The new triple bill from the Royal Ballet is quite inspiring and, indeed, exhilarating in places. It starts off with Frederick Ashton’s Birthday Offering which was created in 1956 for the company’s twenty-fifth anniversary. It is a real show piece complete with colourful costumes designed by Andre Levasseur. The dancing is very colourful too, although it could be better, accompanied by music from Glazunov.
It is performed by seven ballerinas and their partners and Laura Morera is particularly good, putting on a strong performance. It has to be said that Tamara Rojo is not so good but is finely supported by Frederico Bonelli who is her cavalier. The last waltz is great in the setting of a rather grand party.
The second ballet is again from Frederick Ashton and is A Month in the Country. It is about a rich Russian household where the women are all in a ‘tizz’ because a handsome young tutor has arrived at the house. It is another playful performance but rather lacking in emotion because there is no real story to tell.
Zenaida Yanowsky plays the married woman of the house who finds herself jealous of her younger rivals. Rupert Pennefather plays the tutor who sets all the hearts beating so fast. It all seems to go nowhere though. The third piece is Nijinska’s Les Noces which was created in 1923.
This is about a Russian peasant wedding and is an absolute masterpiece. The dancing is stylish and fairly stomps its way through the musical score by Stravinsky. It is a mixture of old and new style dancing and there is some excellent work here. It gets even better as it goes on until you begin to think if it will ever stop. A very nice piece of ballet to finish with.