The Dream is a distillation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The ballet had its premiere in 1964 and was originally created for former Royal Ballet principals Anthony Dowell and Antoinette Sibley, at the start of what was to become a legendary partnership.
The piece features typical Ashton style, with inventive choreography and strong characterisation – the climax coming in a powerfully moving pas de deux for Oberon, King of the Fairies, and his Queen, Titania.
Symphonic Variations was one of the first ballets performed on the main stage of the Royal Opera House in 1946, and is widely thought to be among Ashton’s greatest. Danced to César Franck’s brooding score, it was originally intended to be loosely based on the four seasons, but the piece developed into something more abstract while remaining visually beautiful, with moments of stillness and serenity as well as speed and excitement.
This trio of Ashton ballets concludes with the tragic love story Marguerite and Armand, which features hauntingly intense choreography, created in 1963 for Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, and set to Liszt's Piano Sonata in B Minor.
With opulent designs by Cecil Beaton, Ashton's ballet depicts the Paris courtesan’s doomed love affair in poignant detail, and is considered one of his most moving pieces.
As well as featuring a number of debuts across the company, the triple bill will also mark prima ballerina Zenaida Yanowsky’s retirement after 22 years with the Royal Ballet, 17 of them as a principal.
Yanowsky’s final performance at the Royal Opera House will be on 7 June, as Marguerite. Her Armand, in what promises to be a highly emotional and unforgettable occasion, will be the handsome Italian superstar Roberto Bolle.
And for those still hooked on Sergei Polunin, the Royal Ballet has announced that all is forgiven and he will dance Armand to on-off girlfriend Natalia Osipova's Marguerite in the very final performance of the season.
|What||Royal Ballet Ashton triple bill|
Royal Opera House
Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
02 Jun 17 – 10 Jun 17, 19:30 Sat 3rd June mat 12:30 End Time TBC
|Website||click here to book via the ROH website|