The final programme of the Royal Ballet’s Spring/Summer season sees the company perform a mixed bill of work by their founder choreographer, Frederick Ashton. Including two of his narrative works, one comic (“The Dream”) and one tragic (“Marguerite and Armand”), as well as the first piece he created for the Royal Opera House stage (“Symphonic Variations”), it’s a bill that pays homage to this admired choreographer. While there are times where the age of these works feels noticeable, the programme is, nonetheless, an enjoyable close to the season.
In January 1889, at the royal hunting lodge at Mayerling, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary committed suicide with his 17 year old lover, Mary Vetsera. The tragedy was quickly covered up to protect the Habsburg dynasty and, as such, the ambiguous events of that night have become as much speculation as fact; the inspiration for several screen adaptations and, of course, Kenneth MacMillan's ballet.