The arrival of Beliaev, a young tutor, in the country home of a Russian family sends ripples through the household. For Natalia, an unfulfilled but passionate housewife, it stirs up powerful emotions.
A Month in the Country had its premiere in 1976 and was one of the last works Frederick Ashton made for The Royal Ballet. It is based on a play of the same name by Ivan Turgenev and set to stirring music by Frédéric Chopin, arranged by John Lanchbery. The ballet showcases Ashton’s genius for conveying complex narrative through choreography: a minutely observed domestic drama is played out through a series of nuanced pas de deux.
The production is set in 1850 – the year Turgenev’s play was written. Julia Trevelyan Oman's authentic designs recreate the staid elegance of a Russian country home, with its gold chandeliers and ornate furniture. Natalya longs to escape this stifling world and the restrictions imposed by her social class and position. Her final, poignant pas de deux with Belyaev is one of the most beautiful and passionate that Ashton ever choreographed.