Carlos Acosta’s recent production of Don Quixote for the Royal Ballet is full of energy, sparkle and exhilarating dancing. Even though it is from the classic Marius Petipa tradition, I didn’t know this ballet and wasn’t sure what to expect. How do you ‘balletise’ Cervantes’ 17th Century blockbuster? In some ways it is a bit like Le Corsaire with flamenco and gypsies instead of pirates: the thinnest of plots, but huge fun and an excuse for some great dancing. (more…)

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A welcome opportunity to see The Royal Ballet in a ballet which has established itself as one of the great 20th century narrative works.  The Phoenix Picturehouse will be showing a live transmission of  Kenneth MacMillan‘s Manon from the Royal Opera House on Thursday 16th October.

Manon Lescaut is a beautiful young woman who falls prey to the moral corruption of 18th century Paris.  Set to music by Jules Massenet, MacMillan’s ballet brings Manon’s story vividly to life, evoking the brutality and decadence described in the Abbé Prévost’s infamous novel, as well as the feckless character of Manon herself – torn between love for the poet Des Grieux and her desire for money and attention. The cast of complex characters includes the callous Monsieur GM, the swaggering Jailer, Manon’s roguish brother Lescaut and his coquettish Mistress; but at the ballet’s heart are the duets MacMillan created for Manon and Des Grieux, which are among the most emotionally intense and erotically charged ever choreographed. (more…)

Another 19th century narrative ballet from the Russian tradition for viewing in Oxford this autumn; the Royal Ballet’s brand new production of Don Quixote will shortly be transmitted live at the Phoenix Picturehouse from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.  The adventures of Cervantes’ bumbling knight are the inspiration for one of Marius Petipa’s best known ballets, with music by Ludwig Minkus, containing emotion, drama and vivid characters as well as vivacious and spectacular classical dance with a Spanish flavour.  Royal Ballet Principal Guest Artist Carlos Acosta has danced the virtuoso role of Basilio many times. So it is especially appropriate that he has mounted this production for the Royal Ballet, with designs by Tim Hatley giving a modern edge to a broadly traditional staging.