When to see it
This work is being performed as part of a mixed programme:
Three ballet classics with a Russian flavour from Fokine, Ashton and Balanchine.
Natalia is spending a month in the Russian countryside with her husband, son and Vera, her ward. The arrival of Beliaev, a tutor for her son, throws the household into turmoil. Natalia finds herself unable to overcome her passion for Beliaev, although she realizes that Vera is also infatuated with him.
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Frederick Ashton's elegant retelling of Turgenev's play A Month in the Country distils the essence of the drama into a one-act ballet, where all the action unfolds in the family's living room. Characters come in and out, their feelings for one another displayed through solos and pas de deux, highlighting Ashton's talent for playing out complex drama through detailed and intricate choreography.
The ballet had its premiere in 1976 and was one of the last works Ashton created for The Royal Ballet. Julia Trevelyan Oman's designs evoke the stifling world of the wealthy family's country residence, and the emotive music of Fryderyk Chopin, arranged by John Lanchbery, adds another layer of feeling to the exquisitely rendered passions of Ashton's steps.
Frederick Ashton created more than one hundred works during his lifetime (1904–88). For further information, please visit www.frederickashton.org.uk.
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