"Michael O’Hare" tag
Yijing Zhang as the Snow Fairy and Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet in the Waltz of the Snowflakes in The Nutcracker.© Andrew Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

★★★★✰   In spite of all the problems with performing a proscenium arch ballet in an arena setting with a purpose-built stage, it is no less magical than any other production and in some ways, it works advantageously.

Momoko Hirata in Romeo and Juliet.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Romeo and Juliet – London

★★★★✰   It was a fine team performance from the company but particular honours go to Momoko Hirata’s Juliet who let us know what she was thinking and feeling at every moment.

Lauren Cuthbertson in The Nutcracker.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

★★★★★   The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker has undergone various changes since its gala premiere in 1984, not least in the central roles of Clara and Drosselmeyer…

Iain Mackay (Prospero) in David Bintley's The Tempest.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – The Tempest – London

★★★✰✰   Bintley has treated Shakespeare’s drama as a masque, full of spectacle, music and dancing, with elusive characters that are more allegorical than realistic. It doesn’t work as a narrative ballet because the sub-plots are too complicated…

Anna Kuligina and Ivan Vasiliev in La Fille mal gardée.© Nikolai Krusser. (Click image for larger version)

Mikhailovsky Ballet – La Fille mal gardee (Vasiliev / Kuligina) – St. Petersburg

Kuligina was the perfect foil for Vasiliev’s Colin (Colas) and the pair played off one another. There could be no better role for Vasiliev…

Delia Mathews (The Suicide) and Cesar Morales (The Stranger) in Miracle in the Gorbals.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – La Fin du jour, Miracle in the Gorbals, Flowers of the Forest – London

Gillian Lynne has made Helpmann and Benthall’s wartime collaboration into a gutsy dramatic ballet, probably with more choreography than Helpmann attempted.

Anastasia Soboleva and Victor Lebedev in La Fille mal gardée.© Stas Levshin. (Click image for larger version)

Mikhailovsky Ballet – La Fille mal gardee – St. Petersburg

…the audience was in thrall to the bucolic genius of Ashton’s production with as many curtain calls at the premiere as I can recall witnessing for a very long time.

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