The Royal Ballet presents A Diamond Celebration, a special programme to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of The Friends of Covent Garden. It will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on Wednesday 16 November with encore screenings on Saturday 19 November.
Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, has curated a programme to feature most of the company’s principal dancers, showcasing The Royal Ballet’s repertory past, present… and future. Works by Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon will be performed alongside world premieres from Pam Tanowitz, Joseph Toonga and Benoit Swan Pouffer, all making their debuts on the main stage of the Royal Opera House, and from Royal Ballet first soloist Valentino Zucchetti.
A work new to the company by Associate Artist Christopher Wheeldon, For Four, will feature Matthew Ball, James Hay, Vadim Muntagirov and Marcelino Sambé.
Joseph Toonga was appointed Royal Ballet Emerging Choreographer in 2021, a two-year programme with mentoring by resident choreographer Wayne McGregor. His new work features a specially commissioned score by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante.
American choreographer Pam Tanowitz returns to The Royal Ballet following Everybody Keeps Me, which received its premiere in the Linbury Theatre in 2019. For her main stage debut, Tanowitz has created a pas de deux on Royal Ballet Principals Anna Rose O’Sullivan and William Bracewell set to Ted Hearne’s Dispatches.
Valentino Zucchetti presents his latest work for the company following his ballet Anemoi from 2021 which won The South Bank Sky Arts Award for Best Dance and Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreography. This new work has been created on four of the company’s principals Francesca Hayward, Fumi Kanako, Mayara Magri and Yasmine Naghdi. Set to Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No.3, the ballet features costumes by British fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic, who designed the costumes for Cathy Marston’s In Our Wishes live-streamed by The Royal Ballet during the 2020 pandemic.
Rambert, once Rambert Ballet, has a long association with The Royal Ballet with their respective founders, Marie Rambert and Ninette de Valois, laying the foundations of UK dance in the early 20th century in the wake of the Ballets Russes. The current Director of Rambert, Benoit Swan Pouffer, presents his first work for The Royal Ballet, a duet for principals Natalia Osipova and Steven McRae celebrating the special qualities of these two artists using music by French contemporary classical composer Saint-Preux.
Suitable for a 60th Anniversary, George Balanchine’s Diamonds completes the programme. The third movement of Balanchine’s Jewels is set to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.3 in D major. Marianela Nuñez and Reece Clarke will dance the main roles for the cinema relay with Sarah Lamb and Ryoichi Hirano alternating during the run.
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.