Tonight, Saturday 23 April, The Royal Opera House curtain goes up on a triple bill of ballets by Frederick Ashton: Scènes de ballet, A Month in the Country, and Rhapsody.
Frederick Ashton, The Royal Ballet’s founder choreographer, created a remarkable range of ballets. In this mixed programme, the detailed characters and emotional drama of A Month in the Country are contrasted with the dazzling and chic Scènes de ballet. The programme finishes with Rhapsody – Ashton’s tribute to virtuoso dance.
Frederick Ashton created more than one hundred works during his lifetime (1904–1988). For further information, visit www.frederickashton.org.uk.
Scènes de ballet
Scènes de ballet was first performed by Sadler’s Wells Ballet at The Royal Opera House on 11 February 1948 with Margot Fonteyn, Michael Somes, Alexander Grant, Donald Britton, John Field, Philip Chatfield, and the corps de ballet. In the dress rehearsal photos are Sarah Lamb and Vadim Muntagirov.
A Month in the Country
A Month in the Country is a ballet in one act freely adapted from Ivan Turgenev’s play. The first interpreters were Lynn Seymour; Alexander Grant; Wayne Sleep; Denise Nunn; Derek Rencher; Marguerite Porter; Anthony Conway; and Anthony Dowell with The Royal Ballet at The Royal Opera House on 12 February 1976.
In the photos below are Marianela Nuñez, Gary Avis, Christopher Saunders, Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Matthew Ball.
Rhapsody was first performed with The Royal Ballet at The Royal Opera House on 4 August 1980. The opening night cast starred Lesley Collier, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bryony Brind, Angela Cox, Gillian Kingsley, Karen Paisey, Genesia Rosato, Gail Taphouse, Michael Batchelor, Stephen Beagley, Antony Dowson, Ross MacGibbon, Ashley Page, and Andrew Ward.
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.