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What was your Royal Ballet highlight of 2017?

Share your favourite moments of the past year for a chance to win a pair of tickets.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

27 December 2017 at 9.50am | 127 Comments

As the curtain comes down on another eventful year, we're taking a look back at your highlights from a year of Royal Ballet performances on the Covent Garden stage.

Perhaps you found Alice's Adventures in Wonderland awe-inspiring? Maybe you were stunned by The Sleeping Beauty, or were you won over by Woolf Works? Did you discover a new favourite dancer, or ballet that you'd never seen before?

We'd love to hear your favourite moments of 2017. Anyone who shares their thoughts on this blog post, via Twitter using the hashtag #ROHreview2017, or on the Facebook post sharing this blog will be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to Christopher Wheeldon's Royal Ballet production of The Winter's Tale.

Here are some of your favourite moments via Twitter:

If you're an opera fan too, we're also looking for your favourite Royal Opera moments

Competition terms and conditions: The 2017 Royal Ballet review competition prize is two tickets to The Winter's Tale on 5 March 2018. Closing date for entry is 4 January 2018. The winner will be notified by 6 January 2018. All aspects of the prize are non-refundable, non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for another date. Travel or accommodation costs are not included in the prize. This prize draw can only be entered by tweeting with #ROHreview2017, by commenting on this blog post, or on the Facebook post sharing this blog.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

27 December 2017 at 9.50am

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged 2017, competition, review, ROH Review, Year in Review

This article has 127 comments

  1. Simon Smith responded on 27 December 2017 at 10:52am Reply

    Yasmine Nagdhi's perfect balances on her Aurora debut and my wife's scarcely surpressed expression of sheer joy - sadly never to be repeated but will remain indelibly in my memory.

  2. Coppelia responded on 27 December 2017 at 6:37pm Reply

    My highlight was the long awaited chance to see Federico Bonelli take on the lead role in Mayerling. A heart-rending Rudolf and perhaps one of his best roles. I just hope we might get one more chance to see him in Mayerling as it's such a shame this run wasn't recorded for posterity.

  3. Nick responded on 27 December 2017 at 6:44pm Reply

    Ooh, that's tricky, it's been such a wonderful year! It's always a thrill to see Alessandra Ferri, and Woolf Works is my favourite art work. But, I also loved The Dreamers Ever Leave You. Flight Pattern was unlike anything I've seen before and I really hope that will be reprised very soon.

    But the highlight. I think it has to be seeing Yasmine Naghdi in her first performance on the Covent Garden stage as a principal, in Elite Syncopations. She completely won me a while ago when I thought she stole the show from all the more senior dancers, and I've been thrilled to follow her ever since.

  4. Bridie Macmahon responded on 27 December 2017 at 7:24pm Reply

    In terms of new choreography, Flight Pattern was the thrilling highlight - absorbing, moving and beautifully danced. In terms of revivals: the MacMillan celebration involving all the main UK companies was brilliant, highlighting not only the man's work but the high standard of classical dance throughout the country. Northern Ballet's rendition of Gloria was stunningly beautiful. It would be wonderful if the companies could work together more often, and I hope that a celebration on a similar scale will be mounted for the 30th anniversary of Sir Frederick Ashton's death in 2018.

  5. Nina Battleday responded on 27 December 2017 at 7:36pm Reply

    so many memorable things, but for me the highlight were the superb performances by Morera and Bonelli in Mayerling. All four casts were well worth watching but this particular one brought something special to the ballet. Totally moving, heart breaking and dancing which was quite beautiful.

  6. I can't narrow it down to one highlight - there were so many! My favourite moments:

    - Crystal Pite's powerful, viscerally moving and heartwrenching Flight Pattern. One of those rare works (rather like Nijinska's Les Noces or Balanchine's Serenade) where the writing for the corps de ballet is so powerful that they become the star, rather than just artists at "the back" being "the crowd" or nameless courtiers and peasants. That said, Kristen McNally and Marcelino Sambe were also unforgettable in this work.

    - the luminous Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball who brought such radiance to their pas de deux in Emeralds, and Calvin Richardson in the pas de trois of Emeralds (apologies- can't remember if they were in the same performance as I watched several shows with different casts!). Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae bringing fun, daring, humour and charisma to the Rubies pas de deux- simply incredible!

    - a gem of a Nutcracker on 18 December with Francesca Hayward (Clara), Alexander Campbell (Hans Peter/Nutcracker), Gary Avis (Drosselmeyer), Marianela Nunez (Sugar Plum Fairy), Vadim Muntagirov (Prince), Yuhui Choe (Rose Fairy)...I'd like to name the whole cast as well as the stage crew but I don't wish to crash the website! I know it seems odd to nominate a performance of Nutcracker when it's presented almost every year (and we attend it yearly too) but that show was absolutely magical. Everyone was on top form (children included) and there was something special in the air. Definitely a highlight.

    - Sylvia, with Natalia Osipova (Sylvia), Vadim Muntagirov (Aminta), and a totally brilliant cast that also included Ryoichi Hirano, Claire Calvert and Fernando Montano. Glorious dancing and music, brilliant sets and costumes.

    -Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae and the entire cast in Twyla Tharp's The Illustrated 'Farewell'.

    -the Ashton triple bill of The Dream, Symphonic Variations, Marguerite & Dreams- every cast of each ballet, saw them all, can't choose between them. Each performance stunning and delightful (Dream, Symphonic)/moving (M&A).

    Six might seem like a lot of highlights but it was difficult enough to narrowing it down to six! Thank you Royal Ballet, ROH Orchestra and ROH stage crew.

  7. Libbets responded on 27 December 2017 at 7:50pm Reply

    For drama, nothing could top Bonelli/Morera's passionate Mayerling. For comedy, the Dream was a perfect mix of storytelling with brilliant choreography and dancinf and became an instant favourite.

  8. Dana responded on 27 December 2017 at 9:54pm Reply

    My highlight was seeing Sylvia live and in House, as I had only previously seen the DVD with Darcey Bussell. I hope the new version will be released on DVD too, as it was sublime. It's probably my favourite ballet now.

  9. Nick Byrne responded on 27 December 2017 at 11:09pm Reply

    Every single second of Woolf Works...

    • Nick responded on 28 December 2017 at 6:24pm

      Such a wonderfully powerful and moving ballet. I saw it many times, with both casts (on the opening day I saw it twice) and was transfixed immediately and throughout, every single time. I took various friends and family along, many of whom had never seen a ballet before, and they all loved it.

  10. Dave Morgan responded on 27 December 2017 at 11:16pm Reply

    Yasmine Naghdi's promotion to Principal, after all the joy she has brought us in the roles she danced so beautifully

  11. Michael Llewellyn responded on 28 December 2017 at 1:32am Reply

    The wonderful Macmillan celebration with all the national companies on great form, especially all together in Elite Syncopations; and a special mention for the superb NBT performances of Gloria

  12. Sheena MacKay responded on 28 December 2017 at 10:56am Reply

    Finally seeing my favourite ballet (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) live at the ROH, instead of a live cinema relay. I was like a small child on Christmas Eve, as I sat in my seat waiting for the curtains to open, despite being months away from my 60th birthday! Totally magical experience.

  13. LSealey responded on 28 December 2017 at 10:57am Reply

    Steven Mcrae as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wondeland! I was able to watch a live streaming and have dusted off my tap shoes as a result. Absolutely magical!!
    If it’s on again next season I’d love to see it live :-)

  14. Mark whelan responded on 28 December 2017 at 11:11am Reply

    Every single moment of ballet is it after all the Royal Ballet.... and Corp de Darsey Busell always says those words gives me shivers down my the most beautiful sight on earth for me.

  15. Philip Collins responded on 28 December 2017 at 11:49am Reply

    My highlight was seeing Lauren Cuthbertson in Alice. She's always stunning. Also Federico Bonelli and Laura Morera as the Mother/Queen. Never thought Zenaida could be equalled but was well proved wrong! Fab - u -lous production.

  16. Steph responded on 28 December 2017 at 11:53am Reply

    We just adored the spectacle of Jewels! The sumptuous music, costumes and choreography perfectly combined for three acts of pure deliciousness!

  17. Maggie Lawrance responded on 28 December 2017 at 11:55am Reply

    My highlight was Woolf Works. Alessandra Ferris was superlative. Music, set, costumes completely perfect. Virginia Woolf was my passion for 3 years, to see it performed through dance was a total joy for me.

  18. My 2017 highlight has to be Miss Yasmine Naghdi's assured and accomplished debut as Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty", followed by her recent "Elite Syncopations" performance (stunning she was), "Symphonic Variations" (the Nunez/Muntagirov/Naghdi cast) and Woolf Works (the music, Alessandra Ferri), and The Dream.

  19. Averil Larke responded on 28 December 2017 at 12:46pm Reply

    Visiting the ROH for the first time ever (been on my bucket list for ages), and saw Mariiynsky ballet company dance Don Quixote. Seventh heaven & cloud nine!

  20. My 2017 highlight was Bonelli/Morera in Mayerling. Words can not do justice to how incredble their performances were and I can only hope we get to see the two of them again together in the roles soon!

    I also loved seeing Symphonic Variations live for the first time, especially the cast with Reece (who was stunning), Lauren and Joseph Sissens.

  21. Mark whelan responded on 28 December 2017 at 1:39pm Reply

    La Fille Mal garde. My first time seeing Natalie... somebody dropped a whole box a malteesers from the back stall and they rolled to the front..noise like a freight train lol...just one of them moments... Watched on cinema albeit listening to popcorn munching

  22. Mary Heath responded on 28 December 2017 at 1:59pm Reply

    Unfortunately have not been able to attend the ROH for some years, but it has been great this year to watch the live broadcast at my local cinema. Which has been my favourite? Impossible to say really as had never seen Alice in Wonderland before and it was the loviest production with startling scenery and costume. Then The Nutcracker, just wonderful, everyone danced so devinely and picking one bit near impossible. For both ballets I felt I was there, and wanted to applaud!
    The whole evening with Darcey Bussell introducing the show and taking us behind the scenes for interviews etc is a fantastic idea. Thank you. Definitely up for more in 2018!

  23. Toni responded on 28 December 2017 at 2:00pm Reply

    The incredibly moving finale of The wind.

  24. Jocelyne Wilson responded on 28 December 2017 at 2:21pm Reply

    Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb in The Illustrated Farewell were totally exhilarating on stage and in the rehearsal working with the driven and passionate Twyla Tharp. I also thrilled to see Yuhui Choe, Melissa Hamilton and Laura Morera in Elite Syncopations illuminating this glorious MacMillan ballet with such pizazz.

  25. MARLENE WILLIAMSON responded on 28 December 2017 at 2:53pm Reply

    2nd. time seeing The Nutcracker live , This really makes my Christmas and was especially marvellous this year . If I have to pick anyone out it would be Ryoichi Hirano he was superb as the prince . Such control .
    Wonderful .

  26. Carol Morris responded on 28 December 2017 at 4:02pm Reply

    My highlight was getting a pair of tickets for ‘Elizabeth’ with Zenaida Yanowsky and Carlos Acosta in the Linbury studio. I had been almost constantly refreshing my web browser in the hope of getting tickets as the performance had sold out before public booking opened. My persistence paid off and my son and I enjoyed a stunning interpretation of Elizabeth’s life and loves. The mix of excellent dance, song and narration in the small studio gave the performance an intimacy which enabled us to truly feel the emotion of the piece. We were speechless from the performances of the two principals alongside the wonderful supporting cast. I am delighted that Zenaida is returning to dance the lead again in 2018.

  27. Cheryl Lloyd-Morris responded on 28 December 2017 at 4:26pm Reply

    It would have to be the nutcracker last January ( as my daughter was a party child! So slightly biased ) and then the amazing Wolfe Works which I dragged my husband to and it was so fantastic it’s converted him into a Ballet fan!

  28. Trudy Posnette responded on 28 December 2017 at 4:39pm Reply

    I only manage to watch the wonderful Royal Ballet, through its live cinema broadcasts, but what a thrill these performances are.Marianella Nunez, is always wonderful to watch, her Aurora was no exception, and I am so delighted to find out the DVD, of this performance is going to be released.I would love to think that Jewels, and the Ashton triple bill could follow,as it would be lovely to have such important works as The Dream and Symphonic Variations for all ballet lovers who can't get to London.

  29. Emma responded on 28 December 2017 at 4:40pm Reply

    Woolf Works was incredible. So beautiful, emotional and delicate. It was mermerising and unforgettable, and captured vulnerability beautifully. Loved it. Wonderful.

  30. Nicole responded on 28 December 2017 at 5:12pm Reply

    live-streamings of ‚Alice‘ and ‚Nutcracker‘ - and finally having been able to do the backstage tour at the ROH....
    my dream still is to see a ballet live at the ROH... one day...

  31. Gill Ansell responded on 28 December 2017 at 5:17pm Reply

    Jewels. Every performance was stunning

  32. Puppy Broadhurst responded on 28 December 2017 at 5:26pm Reply

    My highlight was Alice in Wonderland - such fantastic colours whirling through the lights, a visual feast!

  33. Gwen responded on 28 December 2017 at 5:43pm Reply

    I absolutely loved every production but my highlight has to be Woolf Works which I saw three times and I wish I had seen every performance. The dancing is sublime and the music perfection. I was especially thrilled to be sitting near Max Richter in the audience on 2 evenings and 2 seats away from Sergei Polunin on the third evening. It just added to the excitement.

  34. Claire Whitbourn responded on 28 December 2017 at 5:57pm Reply

    For me, Jewels was a wonderful production. I had never seen the whole before and it was just sumptuous with the whole company on amazing form - although the Diamonds pas de deux with Marianela Nunez and Tiago Soares was definitely the highlight. The combination of the music, choreography and stunning dancing made this my highlight.

  35. Mimi Sellers responded on 28 December 2017 at 5:58pm Reply

    Being deeply moved by Woolf Works is up there, but seeing Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in Sleeping Beauty made me cry with sheer joy.

  36. Mimi Sellers responded on 28 December 2017 at 6:01pm Reply

    Both the above being experienced at the cinema live relay. Please don't ever stop this. The joy it brings to those of us who can't get to the Royal Opera House is almost beyond words

  37. debbie groom responded on 28 December 2017 at 6:16pm Reply

    I have only been to the Nutcracker in January this year, however like all the other ballets I have seen at ROH it was outstanding

  38. Aisling responded on 28 December 2017 at 6:26pm Reply

    Finally seeing Sleeping Beauty live; Tchaikovsky's gorgeous music and my favourite dance in all of ballet, the White Cat's dance with Puss in Boots at Aurora's wedding

  39. David Jones responded on 28 December 2017 at 6:43pm Reply

    Swan Lake for the first time ever was magical.

  40. I adored the Ashton Triple Bill - a wonderful combination of The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite & Armand. And Jewels - never seen it before and wasn't sure if I would like it, but it blew me away.

    However, my real highlight has to have been every appearance by Vadim Muntagirov - does he ever put a foot wrong? A true star as it is not just his beautiful dancing, unique though it is, but something of himself that he brings to every role. Perfect classicism in Sleeping Beauty, ethereal elegance in Jewels, an other-worldly magnificence in Symphonic Variations, and he made the "nothing much" role of Aminta in Sylvia into a positive showstopper. Bravo Vadim!

  41. Edwina Young responded on 28 December 2017 at 8:50pm Reply

    Very tough decision either Wolf Works or Anastasia both were amazing Natalia Osipova in Anastasia moved me to tears I felt privileged to see both. Absolutely love Wayne McGregor and he didnt disappoint

  42. Sarah Langfield responded on 28 December 2017 at 10:10pm Reply

    Mayara Magri in the Illustrated farewell was stunning and left me feeling so pleased id come. The lady sitting next to me thought she was Natalia Osipova only to be silenced by the man the other side who said she was Margot Fonteyn and to please be quiet!!

  43. Lesley Taylor responded on 28 December 2017 at 11:14pm Reply

    I loved Woolf Works for its sheer exhilaration. I loved the sumptuous revival of The Dream and the romanticism of Marguerite et Armand. However the best moment was the entire company in Jewels but in particular Laura Morera in Emeralds.

  44. ...and since 2017 is not yet finished my wife and I wish to add Yasmine Naghdi's stunningly beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy in tonight's Nutcracker!

  45. Thanks to Royal Ballet's outreach programme and Welcome performances, I was able to bring my girls (age 8&10) to watch their first full ballet performance at the ROH. We watched Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and had a magical once in a lifetime day.

  46. Mary-Lynne Edwards responded on 29 December 2017 at 12:31am Reply

    Too many great performances... I'll restrict myself to 3

    Woolf Works. So moving and beautifully performed. I liked it so much I went to see it in the cinema a week after seeing it live. The cinema relay brings a different dimension to a ballet, the close ups and the interviews were brilliant additions. But I was glad I saw it in the theatre first. Alessandra Ferri is a true artist.
    2. Alice In Wonderland. I saw it when it was premiered and thought it good but not a favourite. I'm so glad I went again this season - I don't know why but it just burst into life for me - no longeurs - just innovative and marvellous choreography and performances.
    3. Nutcracker. I don't know how many times I've seen this - the RB production and others. On 5th December I saw it afresh. Gary Avis was incredible. Took charge of the whole show and made the story so strong. Frankie Hayward, Alexander Campbell, Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae and ALL the cast were sublime. I'll never think of the Nutcracker as an old chestnut again!
    See what I did there?

  47. Sylvia, with Natalia Osipova, mesmerised me. Such a beautiful performance...

  48. Petra H. responded on 29 December 2017 at 8:37am Reply

    The Ashton triple bill with Zenaida Yanowsky's moving last Marguerite via cinema broadcast

  49. Gill Marriott responded on 29 December 2017 at 8:42am Reply

    Sylvia, with the sublime Marianela Nunez ! My first visit to the ROH and certainly not my last #loveballet

  50. Anne Reynolds responded on 29 December 2017 at 9:58am Reply

    I watched the Nutcracker this year streamed at the cinema where I live in Cornwall. I was completely mesmerised. It's inspired me to practice ballet fitness dvd by Nicky Mcginty and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to seeing more now.

  51. Amanda responded on 29 December 2017 at 11:17am Reply

    Just one?

    It’s been a fantastic year. I just loved Alice. It was a fabulous production. Full of humour (dark and light) and so colourful.

  52. Vivien Nicholls responded on 29 December 2017 at 11:22am Reply

    Without doubt it was introducing my autistic daughter to the delights of a live ballet performance for the first time. She has a bedroom decorated with pictures of the Alice in Wonderland ballet, watches livestreams and rehearsal films on the internet, and that has helped her through many difficult times, but nothing beat the look on her face when the overture began for real. Thank you for bringing so much joy with what you do.

  53. Sandie responded on 29 December 2017 at 11:26am Reply

    There have been some wonderful performances this year but the ones that have really stood out for me are James Hay's White Rabbit and Tierney Heap's Red Queen in Alice, the Northern Ballet's excellent rendition of Gloria and Osipova/Muntagirov in Sylvia. (The way she melted into his arms in the final PDD brought tears to my eyes).
    However, if I had to pick an absolute highlight, it would have to be the Osipova/Watson performances of Mayerling. It took me weeks to recover from that!

  54. Stephen Griffith responded on 29 December 2017 at 11:28am Reply

    At the streamed Nutcracker the Arabian Dance was totally gripping. And I don't know why! Also Fritz did exactly what Fritz should do.

  55. Beckswelli responded on 29 December 2017 at 11:31am Reply

    For me it was watching Francesca Hayward and Edward Watson in a rehearsal of 'The Wind' with Arthur Pita. It was really interesting & liberating, so exciting to watch new choreography and movement being born out of the Dancers themselves.

  56. Stephen Hutchings responded on 29 December 2017 at 11:32am Reply

    My absolute highlight was the truly wonderful matinee performance of The Nutcracker on 27th December. especially the fabulous performance by Isabella Gasparini as Clara, what a brilliant stage presence Isabella has so brilliant. In fact the whole cast were on top form as were the wonderful Royal Ballet Sinfonia under the baton of Paul; Murphy. What a wonderful afternoon's entertainment. Huge thanks to everybody involved. xxxxx

  57. Miles Ambrose responded on 29 December 2017 at 11:59am Reply

    Sleeping beauty never ceases to amaze me .from the score to the dancing and the sets truly amazing .

  58. Michele Vassar responded on 29 December 2017 at 12:15pm Reply

    Zenaida Yanowsky's farewell performance in Marguerite and Armand and the wonderful curtain calls where a procession of her partners presented her with bouquets. Beautiful dancing, an incredible au revoir to a very special ballerina.

  59. James Black responded on 29 December 2017 at 12:16pm Reply

    Galeazzi in Wolf Works, Hayward and (especially) Campbell in Beauty, Naghdi as Aurora, Yanowsky and Clarke in After the Rain, and, above all, Bonelli and Morera in Mayerling, one of the most astonishing and moving performances I have seen in recent years at the ROH (up there with Osipova and Acosta in Giselle and Yanowsky and Bolle in Manon).

  60. Caroline McNally responded on 29 December 2017 at 12:36pm Reply

    The drama and passion of Mayerling - totally awe-inspiring and thrilling ❤️❤️❤️

  61. Joanne Simmons responded on 29 December 2017 at 12:40pm Reply

    Melissa Hamilton in the Arabian Dance (Nutcracker) so beautiful - glad she is back at the ROH! Just love watching all the RB’s dancers develop and blossom during each season

  62. Ian oliff responded on 29 December 2017 at 12:48pm Reply

    Watching my amazing daughter Alex in the ‘ Nutcracker ‘ , such an awe inspiring production !! Brought me to tears of joy

  63. Julie Font responded on 29 December 2017 at 1:01pm Reply

    Stunning performances by Laura Morera and Stephen Mcrae at Leeds Grand Theatre performing at the Ann McGuire gala in memory of a teacher much loved by her local community. How wonderful for her daughter to present this collection of works at the theatre where they used to watch ballet together as a family. I feel so very fortunate to have been able to share in this touching commemoration.

  64. Surraya Sumner responded on 29 December 2017 at 2:13pm Reply

    In 2017, I started bringing my two older children to the ROH - we've seen a number of performances and it has been a real pleasure seeing my 8 year old son's growing love for opera. The highlight for me has to be seeing Turandot and, however overplayed it has been in recent years, 'Nessun Dorma' live lost none of its impact and beauty. Truly a special moment shared with my son.

  65. francois responded on 29 December 2017 at 2:49pm Reply

    Globally a fastuous year for the Royal Ballet, but the performance which will remain in my heart for my entire life was the three casts of Marguerite & Armand: Ferri-Bonelli, Osipova-Shklyarov, Yanowsky-Bolle. Three very different approaches of the characters, all of them fabulous and captivating, unforgettable, moving, with perhaps a "+" in terms of hearbreaking interpretation from the Ferri-Bonelli performance.
    However globally the Royal Ballet is currently at its best and if I had the money I would attend all performances, all casts of the season!

  66. Graeme Williams responded on 29 December 2017 at 3:02pm Reply

    I really enjoyed After the Rain (Nunez/Soares) for it's beautiful pdd and Flight Pattern for it's powerful representation (and both in the same programme too!). Anastasia/Osipova - such brilliant dance and acting. But my highlight was being able to take Marianela's hand at an Ashton event in February and thank her for all the dance pleasure she has given us. A simple but THE real moment to remember for me.

  67. Claudia responded on 29 December 2017 at 6:15pm Reply

    Of the ballets I managed to see live in person at the Royal Opera House, Mayerling was the most special. Not only because it was the first MacMillan piece I saw, but because of the person that came with me. I will never forget such a memorable evening! McRae's performance as Rudolph was mesmerizing and though I had hoped to see Sarah Lamb, Akane Takada was exquisite. The passionate pas de deux stirred something in me, and I jumped in my seat at gunshot. Chekhov's law was fulfilled. Thank you Royal Ballet for such a wonderful 2017!

  68. Mary Elizabeth Langford responded on 29 December 2017 at 6:17pm Reply

    The slinky caterpillar in Alice and the Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty!

  69. Catherine responded on 29 December 2017 at 6:28pm Reply

    We have only ever watched via the live link at our local music centre, and have seen quite a few productions, Carmen, Alce In Wonderland but our all time Christmas favourite is The Nutcracker.
    My daughter loves ballet and has been dancing Ballet since she was small, I’ve promised her that one day....most likley for her 18th birthday, that I will take her to the Royal Opera House to see The Nutcraker as a special birthday gift .

  70. Vicky Hurst responded on 29 December 2017 at 6:48pm Reply

    Francesca Hayward's debut as Aurora.

  71. Clive Stubley responded on 29 December 2017 at 7:09pm Reply

    Without a doubt it was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. From the start to the finish this was a visual feast. It was absolutely stuffed full with fabulous characters. I loved so many but will just mention the Cheshire Cat and The King of Hearts (hidden away with his paper).

  72. Fiona Reed responded on 29 December 2017 at 8:39pm Reply

    I loved all the live broadcasts that I saw at my local cinema, inspiring as always. My favourite moment though was travelling down to The Royal Opera House from Northumberland to see Steven McRae dance the Prince in Sleeping Beauty with Iana Salenko. It was mesmerising and the friendliness of all the staff at The Opera House made the whole experience very special. We are certainly planning another trip in 2018 to hopefully to see Steven dance in either Manon or Swan Lake which we are looking forward to. Meanwhile we will be eagerly awaiting the next live broadcast. Thank you for making it possible to see such artistry outside Lindon.

  73. Pamela Byrne responded on 29 December 2017 at 11:02pm Reply

    Watching my daughter (8) watching the Nutcracker 29th December for the first time at the Royal Opera House. A budding ballerina in the making. Precious memories. Thank you for putting on such a fantastic performance.

  74. Claire Tyler responded on 29 December 2017 at 11:49pm Reply

    Taking a coach of 46 students age 5-17yrs, and 6 teachers who had never been to the ballet before at the ROH to see the Nutcracker on the first performance. As a dance teacher this is one of the things I look forward to doing whenever I can to introduce them to my world! It left everyone feeling Christmasy and wanting to be a snowflake.

  75. Anastasia Pavlova responded on 30 December 2017 at 12:37am Reply

    Woolf Works is unsurpassed, I would see it again and again with Alessandra Ferri and Federico Bonelli, and Natalia Osipova, Edward Watson and Steven Mcrae - that's a dream cast!
    And discovery of the year for me was Alice in Wonderland, loved the staging and Francesca Hayward in the lead role, and almost laughed out loud at the Rose Adagio spoof.

  76. Geoff responded on 30 December 2017 at 4:37am Reply

    Of the many RB experiences this year I could mention, the one which has lastest the longest, and which was something of a surprise, was Diamonds. I kept going back to Jewels to check if the company really had got it so right - and finding even more each time.

    And to think, I used not to rate this work that highly. Thank you!

  77. Dani Boucher responded on 30 December 2017 at 9:26am Reply

    Woolf works was absolutely stunning. The final scene beautiful and devastating - I loved it! Hayward in Mayerling was breathtaking too - so exciting to watch her development

  78. Lynda Hillyer responded on 30 December 2017 at 9:59am Reply

    Muntagirov's beautiful classicism in Symphonic Variations. Crystal Pite's deeply moving Flight Pattern and Woolf Works with Alexandra Ferri. Many other superb performances but these stand out in my memory.

  79. Virginia Blackburn responded on 30 December 2017 at 11:14am Reply

    Stephen McRae in The Dream, the third time I have seen him in the role and more sensational than ever. I must also mention Roberto Bolle in Margeurite and Armand - just sensational.

  80. Steve Hughes responded on 30 December 2017 at 1:40pm Reply

    The Aston triple bill was one favourite ever days at the ROH. The Dream with a beautiful Mendelssohn score, dancing of the highest order from Hayward and Sambe plus a standout performance from David Yudes as Puck.
    Symphonic Variations was simply mesmerising.
    Then, the superbly danced Marguerite and Armand with mouthwatering performances by Ferri and Bonelli rounded off a wonderful afternoon.

  81. Louise responded on 30 December 2017 at 4:16pm Reply

    My highlight was watching Jewels in cinema. Would love to watch a performance of the Royal Ballet live in London!

  82. Eric Bennison responded on 30 December 2017 at 7:07pm Reply

    Only able to see the live relay's as I live in the Staffs Moorlands. I so enjoyed the Nutcracker it was the highlight of my Christmas. Thank You so much.

  83. Ashton triple bill in June. My first ever visit to ROH for my 60th.
    And meeting people like Gary Avis, Alexander Campbell and Lauren Cuthbertson at stage door after. As well as the divine guest dancer Vladimir Shklyarov

  84. Emma parry responded on 30 December 2017 at 8:15pm Reply

    I saw my very first opera in April Madame Butterfly loved every minute of it. I’d love to see another opera in 2018 x

  85. Agnieszka Khale responded on 30 December 2017 at 8:40pm Reply

    It's so difficult to choose among so many beautiful productions and fantastic ROH ballet dancers... but my top three would be Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambe in The Dream, Federico Bonelli and Laura Morera in Mayerling, and this afternoon I saw yet again the most amazing production of The Nutcracker with Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell dancing Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince, it was breathtaking!

  86. Jane Emberson. responded on 30 December 2017 at 10:53pm Reply

    Watching Balanchines Jewels at the Cinema relay, I loved every minute. But my favourite was the Diamond pas de deux, with Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares. I had tears in my eyes it was so beautiful.

  87. Gabi responded on 31 December 2017 at 3:39am Reply

    Sylvia! Such a lovely, romantic piece and so beautifully played. I go to a lot of opera, but not so much ballet, and wasn't really expecting much... Sonething personal came up and also had to swap my tickets from a performance with Osipova to Lauren Cuthberson. Still, I was absolutely blown away! And it showed me I still have so much to discover! Great deal of thanks to everyone at The Royal Ballet.

  88. Sarah Yoon responded on 31 December 2017 at 9:49am Reply

    The stellar performance by Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae in Haydn’s Illustrated Farewell, and Yasmin Naghdi and Ryoichi Hirano in the Elite Syncopations.

  89. Debuts are always special. My highlight was Anna Rose O’Sullivan’s first performance as Alice. Such a wonderful young artist who seized her chance and put in a stonking performance. I sincerely hope more opportunities come her way next year. Can’t wait!

  90. Tilly responded on 31 December 2017 at 12:35pm Reply

    So many wonderful evenings at ROH over many years watching ballets but what a delight to finish off the year yesterday afternoon seeing Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell dance the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince grand pas de deux. Never have I seen it more beautifully danced than by this magical and musical pair. It is a partnership to be treasured.

  91. Stephanie Tyrer responded on 31 December 2017 at 5:17pm Reply

    My favourite moment of 2017 was Francesca Hayward’s debut as Aurora - there was a moment after the infamous turns in the Rose Adagio when it looked like she couldn’t quite believe how brilliantly she was doing, and the whole audience was kind of willing her on! A superb, enchanting and joyful performance.

  92. Kate responded on 31 December 2017 at 5:18pm Reply

    So many highlights, but Woolf Works tops them all for me. The most profoundly moving experience - the final act is the closest thing I could think of to explain depression to someone with no experience of it. I could barely see the stage at times I was bawling so much, and from a look around the auditorium afterwards, it seems I wasn't the only one!

  93. Jessica Mochrie responded on 31 December 2017 at 5:54pm Reply

    The Christmas time amazing production of The Nutcracker with Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell dancing Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince, it was breathtaking and truly magical.

  94. Anne responded on 31 December 2017 at 6:05pm Reply

    Just hearing the Nocturne from Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream" brings into my mind the gorgeous reconciliation pas de deux of Laura Morera and Alexander Campbell in The Dream. Such light footwork and sensitivity to the music that, for a moment, I believed in fairies!

  95. Margaret Norman responded on 31 December 2017 at 6:46pm Reply

    For me, 2017 is the year of Lauren Cuthbertson. I have seen every cast in every Royal Ballet production this year, (an advantage of being retired and there being good cheap tickets at ROH,) and Lauren was a real class act in every role she danced. Thank you, Miss Cuthbertson.

  96. Kath Kearney responded on 31 December 2017 at 7:26pm Reply

    Live streaming of the Nutcracker particularly the sugar plum fairy and the prince, stunning.

  97. Maria Garcia responded on 31 December 2017 at 8:47pm Reply

    Always to watch The Nutcracker with my Granddaughters. So Magical. We loved every moment, thank you xxx

  98. Valerie Knight responded on 31 December 2017 at 9:12pm Reply

    Lauren Cuthbertson in 'Diamonds'.

  99. Rachel Benson responded on 1 January 2018 at 12:22am Reply

    Woolf Works were exceptional and the Nutcracker too. Well done ROH

  100. Lesley Main responded on 1 January 2018 at 3:41pm Reply

    The highlight of my 2017 would be to see Yuhui and Beatriz promoted to principals in 2018 !

  101. elleG responded on 1 January 2018 at 6:01pm Reply

    Such a terrific year once again. Thank you, Kevin O'Hare and everyone in the Royal Ballet..
    1) Best Dancer: Vadim Muntagirov in everything he has performed - for example, from the abstract purity of Symphonic Variations and Diamonds via an astonishing Aminta in Sylvia to the drama of Jeux (in the Linbury). He is that rare artist - someone whose technically 'out of this world' dancing has soul and whose every portrayal feels 'real'. Simply awesome!
    2) Best new work: Flight Pattern with heart-rending work from the corps and Marcelino Sambe especially memorable as the leading character.
    3) Best revival(s): (i) Sylvia: the 2017 casts seemed to breathe new life into a ballet which had previously seemed dated; (ii) Mayerling: Edward Watson and Federico Bonelli inhabited Rudolf quite marvellously, albeit in completely different ways. Both of these ballets seemed to have unusually short airings and it would be fantastic to have both of them back in the rep. in 2018/19.
    4) Best piece(s) of news: (i) the promotion of Yasmine Naghdi to Principal after her beautiful debut as Aurora in the Spring; (ii) the RB's signing of Cesar Corrales from next season. Both these artists will be huge stars in the future.
    5) Best RB initiative: the MacMillan Celebration. A wonderful concept executed with such generosity by the RB and performed so well and in such a spirit of celebration by the visiting companies.

    Can't wait for more in 2018 and beyond.

  102. Marilyn Sitaker responded on 1 January 2018 at 10:54pm Reply

    I made my first-ever trip to London for the pleasure of seeing premieres of Arthur Pita's The Wind, and Twyla Tharp's The Illustrated 'Farewell'. I was thrilled to be in the ROH in all its red-carped glory, and both pieces exceeded by expectation. McRae and Lamb sparkled with technical brilliance in Tharp's work, and Osipova and Watson dazzled yet did not overshadow other theatrical elements that combined to tell the story of myth, magic, landscape and human drama.

  103. Ruth Wyman responded on 2 January 2018 at 9:34am Reply

    The Ashton triple bill of The Dream, Symphonic Variations, Marguerite and Armand - a first for me that I saw every performance including Zenaida Yanowsky's farewell performance in Marguerite and Armand which was stunning. The first night of this year's Nutcracker was one of the best ever - A Glittering Performance

  104. Victor responded on 2 January 2018 at 10:21am Reply

    Hard to choose which one was my favourite. Seen almost all of them . Love being here at Royal Opera House , and following all the artists on Instagram I felt I’m part of there journey, passion & dedication to Arts. Woolf Works definitely was very moving and emotional. Mayerling wow mind blowing and I was at the entrance with Ralph Fiennes just in front of me & my friend, he’s very nice . Nutcracker to end the year . Congratulations!!

  105. BerryLin responded on 2 January 2018 at 11:26am Reply

    So much to celebrate but, if I had to choose just one 2017 highlight, it would be the dancing of Vadim Muntagirov. Last year, he not only gave us beautiful dancing and characterisations which rang absolutely true but he also demonstrated his artistic range. He completely transformed the rather thankless role of Aminta in Sylvia into one which garnered uniformly rave reviews in the press and online and those of us who were fortunate to see him up close in Jeux were blown away by his dramatic power.
    I hope that this amazing performer will have further opportunities to be challenged by the repertoire in the coming year and into the 2018/19 season..

  106. Stevie responded on 2 January 2018 at 3:08pm Reply

    For me it has to be Woolf Works, not only for the skills and dynamics of performance, but also the insight into the Musical and Dance processes which were shown in Cinema and TV.

  107. MJames responded on 2 January 2018 at 4:04pm Reply

    2017 was a year of many highs.
    Anything that Vadim Muntargirov touched turned to gold, especially in Sleeping Beauty, Diamonds, Symphonic Variations, Jeux and Sylvia. It was interesting that all the critics loved his performance of Aminta, despite that role often being dismissed as lacking in backbone. Vadim made him a real person. The quality of his dancing and characterisation grows with every role and in every performance.

    Yasmine Naghdi showed how good she was in Sleeping Beauty. No surprise that she became a Principal later in the year. Subsequently, she totally held the stage in Elite Syncopations, commanding in her control of the character and her ability to draw the audience’s eye.

    Flight Pattern gave so many people an opportunity to participate in close corps work, which was terrific and moving. Yet, despite the crowds, Marcelino Sambe and Kristen McNally were simply electric in the way they demonstrated their pain and grief.

    Matthew Ball was excellent in Woolf Works. He inhabits such roles with total conviction as does Calvin Richardson.

    It was a good year for the younger men in the company. Joseph Sissens handled Symphonic Variations with aplomb and also showed his solo ability in 'An illustrated Farewell'. Former Aud Jebsen young dancers are making their marks too, especially Leo Dixon, Harry Churches, Lukas B-B and Francisco Serrano (whose short solo in Judas Tree marked him out as a real talent). I am looking forward to seeing them and their peers grow as they are given more opportunities.

    • MJames responded on 3 January 2018 at 6:18pm

      I must add here that fleet-footed David Yudes has also been impressive throughout the year.

  108. Valerie Little responded on 2 January 2018 at 4:21pm Reply

    Taking my 5 year old grandson to Nutcracker for first time and knowing he loved it as much as I have always done and to have shared something I love with him.

  109. Julia jones responded on 2 January 2018 at 4:41pm Reply

    Everything at ROHBallet a highlight! James Hay dancing anything is always wonderful - such character and attention to detail - a wonderful mover! Yuhui as Rose Fairy in Nutcracker - alwaysd gorgeous and a big treat for the audience! When will she be made Principal????

  110. Sílvia Torres responded on 2 January 2018 at 10:24pm Reply

    Marianela Nunez in Diamonds and the Sleeping Beauty! Prima Ballerina Assoluta!!

  111. Bruce responded on 3 January 2018 at 3:02pm Reply

    This was a season of fine dancers. Muntagirov is an extraordinary one; Symphonic Variations lithely glistened as did his set and match in Jeux. James Hay is a balletic magic maker - always ripe in drama through dance. His White Rabbit didn't just jump in its theatrical detail it bewitched like a NYE rocket. His Hans-Peter demanded that all be enraptured with enthralling allure of his Chaplinesque eyes and overall allure. Above ALL his debut as Florimund in Sleeping Beauty literally took my breath away in its largess. More please. Sambe too flew dazzlingly as the Bluebird. We miss him and hope he recovers soon. Hayward's debut as Aurora defined stealth. The lady may in fact have been ill but she succeeded in making everyone else feel better. A neat trick. This 16 year old was a definite goer.
    A word too for Anna Rose O'Sullivan who sometimes appeared to keep the Sleeping Beauties afloat. Certainly she appeared in every single performance I attended - and there were many - and always welcomed the house with the bounty of her spellbinding eyes. Sarah Lamb ravished in Diamonds. She was totally 'Farrell-esque'. A true life force. Calvin Richardson - such a stunning dancer -
    and likewise Matthew Ball - captivated in Woolf Works. Flight Pattern in totall was simply riveting; a Company hallmark surely. I so look forward to experiencing its sear again - and the ebullient Kirsten McNally always commands one's heart in a telling way no matter what the scenario may be - as does the sleek fullness of Sissen's stunning entrechats. And that's just off the top of my head. A heady season for which this note of thanks is unquestionably inadequate - but I promise entirely heartfelt.

  112. Natalie responded on 3 January 2018 at 6:39pm Reply

    Symphonic Dances by Liam Scarlett with the incredible Zenaida Yanowsky

    Mayerling with Edward Watson and Natalia Osipova

  113. Helen Porter responded on 3 January 2018 at 7:13pm Reply

    My absolute highlight of Hull City of Culture 2017 was watching the Royal Ballet perform their magic whilst sitting in Queens Gardens on a rug on a chilly September evening. Totally mesmerising. A very special evening.

  114. Michael responded on 3 January 2018 at 8:11pm Reply

    The triple bill last summer - The Dream/Symphonic Variations/Marguerite and Armande. Mendelssohn's Dream music is amongst my favourite pieces, and the production was superb. As for Marguerite, Roberto Bolle was on top form that evening - it was great to get the chance to see him live. To top it off, the evening was Zenaida Yanowski's farewell to the Royal Opera House, which was very moving.

  115. Julie responded on 3 January 2018 at 11:09pm Reply

    Ashton triple bill, particularly Hayward/Sambe in The Dream - it was truly magical. Please put it on DVD! First time seeing RB Symphonic Variations love having previously seen it in New York and the 2 versions just can’t be compared. There is something special about the English/Ashton style which the Americans are simply unable to replicate. More Ashton please in 2018/19!

  116. Caro Rand responded on 4 January 2018 at 3:50pm Reply

    So many wonderful performances difficult to choose, but the Nutcracker on 18th December had to top them all. Frankie Hayward as Clara, Alexander Campbell as the Nutcracker, Marianela Nunez with Vadim Muntargirov as the Sugar Plums,
    and Yuhui Choe as the Rose Fairy, every performance was superb. It was the most magical evening I have ever experienced at the ROH.

  117. Valerie Knight responded on 4 January 2018 at 4:46pm Reply

    Lauren Cuthbertson in Symphonic Variations.

  118. Natasha responded on 4 January 2018 at 8:16pm Reply

    Highlights (impossible to narrow down to just one: it was just that good!):

    - my first experience of The Dream. All casts were brilliant, although Francesca Hayward stands out most in my memory. I hope this Ballet returns not too far in the distant future (the music is perfection). Still gives me goosebumps when I remember it. That entire Ashton bill was wonderful.

    - Mayerling, with such a star studded cast: 7/8 principals in one evening! Natalia Osipova & Edward Watson were stunning. The pause in the music after their final pas de deux left such silence in the auditorium you could only hear them breathing (all the way up in the Amphitheatre!). Another goosebump moment.

    - the Sleeping Beauty debuts of Yasmine Naghdi/Matthew Ball & also Francesca Hayward (who moved me to tears with the sheer perfection of her movements). Aware I was witnessing some special debuts here.

    - the Macmillan summer celebrations with BRB, ENB, Northern & Scottish Ballet. A wonderful chance to view companies, dancers & Macmillan pieces I rarely see. Concerto with BRB was stunning, as was Gloria with Northern Ballet - I also enjoyed Jeux in the Clore Studio (Muntagirov is such a wonderful, effortless dancer).

    Really, the RB are on such fine form that everything I saw in 2017 was a highlight. A massive thanks to all at the ROH for making it such a special year.
    Roll on 2018!

  119. jean brick responded on 5 January 2018 at 9:36am Reply

    Brisbane: The Winter's Tale and Woolf Works. First thanks for not bringing a hoary old classic. Second, thanks specifically for these two ballets. Alessandra Ferri, unforgettable in Woolf Works, as was a very different Marra Galleazzi. Steve Macrae dancing with such joy after the horror of Act 1 of The Winter's Tale. So thanks RB, and don't wait so long next time.

  120. Clare responded on 5 January 2018 at 2:17pm Reply

    So many good things but if I could only select one it would be the restoration of real musicality to performances of Sleeping Beauty. I hope that we get a similar approach at all the performances of Swan Lake this year and not just those conducted by Mr Kessels.

    1)Sleeping Beauty danced at a speed which both the composer and choreographer would recognise. Thanks to the presence Mr Kessels in the pit no one was allowed to treat the Rose adagio as an Olympic style endurance event.
    So many good performances but the highlights were the debuts of Naghdi and Ball, Hayward and Campbell, Takada and Hay, and Clarke partnering Cuthbertson.

    2)Jewels. The company finally seems to have captured the mood of Emeralds the most elusive of the three ballets.

    3)Mayerling. It is not my favorite ballet but the cast led by Morera and Bonelli was outstanding.

    4)The Ashton Mixed Bill. In the Dream the cast led by Hayward, Sambe and Yudes was outstanding. Hayward is the best Titania I have seen in years.Campbell 's debut as Oberon clearly recounting of the narrative through dance rather than obsessing on displaying each step and somehow failing to dance the ballet.What a pity that none of the Bottoms managed to make much of the choreographic equivalent of Bottom's Dream.
    Joseph Sissens' debut in Symphonic Variations in the Brian Shaw role, But why did neither of the men in this role do the off centre turns looking to the heavens? How has that detail got lost?

    5) Sylvia. Danced with real enthusiasm by the entire cast. The company has come a long way in establishing a performance tradition since the ballet's revival/ exhumation in 2004. Let us hope this is not thrown away through neglect.

    6) The Vertiginous Exactitude mixed bill. Both Vertiginous and Tarantella were a delight and Scarlett delivered an outstanding present for both Yanowsky and Morera .But was it necessary to give the audience a second chance to see what a poor work Strapless is? With all those neglected major work in your back catalogue I think it was a wasted opportunity to revive something more worthy of performance.

    Now I come to one of the few low spots of 2017 the mixed bill of The Illustrated Farewell, The Wind and Untouchable.
    The Illustrated Farewell did little as far as I was concerned except give Joseph Sissens another chance to shine.The Wind was a waste of good dancers. It is not enough to love your source material. If you want to make a ballet out of it you have to express something through dance which the original art form is incapable of doing. The Wind failed miserably to do this. Untouchable was Unwatchable the second time round as far as I am concerned. Pite's Flight Pattern which was brilliant only went to underline the weakness of Untouchable.

  121. Noel Patrick responded on 10 January 2018 at 10:37am Reply

    Francesca Heyward in The Nutcracker. The girl is poetry in motion, she brings grace to her skills, and always enthralls.
    A wonderful ballerina in a wonderful ballet.

  122. Rosemary Hart responded on 12 January 2018 at 9:09am Reply

    I saw the transmitted Nutcracker and it was gorgeous and fun and dramatic. I had not bothered with the Nutcracker for 20 years but sadly the ballets transmitted recently have not been to my taste so this was to make up my ballet fix. So so glad, a delight

  123. Penny Mathews responded on 12 January 2018 at 11:13am Reply

    The Nutcracker matinee performance on 30th December was exceptional. Particularly Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell's performance dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince. Simply breathtaking.

  124. Linda Marcroft responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:37pm Reply

    I once was able to attend many dress rehearsals at the Opera House of both operas and a friend of Covent Garden.I should like to thank you now from the bottom of my heart for the Live and Encore versions,enabling me to continue enjoying these wonderful performances now that it isn't so easy getting around.Thank you! x

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