The Royal Ballet brings us an outstanding showcase of ballet as an artform, demonstrating a range of movement styles through which timeless emotions and narratives are portrayed. Move over Hyde Park, I’ve found my new favourite Winter Wonderland in town.
Beatriz Stix-Brunell and Mayara Magri in Les Patineurs, The Royal Ballet 2018 ROH. Photograph by Alice Pennefather
Last performed by the Royal Ballet in 2010, Les Patineurs is a wonderful yet elusive gem in founder choreographer, Frederick Ashton’s, repertory. The magical set, designed by William Chappell, transports you to a whimsical world of balletic ice-skating and is made all the more other-worldly by the lightness of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s music. The first in the triple bill, this performance certainly sets an extremely high bar with stunning pas de deux work from First Soloists, Fumi Kaneko and William Bracewell, and fellow First Soloist, Yuhui Choe, nailing her fouetté sequence. Marcelino Sambé was the standout performer, showing why he is unquestionably a rising star in the company, through his sensational performance as the Blue Boy.
Yasmine Naghdi as Irina, Itziar Mendizabal as Olga and Marianela Nunez as Masha in Winter Dreams, The Royal Ballet 2018 ROH. Photograph by Alice Pennefather
The Royal Opera House stage was unrecognisable after the interval as the company geared itself up for Kenneth MacMillan’s Winter Dreams, which is inspired by Anthon Chekov’s play, Three Sisters. The MacMillan piece plunges us into rural Russia where we are introduced to sisters Olga, Masha and Irina, portrayed by First Soloist, Itziar Mendizabal, and Principal dancers, Marianela Nunez and Yasmine Naghdi, respectively. In true MacMillan style, this piece shows us the darker, melancholic side of the winter months with tales of love and lost love. These themes present themselves to us through especially beautiful ensembles and solo performances. You cannot take your eyes off Marianela Nunez even if you tried - the fluidity and expression contained in her technically perfect movements leave no doubt that she is one of the greatest prima ballerinas in the world.
Robert Clark as the Pianist, Lauren Cuthbertson as the Ballerina and Kristen McNally as the Angry Lady in The Concert, The Royal Ballet 2014 ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper
Jerome Robbins’ The Concert completes the trio of performances and brings you slapstick style comedy in a nonetheless brilliant display of dance. The well-loved piece depicts the gathering of a crowd around an on-stage pianist. What ensues is a sequence of humorous events which serve to parody the very idea of performance. The deck chairs on stage make this piece - maybe an odd inclusion at first - but the elements of depraved comedy warrant call it a weird baby of the two performances preceding it. With much of the same vibrancy seen in Les Patineurs and the, albeit comical, tragic events of Winter Dreams, The Concert is a delightful way to end the triple bill on a note of much laughter. Principal dancer, Lauren Cuthbertson, was stunning in her role as the Ballerina and no less brilliant was Robert Clark, the pianist.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford
The Royal Opera House
December 18th 2018 - January 4th 2019