Seven pieces set to a feast of music by Ravel, Massenet, Strauss, Satie and Liszt reveal the breadth of Ashton's work, and mark the 25th anniversary of his death.
News and features
13 February 2013
Tweets from the opening night of The Royal Ballet's programme of works by Frederick Ashton.
The rich ballroom dancing of La Valse is a homage to the vanished world of 19th-century Imperial Viennese waltzes. Two gorgeous and contrasting pieces follow with Thaïs pas de deux and Voices of Spring pas de deux. The first is a delicate, emotional love duet to Massenet’s poignant ‘Méditation’ from his opera Thaïs. The second is a joyous, virtuoso occasion piece originally created for The Royal Opera’s 1977 production of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus.
We then find Ashton at his most abstract and modernist in Monotones I and II – an otherworldly distillation, in two pas de trois, of Erik Satie’s exquisite Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes. The programme concludes with Marguerite and Armand. The well-known story from Dumas fils’s La Dame aux caméllias, the music (Liszt’s torrential Sonata in B Minor), beautiful designs by Cecil Beaton and unrivalled romantic frisson between the two Principal dancers make this one of Ashton’s most passionate creations.