To Sir Frederick Ashton’s fast footwork and musicality belongs the Australian Ballet’s double bill “The Dream” and “Marguerite & Armand.” To the charming misadventure distillation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream bubbles “The Dream.” To the legend of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, dovetails Amy Harris’s Marguerite, in Harris’s last stage role before her retirement. After 22-years with the company, Harris bids farewell in a delicious camellia-bloom, echoing Marguerite’s own departure (thankfully for altogether different reasons; Harris is retiring from the stage, whereas her character Marguerite is dying of tuberculous).FREE ARTICLE
Dramatic set designs and sweeping contemporary ballet combine in this mixed bill from Birmingham Royal Ballet, which pieces together three new additions to BRB’s rep, each with a live orchestral score. Jiří Kylián’s “Forgotten Land,” created on the Stuttgart Ballet in the 80s, sends six couples wafting through the wilds of Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da requiem, while Uwe Scholz marshals the stateliness of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in a like-titled ensemble ballet from 1990. The hardest-hitting piece, “Hotel,” a new commission from Morgann Runacre-Temple, isn’t as musically driven as its companions, though Mikael Karlsson’s score slickly informs its eerie mood. Either way, it’s a brilliant piece of stagecraft—the kind I’d be happy to see on any bill, outlier or not.
Birmingham Royal Ballet in “Forgotten Land” by Jiří Kylián. Photograph by Johan Persson
When a choreographer takes on volcanic and iconic works from American musical giants like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams one move they could take is to cool them down with a couple of more soothing European works in between.Continue Reading