Over the past few weeks the big ballet companies have been all over social media flaunting their new seasons, in some cases with fabulous, state of the art, trailers (like San Francisco Ballet and Dutch National Ballet). Hot on their heels and conspicuously earlier comes The Royal Opera House: their next ballet and opera season is wrapped and announced well before the arrival of spring.
There’s one catch though: we’re missing the casting details for the autumn ballets which used to be provided at the same time. While we wait for them, many tweets are being exchanged about dream casts and there’s also this interesting discussion thread going on at Ballet.co.
Season details can be downloaded from [here]. Below we take a quick look at what will make us tick from Oct 2010 to June 2011:
Onegin – We are thrilled to see Cranko’s masterpiece back at Covent Garden after a rest of 3 seasons. The balletsphere is currently buzzing with cast speculations and we’re certainly hoping for some new Onegins and Tatianas, with much finger-crossing for Marianela Nuñez – given what she said in our Valentine’s special interview. In other words, we’re watching this space.
Mixed Bill: La Valse/New Brandstrup/Winter Dreams/Themes & Variations – Ashton & Balanchine’s works are the perfect opportunity to display the Royal Ballet’s corps de ballet in all its glory. We are curious about Kim Brandstrup’s new work: will it match this atmosphere of “grand occasion” or, rather more likely, pair up with brooding Winter Dreams which completes the bill? Bring on the Ballroom Blitz!
Manon – Last time this work was revived injury robbed Rupert Pennefather, Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae of making their debuts as Des Grieux, Manon and Lescaut. We’re hoping we can finally see them in action, together with some MacMillan dream casts: Mara Galeazzi and Edward Watson, closely followed by Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg. Count me in for many performances.
Wheeldon’s brand new Alice in Wonderland – Here’s the question on everyone’s minds: will it be Alice in Tweeland or darker shade of Alice? We’d take “darker Alice” any day but one way or another it’s great to see a brand new full-length piece co-created for the Royal Ballet and NBC. We’re curiouser and curiouser…
Swan Lake – Yes I know, why-oh-why Swan Lake again? But the Bag Ladies don’t usually brood for long… We have been limiting our exposure to this ballet so that come January 2011 we can relish the opportunity of seeing new pairings. Ok, confession time: what we reaaaally want to see is Alina finally showing up at the Lake after her absence from the last two revivals. And surely Sarah Lamb must be an Odette of greatness?
New McGregor – Wayne McGregor always rocks my socks, even more when coupled with mega hard Balanchine’s Ballo Della Regina. DGV returns a bit sooner than we would have expected but at least this bill will have a nice energy to it. As mandatory as triple bills go.
Triple Bill: Rhapsody/Sensorium/Rite of Spring – Reviving last year’s Sensorium alongside such masterpieces as Rhapsody and Rite will only serve to expose its weaknesses but perhaps putting something light in the middle gives audiences room to catch their breaths for the emotional intensity in MacMillan’s Rite? We’re rather liking the idea of a “male chosen one”, so bonus points to compensate for bland Sensorium.
Onegin – The Royal Ballet are well versed in MacMillan’s gritty dramas and therefore on familiar territory with Cranko’s Onegin. This narrative ballet is at its most powerful when danced by a strong leading cast and one of my all-time favourite performances happened in the last revival: Johan Kobborg in the title role and Alina Cojocaru as his Tatiana. If there is a ticket I will splurge on, this is the one. The cherry on the cake would be having “El McRae” cast as Lensky.
Giselle – I can’t get enough of Giselle. It has everything one could wish for in a ballet: gorgeous dancing, beautiful music, a story with infinite interpretive possibilities. While the company boasts some of the best Giselles in the business… I must confess: I am team Myrtha all the way. It’s a girl power thing.
Manon – Will Marianela Nuñez have a go at Manon? Will the Bag Ladies FINALLY get to see Johan Kobborg and Alina Cojocaru in this MacMillan blockbuster? Is Manon the prey or the hunter? Watch this space as we gear ourselves for this Pas de Deux heaven.
Mixed Bill: La Valse/New Brandstrup/Winter Dreams/Themes & Variations. From Ashton’s beautiful ballroom to contrasting views of Russia and ballerina grandeur, there’s something for everyone and plenty of challenges for the dancers. Watch out for the Ashtonian upper body in La Valse vs. Balanchine’s speedy footwork in T&V.
Ballo de la Regina – New Balanchine for The Royal Ballet with a legendary ballerina lead which goes beyond true allegro technician (feet feet feet!) and demands an extremely musical dancer. Off the top of my head I’d bet on Marianela Nuñez, Alina Cojocaru and/or Tamara Rojo getting the gig.
Triple Bill: Scènes de Ballet/Voluntaries/Still Life at the Penguin Cafe: The Bag Ladies are puzzled with this triple bill. We can’t find a common denominator between these works by Ashton, Tetley and Bintley. Scènes, which evokes Imperial Russia in its use of intricate, mathematical dance patterns (make sure to get a seat in the heavens for this one), is always welcome but if I had my wish it’d be mixed with Symphonic Variations and Rhapsody to form a rather lovely Ashton Triple Bill.
Wheeldon’s brand new Alice in Wonderland: New full-length after recession year can only mean a kiddie-friendly Alice… or perhaps not (as Bag Lady E. hopes)? But the real question for me is: can Wheeldon pull off a 2 hour long narrative ballet? Will he? Let’s for now remain optimistic and busy ourselves with the search for a blue dress and matching headband to wear at the premiere.