Tag Archives: Koen Kessels

Royal Ballet Mixed Bill: The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude/ Tarantella/ Strapless/ Symphonic Dances, ROH, Covent Garden, May 2017

The main focus of this mixed bill is its final item, Liam Scarlett’s new work to Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. The abundant melody of this 1940 composition allows ideas to emerge in and around each other, skilfully expressed in Scarlett’s choreography. For the forces of nature in this music, brilliantly conducted by Koen Kessels, Scarlett and …

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Royal Ballet Triple: The Human Seasons/ After the Rain/ Flight Pattern, ROH, March 2017

This wonderful triple bill of modern ballets sees revivals of two very successful works and a new ballet by Crystal Pite, all superbly conducted by Koen Kessels. First came David Dawson’s Human Seasons, inspired by Keats’s poem that refers to human life in terms of its spring, summer, autumn and winter. Dawson refers to a …

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Sleeping Beauty, Royal Ballet, ROH, February 2017

The second run of Sleeping Beauty this season started in grand style with Marianela Nuñez as Princess Aurora and Vadim Muntagirov as her prince, and a cast close to that for the live cinema relay at the end of the month. In Act I Nuñez showed the thrill of a teenager at her own coming …

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Frankenstein, Royal Ballet, ROH, Covent Garden, May 2016

Liam Scarlett’s interest in German myth and murderous intrigue, already apparent in his ballets Hansel and Gretel and Sweet Violets, now finds its full flowering in Mary Shelley’s 1818 story of Victor Frankenstein. This meditation on loss, the yearning for love, and fear of the outsider shows the folly of taking on oneself the gods’ …

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Wheeldon Triple: After the Rain/ Strapless/ Within the Golden Hour, Royal Ballet, February 2016

This was the first outing at Covent Garden for each of these three ballets, and for Christopher Wheeldon’s new narrative work Strapless a world premiere, framed here by the two abstract pieces. The first, After the Rain is a lovely ballet in two sections to music by Arvo Pärt, premiered by the New York City …

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Romeo and Juliet, with McRae and Lamb, Royal Ballet, ROH, Covent Garden, September 2015

Things are looking up at the Royal Ballet with new music director Koen Kessels. From the first bars it was clear that a new hand was at work, and his conducting on the opening night of the Company’s new season put recent musical performances deservedly into the shadows. At the end of the first Act …

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Raven Girl/ Symphony in C, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, May 2013

Choreographer Wayne McGregor’s strength is as a visual artist, and this ballet is based on a fairy tale by Audrey Niffenegger, a novelist and visual artist. A postman falls in love with a raven that gives birth to their child the Raven Girl, who yearns to be bird rather than human. Despite the range of …

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Grosse Fuge/ Lyric Pieces/ Take Five, Birmingham Royal Ballet, BRB, Sadler’s Wells, October 2012

This triple bill, titled Opposites Attract, concludes with Hans van Manen’s fine 1971 ballet Grosse Fuge to orchestral music by Beethoven, but in the meantime we are treated to two more recent works with music of a lighter texture. The programme starts with David Bintley’s Take Five to jazz music created by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. This is fun. Lighting …

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Coppélia, Birmingham Royal Ballet, BRB, London Coliseum, March 2012

London Coliseum audiences who went to Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann recently saw one version of Coppélia in the first act of that opera. It involves a young man who falls for a mechanical doll built by Dr. Coppélius, based on an 1816 tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann himself. This ballet was created in Paris in 1870 less than two months before the …

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Daphnis and Chloë/ The Two Pigeons, Birmingham Royal Ballet, BRB, London Coliseum, March 2012

Essential for first rate ballet are music and choreography, and this double bill provides them in spades, along with some very fine dancing. Both ballets involve young lovers splitting apart, yet reunited at the end, and both are choreographed by one of the great masters of the twentieth century, Frederick Ashton. His creations were entirely new, the …

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Cinderella, Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB), London Coliseum, March 2011

… the nasty stepmother [was] brilliantly portrayed by Marion Tait. Her ball dress was stunning, and when the prince brings the slipper to the house she follows her awful daughters in trying it on . . . before Cinderella herself comes forward.

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Giselle with Benjamin and Watson, Royal Ballet, January 2011

Giselle is a jewel in the Royal Ballet’s repertoire, and this production by Peter Wright carefully preserves the nineteenth century mime sequences in Act I, where Giselle’s mother warns about the legend of the wilis who will capture some carefree young fellow and make him dance to his death. The young Count Albrecht, sowing his wild …

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