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Catch The Royal Ballet's Ashton programme on BP Big Screens and in cinemas on 7 June 2017

Join the Company around the world as they celebrate 70 years at the Royal Opera House.

By Asher Korner (Former Assistant Content Producer)

1 June 2017 at 4.42pm | 10 Comments

Frederick Ashton was The Royal Ballet's Founder Choreographer and one of the most influential dance figures of the 20th century. As The Royal Ballet’s 70th Season at the Royal Opera House draws to a close, a mixed programme celebrating Ashton's contribution to the Company takes to the stage: The Dream, Symphonic Variations, and Marguerite and Armand.

The mixed programme will be broadcast live from the Royal Opera House to BP Big Screens across the UK and cinemas across the world on 7 June 2017 at 7.30pm BST.

To enhance your viewing experience, access our Ashton Digital Programme for free using the promo code FREEASHTON, and enjoy a range of specially selected films, articles, pictures and features to bring you closer to the production.

The cinema relay will be presented by former Royal Ballet Principal Darcey Bussell and 'Strictly Come Dancing' winner Ore Oduba, while BP Big Screen audiences will see exclusive coverage presented by Soloist of The Royal Ballet Kristen McNally.

The stories

The Dream is an enchanting adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which captures the comic confusion that arises in the play as mortal and fairy worlds collide.

Symphonic Variations is widely regarded as Ashton’s seminal masterpiece – the choreographer’s first ballet created for the enormous Royal Opera House main stage. Instead of following the tradition of grand narrative ballets, Ashton opted to create an abstract work on the beauty of pure movement.

Marguerite and Armand tells a story of doomed love. The piece was inspired by the electric dance partnership of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, and the final pas de deux – as Marguerite lies dying in Armand’s arms – is among the most moving moments in all of 20th century ballet.

Read more: Our Ballet Essentials guide to the Mixed Programme

The music

The three ballets are performed to works by a variety of composers. The Dream is set to music by Mendelssohn, one of the greatest musical prodigies of his time. His score for A Midsummer Night's Dream has been used in many stage productions, and its witty melodies are the perfect accompaniment to Ashton's light-hearted ballet.

Symphonic Variations provides a perfect response to César Franck’s brooding Variations symphoniques for piano and orchestra, and Marguerite and Armand is set to Franz Liszt’s La lugubre gondola and his well-known Piano Sonata in B Minor.

The productions

The three pieces are very different from each other, brought together to showcase Ashton's ability to tell a story at the same time as offering an abstract response to music. The Dream and Marguerite and Armand are both narrative pieces, while Symphonic Variations is simply a celebration of dance.

The cast

The mixed programme will be performed by Principals and Soloists of The Royal Ballet including Akane TakadaSteven McRaeMarianela NuñezMarcelino Sambé, and Francesca Hayward.

Add your review

After the relay, we will publish a roundup of audience tweets, so share your thoughts with the hashtag #ROHashton

If you're watching the performance at a BP Big Screen location, send us a selfie with the same hashtag for the chance to win a prize.

The Royal Ballet's mixed programme of works by Frederick Ashton will be broadcast live BP Big Screens in the UK and to cinemas around the world on 7 June 2017. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The productions are staged with generous philanthropic support from Julia and Hans Rausing, Sarah and Lloyd Dorfman, Aud Jebsen, Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson, Celia Blakey and Kristina Rogge.

This article has 10 comments

  1. Nicola responded on 1 June 2017 at 7:00pm Reply

    You appear to have missed Vadim Muntagirov from the cast names - a pretty glaring omission, I would say!

  2. Manon 1753 responded on 6 June 2017 at 10:07pm Reply

    There will be three of us going to Carpentras (Vaucluse, France) tomorrow evening, even though the drive is a little more than the 33 kms indicated in your guide (it's 55 kms). But then we are grown ups and we are allowed to return home at 01:00 in the middle of the week. Perhaps one day there'll be an encore on a day and/or at a time that would enable the children who don't live next door to the cinema to attend? Really looking forward to it.

  3. Alison responded on 7 June 2017 at 11:32pm Reply

    Hugely disappointed at the transmission quality at the cinema I was at: it was bad enough when it was just the introduction, but we had numerous instances of pixellations/freezing/"no signal" messages/black lines across the screen during the performance proper. Hoping it was just a problem with our cinema and not more widespread. A shame, because that aside the performances were good.

    • Olivia Moxey responded on 9 June 2017 at 4:20pm

      Dear Alison,

      Thank you very much for your feedback. I am sorry to hear about your experience of viewing our live relay on Wednesday.

      We experienced no technical issues on the night so we will investigate the problems you experienced with the transmission quality with your local cinema to hopefully resolve this for future screenings. I will be in touch separately about this.

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

      Kind Regards,
      ROH Cinema Team

  4. V P responded on 7 June 2017 at 11:39pm Reply

    Lovely to have the opportunity to see live screenings in the cinema, but am gutted that we missed the final curtain calls. The screen just cut out just after Yanowsky/Bolle took their solo curtain call right at the end of M&A. It was like someone pulled out the plug socket. Did this happen in all cinemas? Was really looking forward to watching the farewell flowers/speeches. Please please consider putting a video on YouTube for those of us who missed out.

    • Olivia Moxey responded on 12 June 2017 at 1:37pm

      Hi there,

      I am so pleased you enjoy our live screenings. I am sorry to hear, however, that you missed the final curtain calls for The Dream/ Symphonic Variations/ Marguerite and Armand last Wednesday. I will be in touch separately about this so that we can follow up with your local cinema. Hopefully we will be able to resolve this issue for future screenings.

      Unfortunately, there is no online screening of this production. Please do keep checking our news page for our other upcoming live screenings taking place.

      Kind Regards,
      ROH Cinema Team

  5. Having seen it at the Opera House last weekend, I then went to the live screening in Paignton. There were 3 instances of 'freezing'.One - the one during the introduction by Dadrcy Bussell to 'THe Dream' being the worst.

  6. Michael Krams responded on 9 July 2017 at 6:52pm Reply

    Symphonic variations: phenomenal!

  7. Michael Krams responded on 9 July 2017 at 8:04pm Reply

    And then Zenaida as Marguerite - out of this world!

  8. Julie responded on 10 July 2017 at 9:41pm Reply

    Almost everything was perfectly superb in this performance. Only disappointment was Takana with her weird shoes and feet.

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