Before we get into the crucial business of ‘oooh look, I’ve been to see ballet’, my ego just needs a moment. Go check out who got profiled over on Adult Ballerina Project! Yeah boiiiiiiiiii, that’s me, right there. There’s lovely, as we say at work.
Anyway, back to more crucial things in this life – I was back at my spiritual home on Friday night for the first time this year to catch the last night of the Firebird/In The Night/Raymonda Act III triple bill. It was worth the wait, I can tell you that much.
The Firebird is jolly good fun (although I’m never wild about those enchanted princesses chucking their apples about). Roberta Marquez’s Firebird is incredible – all wild eyed, powerful and with something of the untameable about her. There’s some sterling corps work going on which makes it a visual feast for the eyes and that Stravinsky score is simply out of this world. Occasionally it lacked the big, dramatic punch that the piece needs but everything pales into insignificance with that ending, that music, that backdrop. Mmm.
The Mariinsky brought Jerome Robbins’ In the night over a couple of summers ago and –despite my off-off relationship with Dances at a Gathering – I was completely spellbound by the piece, wondering if the Royal Ballet could match that. In short? HELLS TO THE YEAH. Mein Gott, seriously, it was everything (and more) that I wanted from it. I loved all of it, all three couples (all the plaudits to Emma-Jane Maguire and Alexander Campbell, Zenaida Yanowsky and Nehemiah Kish, Roberta Marquez and Carols Acosta) totally in their roles. It was breathtakingly sublime, to the point I kind of kept forgetting about the breathing malarkey. Let’s face it, I can really only sum it up in fangirlese: OMG!!!ELEVENTYONE!!!SQUEE!!! Err, more please?
The bill was rounded off with Act III from Raymonda which sounds like a jolly good fun ballet all round and I kind of want to see the whole thing now. I love a good ballet held together with the most tenuous and absurd of plots. And you know what was even better about this performance? Bonus Gary Avis (replacing a multitude of injuries) leading the Hungarian with Kristen McNally, actual beauty, genius and nigh on perfection. Also awesome was Yuhui Choe one tip top sparkling form. Ohhhhh and Zenaida Yanowsky’s arms were just brilliant – so luxurious in her port de bras. Hng. Altogether a rather jolly piece.
On the back of returning to my spiritual home, I continued with my mission to visit the cinema more in 2013 having realised I’d only been three times in 2012 (fo’ realz) – so far this year I’ve seen Quartet (sososo perfect) and Les Misérables. I worried about Les Mis ins Kino, totally apprehensive that Hollywood would ruin the musical I’d been in love with since my teens (how could anyone ever compare to Ruthie Henshall as Fantine? No seriously…). Let’s face it, I’ve wanted to be Eponine from the first viewing (despite my total absence of singing talent, shh) and it’s still the role I continue to totally identify with (*le sigh*). Anyway, my worries were (largely) unfounded and the film was not the total disaster I’d anticipated – whew! Eddie Redmayne is a distractingly beautiful Marius (priorities!) , Hugh Jackman’s Valjean gets better as the film goes on and I enjoyed Samantha Bark’s Eponine. However, I feel the film was completely stolen by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baren Cohen as the Thénardiers – the right balance of grimey, cringey, dirty madness that made your skin crawl. Now I need to go back and see it on stage…