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Monica Mason exhibition opens

Celebration of the career of the Director of the Royal Ballet.

By Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News))

24 February 2012 at 6.17pm | 8 Comments

Following last season's well-received Joan Sutherland exhibition, Royal Opera House Collections present an exhibition focusing on the career of Dame Monica Mason, Director of The Royal Ballet.

The exhibition features a wealth of archive material including photography, costumes, and material lent by Dame Monica herself. BBC News were recently given a preview of the exhibition, which is available to watch online.

Retiring at the end of this season, Dame Monica has enjoyed a stellar career with The Royal Ballet in artistic and administrative capacities over the past 50 years. The South African dancer joined The Royal Ballet in 1958 as the youngest member of the corps de ballet before rising to the rank of Principal, acclaimed for her interpretations of major roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. She also famously created the demanding role of the Chosen Maiden in Kenneth MacMillan's The Rite of Spring.  On retiring from dancing, she joined the Company's administrative staff, becoming Director of The Royal Ballet in 2002.

The exhibition is open until July and is free although tours will be offered on selected Thursdays. Tickets for these tours are priced at £7 (Adults), £6.50 (Senior concessions) or £5 for students/UB40 holders/children. Phone Box Office on +44 (0)20 7304 4000 to book.

Did you see Dame Monica perform with the company? What are your highlights from her phenomenal career?

By Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News))

24 February 2012 at 6.17pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged archive, Ballet, Collections, costume, exhibition, history, Monica Mason, Photography, ROH Collections

This article has 8 comments

  1. Ray Rowden responded on 25 February 2012 at 9:46am Reply

    I saw her many times as the mistress of Lescaut in Manon, THE BEST!

  2. Mira responded on 25 February 2012 at 2:03pm Reply

    Just love that photo of Mon with Rudi (in Hamlet) !! Fab.
    Hoping to see the upcoming "Les Noces" (fingers crossed) in July. Will definitely see this exhib, though at some point...

  3. Patricia Weiner responded on 26 February 2012 at 2:19pm Reply

    Good Luck Monica.
    What a wonderful career, to be shared with the world. Jay and I met a person at the Frick Museum in New York, who arranges tours for people from Toronto, who love ballet, and she directed to this web site.
    I am sure your future will continue to grow in whatever direction you choose. Perhaps it will bring you to the U.S.A. and we can meet again and talk about the good old days.
    Much love and best wishes,
    Patricia and Jay Weiner

  4. Patrice Barnett responded on 16 March 2012 at 4:42pm Reply

    While living in London in the early to late seventies, I was fortunate to be able to attend several Royal Ballet performances weekly and saw Monica Mason perform in many different ballets. However, what stands out for me till this day, is her Odette/Odile. I have seen many prima ballerinas perform this dual role, and Monica was unique. She had the ability to make you believe she was a human swan; her arms were like a rippling stream with no bones or muscle and seemed to just pour out from her back like billowing silk. She was a wonderful ballerina, definitely one of the best of her generation and I wish her all the best in her retirement.

  5. Sean B responded on 21 March 2012 at 8:53am Reply

    It is so lovely to see Dame Monica being honoured in this way. She is a wonderful woman and an absolute lady. I wrote to her after my first experience of The Royal Ballet and she wrote back immediately. A most admirable and encouraging person. X

  6. Peter S responded on 21 March 2012 at 11:52am Reply

    I saw her dance the hostess in Les Biches, a much overlooked Diaghilev ballet, in 1967. The audiences went wild, including some standing on their seats, the house lights went up then dimmed and she repeated the dance. Memorable, indeed!

  7. Marialuisa Marino responded on 30 September 2012 at 5:51am Reply

    Monica Mason and I go a long long way ...
    As young dancers..we attended the same ballet school...in South Africa
    Ruth Inglestone School of Ballet.
    We won medals and cups at the National Eistedford and Senior Championships, danced on stage many times in various ballets South Africa. I have wonderful memories of our ballet training together.
    Monica was accepted at the Royal Ballet...
    and I was accepted at La Scala Milano Italy
    We met here a fev years ago in London invited by Lynn and Leonard Whiting. WHAT A FANTASTIC REUNION that was.

  8. Monica Mason and I go a long long way ...
    As young dancers..we attended the same ballet school...in South Africa
    Ruth Inglestone School of Ballet.
    We won medals and cups at the National Eistedford and Senior Championships, danced on stage many times in various ballets in South Africa. I have wonderful memories of our ballet training together.
    Monica was accepted at the Royal Ballet...
    and I was accepted at La Scala Milano Italy
    We met here a fev years ago in London invited by Lynn and Leonard Whiting. WHAT A FANTASTIC REUNION that was.

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