Royal Ballet principals Vadim Muntagirov and Marcelino Sambé will make their debuts as Crown Prince Rudolf and Francesca Hayward will make her debut as Mary Vetsera in Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling, which opens The Royal Ballet's 2022-2023 season. Based on the true story of the murder-suicide scandal that plagued the Austro-Hungarian empire, Mayerling follows the events leading to the violent deaths of Crown Prince Rudolf and his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera.
Former principals Leanne Benjamin, Irek Mukhamedov, Edward Watson and Zenaida Yanowsky are part of the revival team coaching dancers in the principal roles.
The opening night will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world – on 5 October 2022, the performance will be relayed to more than 500 cinemas, with an encore screening on 9 October 2022.
Mayerling received its premiere at the Royal Opera House in 1978 with David Wall in the lead role. This is the 14th revival of Mayerling at the Royal Opera House and marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Kenneth MacMillan.
Other debuts include Yasmine Naghdi, Fumi Kaneko and Mayara Magri in the role of Countess Marie Larisch; first soloist Itziar Mendizabal and first artist Annette Buvoli in the role of Empress Elisabeth; and soloist Isabella Gasparini as Princess Stephanie.
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.