Sunday, 20 January 2013

Firebird Triple Bill

The Firebird/ In the Night/ Raymonda Act III, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House – reviewed on 11th February

The Firebird was created in 1910 for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Michel Fokine desired his title character to be a “bright glow, without turnout and without preparations”, but contemporary dancers frequently place emphasis on perfect technique and high leg extensions rather than the choreography's glorious avine qualities. Not so Roberta Marquez, who beautifully embodied the lead role with the wonderfully flapping wrists, sense of flight and commanding eyes that make it so powerful.
 
Emma Maguire and Alexander Campbell in In the Night
Photo: Tristram Kenton, coutesy of ROH
But Marquez was not the only dancer to be commended as the whole cast looked superb. Particular praise goes to Christopher Saunders as the Immortal Kostchei and Helen Crawford as the Beautiful Tsarevna.

Jerrome Robbins' In the Night made a contrasting second work, with three vastly different but equally delightful pas de deux taking inspiration in style from Frederic Chopin's music. Emma Maguire was lyrical and soft in her duet, partnered excellently by Alistair Campbell. Zenaida Yanowsky and Nehemiah Kish brought elegance to their choreography including regal poses. Roberta Marquez and Carlos Acosta finished the ballet with a spark using their passionate Latin American style.

Rudolf Nureyev’s Raymonda made a grand finale to the triple bill, with a number of other excellent dancer performances. Gary Avis was an outstanding last-minute replacement in the Hungarian Dance and Hikaru Kobayashi gave a neat variation that perfectly matched its twinkly orchestral accompaniment. But Zenaida Yanowsky was the star of the show, performing a solo that holds particular fondness for me (as it was the first repertoire I learnt) with real poise and exquisitely detailed musicality.

Nehemiah Kish and Zenaida Yanowsky in Raymonda
Photo: Tristram Kenton, courtesy of ROH

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