In the turbulent final years of the 19th century, the Austro-Hungarian empire was rocked by scandal and tragedy when Prince Rudolf, the heir to the throne, and his teenage mistress, Maria Vetsera, died in a murder/suicide pact in the hunting lodge of Mayerling.
You can see how this tale of fatal attraction amid the political machinations of a weak and corrupt court would appeal to the choreographer Kenneth MacMillan. Always fascinated by the dark depths of the human soul and the tragedies they engender, MacMillan created some of the Royal Ballet’s most unforgettable works, among them Romeo and Juliet, The Invitation and The Judas Tree.
Many consider Mayerling MacMillan’s masterpiece; and The Royal Ballet brings it back to mark the 30th anniversary of the choreographer's death.
With his genius for portraying complex events and feelings in often extremely graphic choreography, MacMillan plunges his audience right into the Austro-Hungarian court, with its opulence, political intrigue and sexual excess.
Owning the stage in one of the most demanding roles for any male dancer is the unhappy and deranged drug addict Prince Rudolf. Over the years this role has been inhabited by some of the Royal Ballet’s best dance actors. Among principals cast for this year's revival are Ryoichi Hirano, a dark and intense Rudolf with Natalia Osipova as his reckless teenage mistress Maria Vetsera, Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb, and in his debut as Rudolf Vadim Muntagirov partnered by Lauren Cuthbertson. It'll be really interesting to see how Muntagirov transmogrifies his apollonian dancing into the dionysian violence required by the role.
Danced to a transporting Liszt score, with lush period designs by Nicholas Georgiadis, the ballet has a few meaty secondary roles providing glorious platforms to many company members.
It's a must, but not one for the children. Age guidance: 14+
|What||The Royal Ballet, Mayerling 2022, Royal Opera House|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
05 Oct 22 – 30 Nov 22, 19:30 Mats 15 Oct at 13:00 & 12 Nov at 13:00 Dur.: 3 hours inc 2 intervals
|Website||Click here to book|