Last night, 8 June 2019, The Royal Ballet celebrated the centenary of the birth of its most famous ballerina, Dame Margot Fonteyn, who was born on 18 May 1919.
A performance of The Firebird, currently in a triple bill, was followed by a gala of extracts from ballets representing some of Fonteyn's most celebrated roles.
Another dame, Dame Darcey Bussell, also appeared on stage last night for the first time since her retirement, 12 years ago.
The Royal Ballet Director, Kevin O'Hare said,
The full Company has come together to celebrate the legacy of our Prima Ballerina Assoluta, Dame Margot Fonteyn, born a century ago on 18 May. We are delighted to welcome back another cherished Dame for this important occasion, Dame Darcey Bussell.
Darcey gave her retirement performance as a Principal dancer on the Royal Opera House stage 12 years ago to the very day which makes her appearance this evening all the more touching. She was partnered then in Kenneth MacMillan's Song of the Earth by Principal Character Artist Gary Avis and they appear together again this evening in Frederick Ashton's Tango from Façade. Fonteyn gave a wonderful account of this witty number for her 60th birthday gala with Robert Helpmann so it's very special to revive it for this event that has resonance for both Company ballerinas.
THE ROYAL BALLET
SATURDAY 8 JUNE 2019
THE FIREBIRD – ITZIAR MENDIZABAL
IVAN TSAREVICH – NEHEMIAH KISH
THE BEAUTIFUL TSAREVNA – CLAIRE CALVERT
THE IMMORTAL KOSTCHEÏ – CHRISTOPHER SAUNDERS
THE ENCHANTED PRINCESSES
TARA-BRIGITTE BHAVNANI, MICA BRADBURY, ANNETTE BUVOLI, YUHUI CHOE, HELEN CRAWFORD, LETICIA DIAS, HANNAH GRENNELL, ISABEL LUBACH, KRISTEN MCNALLY, ROMANY PAJDAK, GINA STORM-JENSEN, LARA TURK
INDIANS, KOSTCHEÏ'S WIVES, YOUTHS, KIKIMORAS, THE BOLIBOTCHKI, MONSTERS, ATTENDANTS, PAGES, CAVALIERS
ARTISTS OF THE ROYAL BALLET, STUDENTS OF THE ROYAL BALLET SCHOOL
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY
THE ROSE ADAGE
PRINCESS AURORA – MARIANELA NUÑEZ
ENGLISH PRINCE – GARY AVIS
FRENCH PRINCE – NICOL EDMONDS
INDIAN PRINCE – NEHEMIAH KISH
RUSSIAN PRINCE – THOMAS WHITEHEAD
KING FLORESTAN – ALASTAIR MARRIOTT
HIS QUEEN – CHRISTINA ARESTIS
THE WISE VIRGINS
PAS DE DEUX
SARAH LAMB, RYOICHI HIRANO
FRANCESCA HAYWARD, EDWARD WATSON
ANNETTE BUVOLI, CLAIRE CALVERT, YUHUI CHOE, LETICIA DIAS, HANNAH GRENNELL, CHISATO KATSURA, GINA STORM-JENSEN, LARA TURK
DAPHNIS AND CHLOË
ANNA ROSE O'SULLIVAN, ALEXANDER CAMPBELL
ROMEO AND JULIET
NATALIA OSIPOVA, DAVID HALLBERG
DARCEY BUSSELL, GARY AVIS
YASMINE NAGHDI, VADIM MUNTAGIROV
LAUREN CUTHBERTSON, MATTHEW BALL
MICA BRADBURY, ANNETTE BUVOLI, ISABEL LUBACH, JULIA ROSCOE, LETICIA STOCK, GINA STORM-JENSEN, LARA TURK, YU HANG, DAVID DONNELLY, TÉO DUBREUIL, KEVIN EMERTON, TOMAS MOCK, ERICO MONTES, AIDEN O'BRIEN, FRANCISCO SERRANO, JOSEPH SISSENS
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.