Tomorrow night, Friday 12 February, The Royal Ballet embarks in a run of its new mixed programme, which features three pieces by Christopher Wheeldon: After the Rain, Within the Golden Hour and the world premiere of Strapless.
Strapless is inspired by the scandalous Portrait of Madame X painted by John Singer Sargent in 1884. It is Wheeldon’s eighth work for The Royal Ballet.
With one strap painted hanging suggestively off her shoulder, the portrait shocked Parisian society and humiliated the beautiful and sophisticated society belle, Virgine Amélie Gautreau, played by Natalia Osipova and Lauren Cuthbertson.
Sargent, played by Edward Watson and Valeri Hristov, repainted the portrait, but the damage had been done… Gautreau had been outcast by society, her reputation in ruins.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.