mon 04/03/2024

Kenneth MacMillan

Manon, Royal Ballet review - a glorious half-century revival of a modern classic

It’s 50 years since the first, damning reviews of Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet Manon declared it to be too long and lumbered with terrible music. One of them also said that the title role was an appalling waste of the ballerina who, in the title role...

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The Good Person of Szechwan, Lyric Hammersmith review - wild ride in hyperreality slides by

As the UK undergoes yet another political convulsion, this time concerning the threshold for ministers being shitty to fellow workers, it is apt that Bertolt Brecht’s parable about the challenges of being good in a dysfunctional society hits London...

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'You want to cry from loving to do it so much' - Lynn Seymour 1939-2023

As a critic, I’ve rarely felt compelled to mourn publicly about an artist. Mourning goes somewhere beyond the usual sense of loss and gratitude when someone's death has been announced. But it's the only word when the departed is one of the very few...

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Ballet's Dark Knight - Sir Kenneth MacMillan, BBC Four review – hagiography and home videos

If you came to this programme knowing nothing about the choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, you may have learned a few things. That he died, tragically and rather dramatically, of a massive heart attack during a first night performance of one his own...

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Obsidian Tear / Marguerite and Armand / Elite Syncopations, Royal Opera House review - an evening of high-performance mismatch

One day someone will come up with an algorithm for the perfectly balanced triple bill. Until then ballet directors will have to make do with hit or miss. The Royal Ballet’s latest three-part offering would appear to tick the boxes: something old,...

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Manon, Royal Ballet review - glitter and betray

"Massenet feels it as a Frenchman, with powder and minuets," declared Puccini in annoucing his own operatic setting of the Abbé Prévost's 1731 novel Manon Lescaut. "I shall feel it as an Italian, with desperate passion." That's the usual Kenneth...

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Song of the Earth/La Sylphide, English National Ballet review - sincerity and charm in a rewarding double bill

The unifying theme of this new Coliseum double bill is death, but don’t let that put you off. Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth and August Bournonville’s La Sylphide may seem like odd bedfellows, but both are a great deal more uplifting than...

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Best of 2017: Dance

With forelock-tugging celebrations of a choreographer who died 25 years ago and a summer visit by the Mariinsky the highest-profile events in the calendar, 2017 may not be remembered as a vintage year for British dance. But there were striking...

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Kenneth MacMillan, Royal Opera House review - a sprite proves merciless

There are different ways of celebrating a great artist’s legacy, and I suppose they have to coexist. One approach is raptly to admire his or her acknowledged masterpieces, the equivalent of making straight for Guernica or the Mona Lisa. The other...

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A Celebration of Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Northern Ballet review - a brave and worthy tribute

Northern Ballet do a challenging job really well: on a mid-scale touring company budget and doing all the things mid-scale touring companies have to do (tour, obviously, but also outreach and audience-building and Christmas ballets for children),...

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Mayerling, Royal Ballet review - 'every ballet fan should see this'

Sure, there are things not to like about Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling. Confusing plot. Plethora of characters. Unsympathetic (anti-)hero. Borderline melodramatic choreography. Tense, scary dénouement. But to be at the Royal Opera House last night...

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Anastasia, Royal Ballet

The reception of Kenneth MacMillan's ballet Anastasia has some similarities with that accorded the Berlin asylum patient who some believed to be the lost Romanov Grand Duchess. For supporters who wanted to believe in the fairytale, Anna Anderson's...

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