Marguerite and Armand is a series of passionately charged recollections by the doomed courtesan of Dumas’ novel, La Dame aux Camellias, with Cecil Beaton’s tasteful designs and the tempestuous music of Franz Liszt.
For those who saw the original cast of Fonteyn and Nureyev no-one else will really do but to deprive others from seeing the work would be wrong. This ballet relies on the personalities of the performers more than the choreography to give it significance. The French couple Sylvie Guillem and Nicholas Le Riche brought their own performance qualities to the roles but lacked the frisson of excitement of the original cast. Though convincing as Armand, Le Riche becomes more of a foil to the captivating ballerina than passionate lover and could dare to be more fervent. Guillem too gave a controlled rather than abandoned performance.
In Rhapsody, Miyako Yoshida, dancing with joyous delight, glittered in Ashton’s brilliant speedy virtuoso choreography with Ivan Putrov giving a more poetic and accomplished performance than earlier in the run. In the ensemble Samantha Raine gave a gleaming presentation.
Alina Cojocaru, with Johann Kobborg, superbly danced the 1972 Balanchine work to Stravinsky’s five movement piece for piano (Philip Gammon) and violin (Peter Manning ) Duo Concertant, with intelligent fluid grace.
Christopher Wheeldon’s pas de deux to Ravel’s Pavane pour une Infante Defunte for Darcey Bussell with Jonathan Cope was delightful. Her soft high unfolding extensions and line and his subtle partnering brought an elegant exactness to the work.
A well balanced popular programme.