Royal Opera House, London
The Royal Ballet
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Monday 12 October 2009
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.
Wednesday 23 September 2009
Thursday 17 September 2009
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.
Wednesday 16 September 2009
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.
Tuesday 15 September 2009
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
Tuesday 01 September 2009
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.
Thursday 30 July 2009
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.
Wednesday 10 June 2009
Purcell Dido and Aeneas/ Handel Acis and Galatea, Royal Opera/ Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, London
Wednesday 01 April 2009
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.
Monday 16 March 2009
Sunday 08 February 2009
Thursday 05 February 2009
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.
Thursday 15 January 2009
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.
Wednesday 24 December 2008
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.
Tuesday 23 December 2008
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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