English National Ballet has announced the next mouthwatering programmes to be streamed in the coming weeks as part of its Wednesday Watch Parties.
We've already seen Broken Wings, choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's one-act homage to the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, Dust, Akram Khan's dedication to the women of World War I, Rudolf Nureyev's production of Romeo and Juliet and Aszure Barton's exotic Fantastic Creatures. ENB's first artist and associate choreographer Stina Quagebeur's Nora, inspired by Ibsen's A Doll's House came next, followed by Derek Deane's production of Swan Lake.
Now ENB turn to choreographer Kenneth MacMillan and bring us two of his most powerful and haunting works: Song of the Earth and Manon.
Wednesday, 17th June at 7 pm and available form 48 hours afterwards
Song of the Earth (pictured top)
Created in 1965, MacMillan's ballet closely follows the intentions of its chosen score, Mahler's song cycle, Das Lied von der Erde. It's anchored by three leading figures: a Woman, a Man and a masked, black-clad Messenger of Death. In Tamara Rojo, Joseph Caley and Jeffrey Cirio MacMillan's Song of the Earth has mesmerising interpreters. The singing parts are taken by contralto Rhonda Browne and tenor Samuel Sakker.
This performance was filmed at the Palace Theatre Manchester in October 2017, and was part of the national celebration of MacMillan on the 25th anniversary of his death.
Wednesday , 24th June at 7pm and available for 48 hours afterwards
Alina Cojocaru as Manon, Joseph Caley as Des Grieux in ENB's Manon. © Laurent Liotardo
MacMillan at his narrative best, Manon is based on a novel by Abbé Prévost, which excoriates the corruption of mid-18th-century France, and depicts the glaring contrasts between the ostentatious riches and abject poverty existing cheek by jowl in Paris.
Manon is a young country girl, easily seduced by the riches of Paris, for which she leaves her first love, the penniless poet Des Grieux. Her downfall, dragging the faithful Des Grieux down with her, is harrowing.
The ballet has a number of lively ensemble dances and meaty solo roles, all set to Massenet's glorious music. In this performance the tile role is danced by the luminous Alina Cojocaru, with Joseph Caley as Des Grieux. Manon's dissolute brother, Lescaux, is danced by Jeffrey Cirio, and his mistress is the very watchable Katja Khaniukova.
The only let down in this particular production are the jejune sets and some really questionable costumes, but they're not enough to detract from the enjoyment of this stunning work.
This performance was filmed at the Manchester Opera House in October 2018
Wednesday Watch Parties is one strand of ENB at Home, a programme of performances and activities to follow at home, including dance classes for all abilities. Find full details here.
|What||ENB Wednesday Watch Parties LATEST|
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22 Apr 20 – 17 Jun 20, 19:00 and available for 48 hours afterwards