all Linbury tickets allocated to Friends of Covent Garden’s priority booking sold out instantly.
So, if you want to share in what is bound to be an unforgettable experience, stand by to book the moment tickets go on sale to the general public on 31st March (8 am online; 10 am at the box office).
And here’s why you should: Whelan/Watson: Other Stories is the unique coming together of two of the greatest and most individual ballet talents on both sides of the Atlantic.
American ballerina Wendy Whelan was a cherished principal of New York City Ballet for thirty years. Her whippet-thin physique belies almost super-human strength and a solid technique. This combines with a profound expressiveness and an unwavering work ethic and focussed approach to her art.
In short, she is the ballerinas’ ballerina – and this despite suffering from scoliosis from an early age. While at NYCB she took on and illuminated all the major classical roles; but felt drawn too to the different demands of contemporary works.
Those who saw her in the pas-de-deux After the Rain, created especially for her (and her then NYCB partner Jack Soto) by the British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, still wonder how anybody else – anybody at all! – will dance it after Whelan.
Now in her late 40s, Whelan retired from the company last year, and immediately launched the new stage of her career with Restless Creature, a programme of duets with four up-and-coming contemporary choreographers. The programme toured internationally and was seen at the Linbury.
One satisfied punter tweeted: “beautiful, thoughtful, poignant. And pleasingly ninja-esque in parts.”
Briton Edward Watson is one of the Royal Ballet’s most interesting and individual dancers. Not exactly a pure classical hero – not really a Siegfried or an Albrecht – his extraordinary physicality and temperament are more suited to roles that require strong character interpretation and feats of seemingly impossible flexibility.
Watson was recently seen as a deeply tormented Leontes, the pathologically jealous King in Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale; most unforgettable of all was perhaps his rendition of Gregor Samsa, the travelling salesman of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, who wakes up one morning transformed into an enormous, gross beetle.
Watson’s beetle was at once repulsive and pitiful; the anguish in his eyes the only human trait left in a body improbably and convincingly turned into that of a giant crawling insect.
The award-winning choreography for The Metamorphosis was by another of Britain’s choreographers-of-the-moment, Arthur Pita; and Pita provides one of the works in this intriguing coming together of Whelan and Watson.
Both dancers have over the years played muse to a number of choreographers; in his new work for this programme Arthur Pita is reported to see them in tango mode, in a game of seduction and confrontation between two people.
The evening will also include works by Javier de Frutos, the award-winning choreographer behind the West End's 2007 Cabaret, French-Canadian choreographer Danièle Desnoyers, West End choreographer Arlene Phillips, and American modern dance maker Annie-B Parson.
Much of what's still a work in progress remains under wraps but it’s known a single designer – Jean-Marc Puissant – will give a unified look to the programme; and, in Watson’s own words, “there will be a soundscape that links everything.”
For more of the best ballet 2015 can offer, click here.
|What||Whelan/Watson: Other Stories|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
09 Jul 15 – 12 Jul 15, Sunday matinée 1500
|Website||click here to book via the ROH website|