The Firebird (1910) is a 20th Century ballet classic that has choreography by Michel Fokine and music by a very young Igor Stravinsky (The Firebird was his first ballet score).
This enigmatic ballet draws on the mythology, sound and look of Russian folk art.
Indeed, The Firebird was the first completely original ballet that Sergei Diaghilev masterminded specifically for Western audiences and it features elements from several traditional Slavic stories to really ramp up the Russianness.
According to Slavic folklore, the Firebird was an enchanted, glowing bird from a faraway land that could be both a blessing and a curse to its owner. In the ballet, a feather from the Firebird’s tail helps Ivan Tsarevich free princess Tsarevna and defeat the evil magician who was keeping her captive.
The role of the Firebird is challenging to dance and mesmerising to watch. Ballerinas cast to dance the role this season include Yasmine Naghdi, Itziar Mendizabal and Tierney Heap.
Frederick Ashton’s A Month in the Country – inspired by Ivan Turgenev’s play of the same name – is a study of the emotional chaos aroused by a young tutor’s arrival in a Russian household.
In this tale of family, Natalia is spending a month in the Russian countryside with her husband and son – and Vera, her ward. Everything is humdrum until the arrival of Beliaev, a tutor for Natalia’s son, throws the household into turmoil.
A Month in the Country (1976) was one of the final works Ashton created for The Royal Ballet. It is set to emotive music by Fryderyk Chopin and celebrated for its four expressive pas de deux, which highlight Ashton’s talent for depicting complex drama through detailed choreography.
Pure dance courtesy of Russian-born American choreographer George Balanchine completes this triple bill.
Balanchine’s Symphony in C, set to Georges Bizet’s Symphony no.1, is devised to show off a classical company to maximum advantage.
Balanchine drew on his experience as a young dancer in St Petersburg when creating this dazzling neoclassical work for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1974. His Russian background is particularly evident in the Andante movement, which echoes the style of the white act in Swan Lake.
The four movements of Bizet's symphony are matched to choreography that moves through virtuoso displays and romantic pas de deux to end with a spectacular finale in which 52 dancers fill the stage.
|What||The Royal Ballet, The Firebird Triple Bill, ROH|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
04 Jun 19 – 14 Jun 19, 19:30 Dur.: TBC two intervals
|Website||Click to book via the ROH|