Your Essential Guide to the Royal Ballet Autumn Season 2015/16
Plan your booking carefully for the Royal Ballet Autumn season 2015 - there's something to suit every taste.
Carlos Acosta, whose upcoming retirement from the Royal will be causing many a tear, presents his own one act Carmen, a dramatic parting gift to the company who has nurtured his star quality for the last 17 years. Wayne McGregor's much maligned Raven Girl returns, with tweaks to appease the original critics of this ambitious gothic work. And Martha Clarke's acclaimed Chéri, originally created for the theatrically gifted Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, will spend a few days in the Linbury Studio.
There'll be more international flavour on the Linbury stage, as the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Cas Public, a gifted Canadian outfit, pass through, while on the main stage the Royal Ballet's traditional titans will be reminding us of their impact. Frederick Ashton's charming The Two Pigeons appears alongside his more modernist Monotones. But all pales before the might of Kenneth Macmillan's Romeo and Juliet, a tragic beast of a ballet and one to take us all through from September to December.
Luckily for our fraught nerves, Christmas brings The Nutcracker, and all the Sugar Plum joy the festive season requires. Booking for the new ROH season for Friends begins on the 2nd June, but all is open to the general public from 9am on the 14th July 2015.
Romeo and Juliet
Main stage | 19 September - 2 December 2015
Tamara Rojo as Juliet and Carlos Acosta as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet © Dee Conway/ROH 2012
The role of Juliet in Kenneth Macmillan’s timeless tragedy has been worth fighting for since it was snatched from Lynn Seymour on its opening night for the starrier Margot Fonteyn, opposite Rudolf Nureyev. The celebrity pair enjoyed 43 curtain calls at that première. McMillan’s harrowing portrayal of this timeless love story in its raw Renaissance setting deserves no less now.
Linbury Studio | 23 - 26 September 2015
Cas Public dancers in Symphonie Dramatique
As part of the Deloitte Ignite festival, the annual, month-long event to open the Royal Opera House new season, Covent Garden welcomes the Québécois company Cas Public. The contemporary dance group will present Symphonie Dramatique , their own energetic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet downstairs in the Linbury.
Linbury Studio | 29 September - 4 October 2015
Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo in Martha Clarke's Chéri
Chéri, comes from the American choreographer Martha Clarke and is based on Colette’s novels narrating the love affair between Léa, a retired courtesan, and a man half her age in belle-époque Paris. Clarke created it in 2013 for the “entrancingly luminous” (NYT) Alessandra Ferri, marking the Italian ballerina’s return from retirement, and Herman Cornejo. Ferri has recently dazzled Covent Garden audiences in McGregor’s Woolf Works. Excitingly, she'll be bringing her Léa to the Linbury alongside Herman Cornejo's Chéri. Clarke’s Chéri will be a hot ticket of the autumn season.
Connectome / Raven Girl
Main stage | 6 - 24 October 2015
Natalia Osipova in Connectome © ROH/Bill Cooper, 2014
Each of these works comes from a choreographer at the heart of the Royal Ballet. Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor’s Raven Girl returns in a further attempt to prove to its critics that the dark fairytale is worth keeping, while the intriguing Connectome by Royal Ballet dancer and choreographer Alastair Marriott brings Es Devlin’s spectacular, 400 silvery pole design back to Covent Garden.
Viscera / Afternoon of a Faun / Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux / Carlos Acosta’s Carmen
Main stage | 26 October - 12 November 2015
Royal Ballet dancer Carlos Acosta creates for the Autumn season, Royal Opera House
Carlos Acosta’s preparations for his retirement from dancing proceed apace. Following his crowd-pleasing restaging of Don Quixote, the Cuban star presents his own version of Carmen. The one-act ballet will use the much-loved Bizet score and will be the big draw of this mixed bill - one of the most anticipated Royal Ballet upcoming events. Liam Scarlett’s moody Viscera opens proceedings. Jerome Robbins’ original take on Afternoon of a Faun and Balanchine’s virtuoso Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux complete the programme.
Phoenix Dance Theatre: Mixed Programme
Linbury Studio | 11 - 14 November 2015
Phoenix Dance Theatre
Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili heads a trio of established and rising creators for this mixed bill, showing off the varied talents of Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre. Whatever their take on the choreography, the contemporary troupe are renowned for their technique and their powerful onstage personality.
Royal New Zealand Ballet: Mixed Programme
Linbury Studio | 17 - 21 November 2015
Royal New Zealand Ballet will perform in the Autumn season, Royal Opera House
Olivier award-winning choreographer Javier de Frutos intended his The Anatomy of a Passing Cloud as ‘a gift to New Zealand’, drawing as it does on Pasifika imagery and culture. The homegrown talent in the rest of the programme suggests the New Zealand dance scene has plenty to give back.
Monotones I & II / The Two Pigeons
Main stage | 18 November - 5 November 2015
The deft humour that typifies a Frederick Ashton ballet softens the pathos of tricksy young love in this, the first of two appearances for The Two Pigeons in the Royal Ballet season 2015/16. Here it will be set off by Ashton’s modernist diptych to the haunting music of Erik Satie.
Main stage | 8 December 2015 - 14 January 2016
Yuhui Choe as the Rose Fairy and artists of The Royal Ballet in The Nutcracker, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Tristram Kenton, 2013
Condescend as thou wilt to the crowd-drawing classics of the Royal Ballet repertoire, there’s little in the world as festive as The Nutcracker. Sir Peter Wright’s version, a superior bonbon in the chocolate box, weaves a heart-warming adventure into the picturesque tableaux we all remember. The special feel of a magical mystery tour is set up by a Christmas tree grows to four times its size before our very eyes.