Sylvia, Royal Opera House, London
Monday 08 November 2010
Frederick Ashton's Sylvia is a frilly mythological ballet with a delightful Delibes score and a cast including everything from gods to ceremonial goats. The Royal Ballet's production is a sumptuous recreation of the 1952 original, but needs more authority behind the trimmings.
Ashton created Sylvia to show off Margot Fonteyn. It is a ballerina's vehicle and it needs a dancer who will take charge. Sylvia has to carry the evening as the plot gets on with rescues and transformation scenes around her. We need to see the contrasts between her many dances.
Marianela Nuñez, who danced Sylvia on opening night, has a lively presence and delicate musical timing – I love the way the last stretch of her fingertips will round off a phrase. She makes a fiercely Amazonian huntress, moving into tenderness as she falls for the shepherd Aminta. Yet the spontaneity and sheer joy of Nuñez's best dancing was missing. She also neglected a lot of the upper-body detail, the delicate femininity, of Ashton's choreography.
Rupert Pennefather dances Aminta with clean lines, easy jumps and honest simplicity. As the wicked hunter Orion, Gary Avis makes a swaggering villain. Kenta Kura, as Eros, handles his transformation from a statue well, but is unmusical in the dancing that follows.
The Royal Ballet are not on top of Sylvia. It is an extravagant work that needs the discipline of style, something this reconstruction rarely pulls off. Ashton's home company should be at ease with his brilliant footwork and sensuous use of the upper body. Too many of the supporting characters were shaky, unfocused or worse. Boris Gruzin's conducting lacked elegance.
Individual dancers do stand out. As an attendant, Yuhui Choe was gorgeously Ashtonian. Laura Morera showed crisp attack as the goddess Diana, while Iohna Loot and Paul Kay made a bouncy pair of goats.
In rep to 1 December (020 7304 4000)
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in 'disturbing surge of beheadings'
- 5 Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
Great British Bake Off 2014: Diana Beard quits after falling ill
Great British Bake Off 2014: Ofcom receives 13 complaints about Baked Alaska episode
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >