Les Sylphides, Sensorium, The Firebird, Royal Ballet, 21 May 2009, return visit


This was a return visit to see a performance with a different cast. Here is the link to the earlier review of the first night.

This time Les Sylphides featured David Makhateli and Tamara Rojo as the principal couple, backed up by Yuhui Choe in the waltz, Helen Crawford in the Mazurka, and the same leading sylphs as before. All were very good, as was the corps, but I thought Rojo and Choe were outstanding. The conducting by Barry Wordsworth was very slow at the beginning, though it picked up tempo later, but the trouble is that his work lacks incision and edge — it is just mellifluous and laboured, or in a single word, dull.

In the other cast for Alastair Marriott’s new ballet Sensorium, to music by Debussy, we had Mara Galeazzi with Bennet Gartside, and Melissa Hamilton with Gary Avis as the main couples. The lighting worked well this time, and the designs by Adam Wiltshire were excellent as before, with white leotards for the principal ladies and light peacock blue for the others. The cast seemed very much in tune with the ballet, and Melissa Hamilton was simply wonderful. It’s astonishing that she’s a mere 21 years old.

The Firebird was once again a blaze of colour, and the corps were terrific. This time we had Leanne Benjamin as a very fine firebird, with Edward Watson as the Tsarevich, Genesia Rosato as the Tsarevna, and Christopher Saunders as the immortal Kostcheï. All did well, and Saunders was very strong in this part, which seems to suit him better than some of the other roles I’ve seen him do.

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