoyable but it needed something visual to accompany it – preferably a Wayne McGregor piece but it would also work well as a film soundtrack. Of the others I adore Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra (especially that oh-so-glorious opening), could take or leave the Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Sibelius’ seventh was just utterly sublime.
I think it might be time for a little more Prom in my life… to the Proms guide!