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Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House houses the UK’s leading Opera and Ballet companies, and plays host to a wide range of visiting companies and artists.  Through its programme on the main stage, in the Linbury Studio, the Clore Studio and in spaces throughout the building it presents many forms of classical and contemporary opera and dance. Our funding is a contribution towards its core costs.

Funding awards

  • 2012-2013: £25,208,100
  • 2013-2014: £25,787,886
  • 2014-2015: £26,430,076

Video feed

L'elisir d'amore trailer (The Royal Opera)

Laurent Pelly's acclaimed production of Donizetti's opera radiates tenderness, humour and southern sunshine. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/lelisir L'elisir d'amore is one of the most frequently performed of all Donizetti's operas. It combines a touching love story and hilarious comedy with beautiful music, including the much-loved aria 'Una furtiva lagrima'. The opera’s premiere in Milan in 1832 was a triumph and secured Donizetti's place as one of the leading Italian opera composers of his day. The Royal Opera's charming production is set in the sun-drenched countryside of 1950s Italy, complete with haystacks, Vespas and even a stray dog. It is injected with lively, visual humour, from Nemorino's tipsy clowning to Dulcamara's lumbering truck from which he sells his quack remedies. Donizetti deftly brings his characters alive with a sparkling score: Nemorino's love for Adina is expressed through lyrical arias; Adina’s animated, flamboyant style softens as her feelings towards Nemorino begin to change – and all the while Dulcamara endlessly chatters away with irrepressible self-belief.

Glare trailer (The Royal Opera)

Danish-German composer Søren Nils Eichberg presents a taut operatic thriller about trust and reality. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/glare Søren Nils Eichberg, winner of the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition and Danish National Symphony Orchestra's first composer in residence, has won widespread acclaim for his orchestral and chamber music. These include his award-winning Qilaatersorneq (2001) and the symphonies 'Stürtzen wir uns ins Feuer' (2005) and 'Before Heaven, Before Earth' (2010). All his music is characterized by a powerful rhythmic drive and rich orchestral colour. Glare is Eichberg's much-anticipated Royal Opera debut. German poet Hannah Dügben provides an original libretto that explores a tense web of human relationships. Thaddeus Strassberger, director of The Royal Opera's production of I due Foscari, joins a creative team of his regular collaborators, designer Madeleine Boyd and lighting designer Matt Haskins (whose joint credits include Opera North's Don Giovanni). Thanks to Genesis Housing Association for letting us use their location. http://www.genesisha.org.uk

Royal Opera House Winter 2014/15 - Life Reimagined Promo

Find out what's on at the Royal Opera House at http://www.roh.org.uk Winter 2014/15 highlights include a new production of Andrea Chénier starring Jonas Kaufmann, a new production of Verdi’s tragic Un ballo in maschera and The Royal Ballet in John Cranko’s emotionally charged Onegin. The Royal Opera, under the direction of Antonio Pappano, is one of the world’s leading opera companies. Based in the iconic Covent Garden theatre, it is renowned both for its outstanding performances of traditional opera and for commissioning new works by today’s leading opera composers, such as Harrison Birtwistle, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Thomas Adès. The Royal Ballet, led by Director Kevin O'Hare, is Britain’s largest ballet company. The Company has a wide-ranging repertory showcasing the great classical ballets, heritage works from Founder Choreographer Frederick Ashton and Principal Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, as well as new works by the foremost choreographers of today.

In Conversation with Plácido Domingo

Plácido Domingo talks with The Royal Opera's Director of Music Antonio Pappano about his life and career. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk

Show 21 more videos

Plácido Domingo on I due Foscari

Plácido Domingo talks to Antonio Pappano about I due Foscari. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/foscari I due Foscari, Verdi's sixth opera, is one of his darkest and saddest. At its heart is a father's realization that there is nothing he can do to protect his family against the world's cruelties. The 31-year-old composer may well have drawn on his own devastating experience of losing his wife and two infant children a few years earlier. But despite the opera's sombre soul, the music for I due Foscari contains exhilarating forerunners of Verdi's later style – particularly in the fiercely virtuosic writing for the heroine Lucrezia and her magnificent duets with the Doge in Act I and with her doomed husband in Act II. American director Thaddeus Strassberger, making his Royal Opera debut, depicts a Venice that is rotten to its core. Mattie Ullrich's opulent costume designs reference the opera’s 15th-century setting while suggesting the corruption lurking beneath. The spare sets of award-winning British designer Kevin Knight illustrate the Foscaris' isolation and the decay of the city, before flaring out into grand guignol for the opera's brilliant Act III carnival.

The cast and creative team on the choreography and characters in Manon

Dancers Marianela Nuñez, Federico Bonelli, Ricardo Cervera, and Christopher Saunders, with stager Julie Lincoln, introduce the characters and choreography in MacMillan's Manon. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas.

Manon: Federico Bonelli and Marianela Nuñez introduce Act 3 (The Royal Ballet)

Principal Dancers of The Royal Ballet Federico Bonelli and Marianela Nuñez introduce the final act of Kenneth MacMillan's masterpiece, Manon. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/Manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas.

Manon: Darcey Bussell and Deborah MacMillan on Kenneth MacMillan's masterpiece (The Royal Ballet)

Former Principal of The Royal Ballet, Darcey Bussell and wife of Kenneth MacMillan, Deborah MacMillan on the choreographer's ballet masterpiece, Manon. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/Manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas.

Laura Morera on playing the role of Manon (The Royal Ballet)

Royal Ballet Principal Laura Morera talks about her experiences playing Manon and how every dancer brings something unique to the role. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas.

Tamara Rojo in Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan (The Royal Ballet)

Tamara Rojo dances the first two waltzes of Frederick Ashton's one-act ballet Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan, 2004. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/five-brahms-waltzes-in-the-manner-of-isadora-duncan-by-frederick-ashton Frederick Ashton saw Isadora Duncan dance in London in 1921. It was to be one of the most enduring influences on his life. Duncan's freedom of movement, the driven intensity of her dancing and the way in which she seemed to fuse music and dance, were all profound influences on Ashton's own choreographic style. Almost fifty years after seeing her perform, Ashton recalled, 'She had the most extraordinary quality of repose. She would stand for what seemed quite a long time doing nothing, and then make a very small gesture that seemed full of meaning'. Ashton originally choreographed a single waltz for Lynn Seymour, which had its premiere at a Hamburg gala on 22 June 1975 in memory of Vaslav Nijinsky (another choreographer strongly influenced by Duncan). The following year he expanded the piece to create a suite for Seymour, for a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ballet Rambert – Marie Rambert, another admirer of Duncan, reputedly burst into tears on seeing Seymour so strongly embody one of her idols. Seymour never saw Duncan dance but was guided by the compendium of photos and line drawings that Ashton had collected. She later said of Duncan, 'She was a pioneer – she had a huge, strong self-belief. You don't see a lot of that today'.

Kenneth MacMillan's Manon short rehearsal - World Ballet Day 2014 (The Royal Ballet)

Royal Ballet Principals Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli rehearse the final pas de deux from Kenneth MacMillan's Manon. You can see this rehearsal in full in our Manon Digital Programme: http://www.roh.org.uk/publications/manon-digital-programme Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas.

Kim Brandstrup's Leda and the Swan

Choreographer and director Kim Brandstrup's short dance film Leda and the Swan, commissioned by The Royal Ballet for Deloitte Ignite 2014. Performed by dancers Zenaida Yanowsky and Tommy Franzen, and Yeats’s poetry read by actor Fiona Shaw. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/about/deloitte-ignite The annual contemporary arts festival at the Royal Opera House. Deloitte Ignite 2014 was curated by The Royal Ballet and The National Gallery’s Minna Moore Ede, this year's festival is a feast of dance and visual art. The month-long festival celebrated and explored the origin of myth and creation through dance, visual art, film, music and movement. The festival focused on two archetypal myths: Prometheus, the Titan who creates man from clay and steals fire from the Gods, and Leda and the Swan, the mysterious conjunction of a mortal woman and the god Zeus, disguised as a swan.

Plácido Domingo - LIVE in conversation

Join us for an exclusive live event as one of the greatest figures in the world of music joins Music Director of The Royal Opera, Antonio Pappano in conversation. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk

Manon rehearsal trailer | The Royal Ballet

Kenneth MacMillan's acclaimed tragic ballet is a modern masterpiece. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas. Live in cinemas Thursday 16 October 2014. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/showings/manon-live-2014

#WorldBalletDay challenge: your pirouettes

Some of the pirouettes you posted via social media for World Ballet Day 2014. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/worldballetday World Ballet Day ran from 3am to 11pm (British Standard Time) on 1 October 2014, it was a day-long live stream from five of the world's leading ballet companies. The Royal Ballet joined The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet to give you exclusive rehearsal footage, a chance to see how the different companies warm up for the day and interviews with choreographers and leading figures in the dance world.

Sarah Lamb on preparing to perform Manon (The Royal Ballet)

Royal Ballet Principal Artist Sarah Lamb on performing with Rupert Pennefather and her love for their final Pas de deux. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas.

Don Quixote in rehearsal - World Ballet Day 2014 (The Royal Ballet)

Principal Guest Artist of The Royal Ballet Carlos Acosta rehearses Don Quixote with Principal Artist Vadim Muntagirov. Find out more at: http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/don-quixote-by-carlos-acosta Carlos Acosta, Principal Guest Artist of The Royal Ballet, created his first work for the Company in 2013. He chose one of his favourite ballets – Marius Petipa's Don Quixote, a joyful adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes's classic novel. Acosta's production has proved itself a firm audience favourite, acclaimed for its breathtakingly virtuoso dancing, eye-popping designs by Tim Hatley and the sheer energy and exuberance of the production as a whole. The adventures of the bumbling knight Don Quixote and his ever-faithful squire Sancho Panza have been the inspiration for countless ballets, of which Petipa's is one of the best loved. Acosta has danced the virtuoso role of Basilio many times, and brings that experience to his unique and vibrant vision of the story. Ludwig Minkus's score, created for Petipa, is full of Spanish flair and atmosphere. Don Quixote, with its famously bravura Act III pas de deux and infectious ebullience, is wonderfully entertaining.

Liam Scarlett's The Age of Anxiety short rehearsal - World Ballet Day 2014 (The Royal Ballet)

Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett rehearses his new ballet The Age of Anxiety with dancers Laura Morera, Steven McRae, Bennet Gartside and Tristan Dyer. Find out more at: http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/the-age-of-anxiety-by-liam-scarlett British choreographer Liam Scarlett was appointed The Royal Ballet's first Artist in Residence in 2012. His dark, probing narrative works for the Company – Sweet Violets on the main stage and Hansel and Gretel in the Linbury Studio Theatre – have won acclaim, and so too the unique language of movement exemplified in his abstract works such as Asphodel Meadows and Viscera. In his new work for the Company Scarlett sets Leonard Bernstein's Symphony no.2, 'The Age of Anxiety'. Bernstein had an intense emotional response to Auden's poem, later writing 'When I first read the book I was breathless'. This deep personal resonance is married with Bernstein's instinctive sense of rhythm, which has made his music so attractive to choreographers. John Macfarlane, who collaborated with Scarlett on all his previous main-stage works for The Royal Ballet, creates the designs.

Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli on Manon - World Ballet Day 2014 (The Royal Ballet)

Presenter George Lamb talks to Royal Ballet Principal Artist's Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli about performing Kenneth MacMillan's Manon. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas.

Christopher Wheeldon's Aeternum in rehearsal - World Ballet Day 2014 (The Royal Ballet)

Assistant Ballet Master Jonathan Howells rehearses Christopher Wheeldon's Aeternum with dancers Valentino Zuchetti, Tristan Dyer, Paul Kay, Alexander Campbell, Yasmin Naghdi, Megan Grace Hinkis, and James Hay. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/aeternum-by-christopher-wheeldon Christopher Wheeldon created Aeternum for The Royal Ballet in 2013. In recognition of Britten's centenary year Wheeldon selected the composer's harrowing Sinfonia da requiem, a three-movement work created in 1940 and intended in part as a memorial to the young composer's recently deceased parents. Wheeldon's ballet not only pays homage to Britten's profound powers as a lyricist but also transforms the work into a remembrance for the dead, especially the fallen of World War II. The ballet was awarded the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2013. The designs by Wheeldon's regular collaborator Jean-Marc Puissant (DGV: Danse à grand vitesse and Electric Counterpoint) are dominated by a vast wooden structure that lifts and moves throughout the ballet, at one point suggesting a nest, at another gasping ribs. Wheeldon's expressionist, taut choreography has countless powerful images, perhaps most striking of all when the lead ballerina clutches her leg to her body like a rifle, aiming it implacably at the audience.

Liam Scarlett, Laura Morera and Steven McRae on The Age Of Anxiety (The Royal Ballet)

Choreographer Liam Scarlett and Principal dancers Laura Morera and Steven McRae talk with presenter George Lamb about Liam's new narrative ballet The Age of Anxiety. http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/the-age-of-anxiety-by-liam-scarlett British choreographer Liam Scarlett was appointed The Royal Ballet's first Artist in Residence in 2012. His dark, probing narrative works for the Company – Sweet Violets on the main stage and Hansel and Gretel in the Linbury Studio Theatre – have won acclaim, and so too the unique language of movement exemplified in his abstract works such as Asphodel Meadows and Viscera. In his new work for the Company Scarlett sets Leonard Bernstein's Symphony no.2, 'The Age of Anxiety'. Bernstein had an intense emotional response to Auden's poem, later writing 'When I first read the book I was breathless'. This deep personal resonance is married with Bernstein's instinctive sense of rhythm, which has made his music so attractive to choreographers. John Macfarlane, who collaborated with Scarlett on all his previous main-stage works for The Royal Ballet, creates the designs.

Liam Scarlett's The Age of Anxiety full rehearsal - World Ballet Day (The Royal Ballet)

Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett rehearses his new ballet The Age of Anxiety with dancers Laura Morera, Steven McRae, Bennet Gartside and Tristan Dyer. Find out more at: http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/the-age-of-anxiety-by-liam-scarlett British choreographer Liam Scarlett was appointed The Royal Ballet's first Artist in Residence in 2012. His dark, probing narrative works for the Company – Sweet Violets on the main stage and Hansel and Gretel in the Linbury Studio Theatre – have won acclaim, and so too the unique language of movement exemplified in his abstract works such as Asphodel Meadows and Viscera. In his new work for the Company Scarlett sets Leonard Bernstein's Symphony no.2, 'The Age of Anxiety'. Bernstein had an intense emotional response to Auden's poem, later writing 'When I first read the book I was breathless'. This deep personal resonance is married with Bernstein's instinctive sense of rhythm, which has made his music so attractive to choreographers. John Macfarlane, who collaborated with Scarlett on all his previous main-stage works for The Royal Ballet, creates the designs.

The Royal Ballet Full Class - World Ballet Day 2014

Watch the full morning class from The Royal Ballet in London. Class is taken by Brian Maloney. Find out more about World Ballet Day at http://www.roh.org.uk/worldballetday

Melissa Hamilton on making her role debut as Manon (The Royal Ballet)

Royal Ballet First Soloist Melissa Hamilton talks about finally dancing her dream role as Manon. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas.

Zenaida Yanowsky on performing the role of Manon (The Royal Ballet)

Royal Ballet Principal Zenaida Yanowsky talks about her first experience of performing Manon and the journey of her character through the ballet. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/manon Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet's repertory. MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as 'not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor'. Designs by MacMillan's friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan's spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux's impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan's earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan's most heartbreaking dramas.

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