Which Performances from Covent Garden Ballet 2015 to Book
EDITOR'S PICK: Our essential guide on the best London ballets to book from the Royal Opera House new season, when they come on sale next Tuesday.
1. La Fille Mal Gardée
Frederick Ashton’s 1960 La Fille Mal Gardée is a masterpiece toasted in English sunshine. It tells the story of country girl Lise and the strapping farmer Colas, young lovers kept apart by Lise’s mother, the Widow Simon.
The ballet is a love affair with the English countryside, inspired by Ashton’s own Suffolk home. Designs by Osbert Lancaster capture the sunny, hay-scattered farm, and costumes bloom with flowers and bright, swishing skirts. And watch out for the cute real-life pony.
If you're looking for a star turn, be sure to catch the gloriously gifted Marinela Nunez in the role of Lise. Nunez has become today's foremost Ashton interpreter, with her profound understanding of the technical demands of his style; and is undoubtedly the best Lise since Lesley Collier in 1981.
2. Bayadère - the Ninth Life: Shobana Jeyasingh, Linbury Studio
Contemporary and classical Indian choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh examines the western myths of the Orient to reimagine Marius Petipa’s classic 1877 ballet, La Bayadère.
There are few choreographers better qualified than Jeyasingh to take on this mythical minefield: herself, originally, a dancer of the Indian classical style Bharata Natyam. But Jeyasingh has a probing mind: her work has been increasingly involved with other forms and her company is now distinctly contemporary.
While her Bharata Natyam heritage will undoubtedly bring a new ring of authenticity to the Bayadère myths, references to her roots have become much more abstract in recent works, so don’t expect too much of the traditional belled feet.
The score will be provided by Gabriel Prokofiev, composer Sergei Prokofiev’s grandson. As such he’s the perfect choice to balance old and new, having eschewed his classical roots for electronica and garage.
3.Triple Bill: Balanchine, Shechter, MacMillan
Hofesh Shechter is one of the most sought-after choreographers working today. This, however, is the first time his often dark, pulsating and political work comes to the august Covent Garden stage to be danced by the Royal Ballet. The staging of the work, as yet unnamed, is an attempt by the company to find new directions without abandoning its classic roots.
This world première shares a bill with two acknowledged masterpieces: Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and MacMillan’s Song of the Earth. Both revolutionary in their own time, each demonstrates the choreographer’s desire to seek a new language and release dance into new realms.