Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Strapless. It was last on stage 18–31 May 2017 as part of the Winter 2016/17 season.
Socialite Amélie Gautreau commissions a portrait from John Singer Sargent, after seeing his handsome picture of her lover Dr Samuel Jean Pozzi. Sargent at first struggles to begin Amélie’s painting, but finds inspiration in recollections of his lover Albert de Belleroche.
Read more… (Contains spoilers)
Christopher Wheeldon, one of the leading choreographers of his generation, created the one-act narrative work Stapless for The Royal Ballet in 2016. Wheeldon has a long history with The Royal Ballet: he trained at The Royal Ballet School and began his career with the Company, and in 2012 was appointed its Artistic Associate. In Stapless, Wheeldon draws inspiration from the scandal surrounding John Singer Sargent’s Portrait of Madame X. Mark-Anthony Turnage (Anna Nicole and ‘Trespass’ from Metamorphosis: Titian 2012) composed the commissioned score, while Bob Crowley (The Winter’s Tale and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) created the designs.
Sargent’s painting caused outrage on its unveiling at the Paris Salon in 1884. The shock caused by the picture – particularly around a strap falling provocatively off the model’s shoulder – ruined the careers of both Sargent and his Madame X, Virginie Amélie Gautreau. But while Sargent was able to move on and recover his career, Gautreau was ostracized by Parisian society. Wheeldon’s ballet explores the desires and ambitions of both Amélie and Sargent, and the hypocrisy of their society; The Guardian called it ‘a superb piece of stagecraft’.
News and features
19 May 2017
Audience and press reviews of The Royal Ballet's collection of pieces by Forsythe, Balanchine, Wheeldon and Scarlett.
16 May 2017
The scandal around John Singer Sargent's portrait of society beauty Amélie Gautreau ruined her reputation forever.
15 May 2017
A cast change for the role of Dr Samuel-Jean Pozzi has been announced.
8 May 2017
Our quick guide to The Royal Ballet’s mixed programme.
28 February 2017
Principal casting has been amended for two performances of Christopher Wheeldon's one-act ballet.
12 February 2016
Strapless, which receives its premiere at the Royal Opera House tonight, will be staged at the Bolshoi Theatre in 2017.