Mayerling, Royal Opera House, London

Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling isn't a conventional choice for a first-time ballet. It traces the decline of Crown Prince Rudolf, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, from his marriage to his death in a suicide pact with his teenaged mistress. This really isn't The Nutcracker.

The Brandstrup-Rojo Project, Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London

Variations that bear repeating

Don Carlo, Royal Opera House, London

The heat generated by this scorching revival of Verdi's Don Carlo had little to do with burning heretics or indeed any aspect of Nicholas Hytner's lucid if rather passive staging, but rather the conducting of Semyon Bychkov whose drive and patience ensured that both the urgency and weight of history defining this great score were magnificently served.

Verdi Don Carlo, Royal Opera House, London

The heat generated by this scorching revival of Verdi’s Don Carlo had little to do with burning heretics or indeed any aspect of Nicholas Hytner’s lucid if rather passive staging but rather the conducting of Semyon Bychkov whose drive and patience ensured that both the urgency and weight of history defining this great score were magnificently served.

Linda di Chamounix, Royal Opera House

The prospect of four solid hours of un-staged opera is enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the most zealous of opera-fans, yet the Royal Opera House’s brief two-performance fling this week with Donizetti’s lesser known masterpiece is an absolute delight.

David Ashmole: Ballet dancer and teacher whose elegance made him ideal for the princely 'danseur noble' roles

David Ashmole, principal dancer and teacher, who died too young and too unexpectedly, was, in the ballet terminology of older times, a danseur noble, a dancer destined to play princes, because he combines elegance with long, beautiful lines. "Any position he took, it always looked beautiful," said the former ballerina Margaret Barbieri, who had a lengthy working relationship with him. "I always think of him as our beautiful David. Yet he was always humble; he never pushed himself; and that is so rare in our profession." For those and other qualities he will be remembered by audiences in Britain, where he danced with the two Royal Ballet companies, and by audiences in Australia, who knew him as a member of the Australian Ballet.

Summer Collection, Clore Studio, Royal Opera House , London

This year's Summer Collection has new momentum. The Royal Opera House's biennial season of contemporary dance is a mix of guest companies, associate artists and in-house work. The new streamlined programme, curated by Theresa Beattie, is faster paced than in previous years, short numbers put briskly together.

McCartney's muses: Collective Works

Mary McCartney is a top photographer with a new show coming up – but there's still no escaping her parents' influence, she tells Matthew Barnett

Purcell Dido and Aeneas/ Handel Acis and Galatea, Royal Opera/ Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, London

It’s probably apocryphal, but a member of the Covent Garden elite was once heard to exclaim: “What is it tonight, darling, singing or dancing?” Well, both actually.

Isadora / Dances at a Gathering, Royal Ballet, London

A loving attempt to revive a flop

Royal Ballet Triple Bill, Royal Opera House, London<br>Joaquin Cortés Unleashed, Roundhouse, London

There's bare flesh all over, but it takes more than that to make the pulse race

Three Short Works, Royal Opera House, London

The Royal Ballet's latest triple bill is an unsatisfactory experience. Will Tuckett's Seven Deadly Sins still doesn't work, Mats Ek's Carmen is still endlessly dreary, while Christopher Wheeldon's DGV: Danse à grande vitesse has lost momentum. In a season full of odd programming, this looks unfortunately characteristic.

La Bayadere, Royal Opera House, London

La Bayadère is the kind of ballet where infidelity is punished by the gods dropping a temple on the hero. The setting is a fantasy India, full of lush forests, gilded palaces and vistas that look like tinted engravings. Emotions run high, with a princess and a temple dancer (a bayadère) in love with the same man, with general plotting on the sidelines. It's melodramatic hokum, and it needs gusto. This Royal Ballet revival doesn't have it.

Turandot, Royal Opera House, London

How ironic that the one Puccini opera left unfinished at his death should end with what has become the greatest of his hits – "Nessun Dorma". Mind you, Turandot is big on irony, most of it dispensed by Ping, Pang, and Pong, the jolly trio from old Peking's ministry of executions, and in Andrei Serban's now almost legendary Royal Opera staging, given here on the very day of the composer's 150th anniversary, they are very much the life and soul of the party.

Turandot, Puccini, Royal Opera House, London

How ironic that the one Puccini opera left unfinished at his death should end (or so it was deemed by those responsible for the finishing touches) with what has become the greatest of his hits – “Nessun dorma”.

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