Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ballo and Sylphide

Ballo della Regina/ La Sylphide, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House – reviewed on 26th May
The Royal Ballet in Ballo della Regina
Photo: Bill Cooper, courtesy of ROH
Fiendishly difficult choreography and the joyous music of Guiseppe Verde (from opera Don Carlos) combine in the sublime Ballo della Regina. George Balanchine’s 1978 work is ideally suited to the Royal Ballet and their performance effervesces. Yuhui Choe hovers in the air and Beatriz Stix-Brunell exudes warmth and radiance. But it is leads Marianela Nuñez and Nehemiah Kish who make this ballet really sparkle. They perform the choreography with such ease, for a moment I think I could do it. Even Nuñez’s jumps onto pointe are serenely effortless. Ballo is simply a joy from start to finish; it’s as close to abstract ballet perfection as you’re likely to get.

The double bill is completed by Romantic ballet La Sylphide. Despite its age, the theme of whether to conform or seek something more magical remains universal. Steven McRae is an ideal James, who must decide between a conventional wife and the beguiling charms of sylph Roberta Marquez.  His dramatic passion and bewilderment are as powerful as his scissor-like feet that cut through the knotty choreography. Marquez is a tempting sylph; unearthly in movement but playful in spirit.

The programme is a feast of vivacity, desire and superb technique.

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