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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

Don Quixote Act I finale (The Royal Ballet)

Carlos Acosta as Don Quixote, Marianela Nuñez as Kitri, Yuhui Choe and Beatriz Stix-Brunell as Kitri's friends, Luca Acri, Paul Kay, Kenta Kura and Michael Stojko as the Rascals, Philip Mosley as Sancho Panza, Gary Avis as Lorenzo and Bennet Gartside as Gamache in Carlos Acosta's production of Marius Petipa's Don Quixote, with music by Ludwig Minkus. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/donquixote 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.

Andrea Chénier trailer (The Royal Opera)

David McVicar directs a new production of Umberto Giordano's passionate drama of liberty and love in the French Revolution. Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek and Jonas Kaufmann. Conducted by Antonio Pappano. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/chenier Music courtesy of Warner Music. Buy track here - https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/giordano-andrea-chenier/id693510501

The Flying Dutchman (Der fliegende Holländer) trailer | The Royal Opera

Tim Albery's acclaimed production is a darkly insightful account of Wagner's early masterpiece, The Flying Dutchman. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/hollander Shortly before the premiere of Der fliegende Holländer in Dresden, Wagner had returned from a deeply unsuccessful two-year stint in Paris. He had gone there to make his fortune, but found his way barred by a strict class-based system. One of the bitterest blows came when Léon Pillet, director of the Paris Opéra, accepted his libretto for Der fliegende Holländer – but then commissioned a score not from Wagner but from French composer Pierre-Louis Dietsch. But the Dresden premieres of first Rienzi in October 1842 and Der fliegende Holländer in January 1843 were immense successes, and marked the beginning of Wagner's career as one of the greatest operatic composers. Tim Albery's Olivier-nominated production for The Royal Opera delves deep into the psychology of Wagner's cursed wanderer and his beloved Senta, detailing the monomania and uncompromising idealism that finally drives them apart. Michael Levine's elemental single set is dominated by a rolling metal hull that represents the Dutchman's phantom ship, the poverty of Senta's home and the treacherous sea. Music Courtesy of Warner Music. Buy track here - https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/wagner-der-fliegende-hollander/id726227700

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland trailer (The Royal Ballet)

Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in Christopher Wheeldon’s thrillingly entertaining ballet. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/alice Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland arrived on the stage in 2011 with a burst of colour, theatrical magic and inventive choreography. It was The Royal Ballet’s first new full-length work since 1995 and was greeted with delight by audiences. Joby Talbot’s score combines contemporary soundworlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century. Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative sets and costumes draw on puppetry, projections and masks to make Wonderland wonderfully real. Alice encounters a cast of extraordinary characters, from the highly-strung Queen of Hearts, who performs a hilarious send-up of The Sleeping Beauty's famous Rose Adage, to dancing playing cards, a sinuous caterpillar and a tap-dancing Mad Hatter. Alice and the Knave of Hearts dance a tender, loving pas de deux of delicate beauty. But the ballet does not avoid the darker undercurrents of Lewis Carroll’s story – a nightmarish kitchen, an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat and the unhinged tea party are all created in vivid detail.

Show 21 more videos

How to sing Rossini with Mark Elder (The Royal Opera)

Conductor Mark Elder and mezzo-soprano Rachel Kelly explore the music of Rossini through Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/barbiere The 23-year-old Gioachino Rossini completed his masterpiece Il barbiere di Siviglia incredibly quickly – legend has it in just 13 days – which Rossini attributed to ‘facility and lots of instinct’. He drew on Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ play Le Barbier de Seville – part of a dramatic trilogy that also inspired Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Il barbiere di Siviglia has all the ingredients for comic chaos: an imprisoned young woman, her lecherous guardian and a young noble suitor. Skilfully plotting behind the scenes is Figaro – an irrepressible and inventive character in whom many have seen a resemblance to the young Rossini himself. The score fizzes with musical brilliance, from Figaro’s famous entrance aria ‘Largo al factotum’ to the frenzy of the Act I finale, when the five principal voices pile on top of each other. Within a few decades of its 1816 premiere, Il barbiere di Siviglia had been toured round the world, reaching opera houses in New York, Buenos Aires, Trinidad and Ecuador. It has remained one of the most prominent and popular operas in the repertory.

Alan Titchmarsh on his role in The Wind in the Willows at the Vaudeville Theatre

An introduction to Will Tuckett's The Wind in the Willows by Alan Titchmarsh who plays narrator Kenneth Grahame in the production at the Vaudeville Theatre. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/willows Will Tuckett brings The Wind in the Willows to life through action, dance, song, music and puppetry. This colourful and witty re-creation of the story was originally commissioned by the Royal Opera House and enjoyed four highly successful runs in the Linbury Studio Theatre. The escapades of the reckless Toad and his long-suffering friends Ratty, Mole and wise Badger, are brought to life in a magical, riverside setting. Set to a wonderful score by Martin Ward that draws its inspiration from the music of Edwardian composer George Butterworth, this adaptation will introduce the much-loved tale to awhole new generation of fans.

Manon in rehearsal (The Royal Ballet)

Watch Melissa Hamilton and Matthew Golding rehearse the bedroom pas de deux from Kenneth MacMillan's Manon with Anthony Dowell and Antoinette Sibley. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/manon

Idomeneo trailer (The Royal Opera)

Love and sacrifice vie in Mozart's sublime early masterpiece, directed by Martin Kušej in his UK debut. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/Idomeneo The premiere of Idomeneo on 29 January 1781 came just two days after Mozart's 25th birthday. It was his 13th work for the stage and marks his full maturity as a dramatic composer. The plot moves with breathless immediacy, plunging the characters into extreme emotional states, taking the audience with them. Idomeneo also features some of Mozart's most varied and inventive music, including the heroic regality of Idomeneo's 'Fuor del mar', the tenderness of Ilia and Idamante’s duet ‘S’io non moro a questi accenti’ and the furious vocal acrobatics of Elettra's 'D'Oreste, d'Ajace'. Austrian Martin Kušej is considered one of the most important directors working today, acclaimed for his dark and incisive productions such as Der fliegende Holländer for Netherlands Opera and La forza del destino for Bavarian State Opera. His creative team includes frequent collaborators set designer Annette Murschetz, costume designer Heide Kastler and lighting designer Reinhard Traub.

The Caterpillar in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (The Royal Ballet)

Sarah Lamb as Alice and Eric Underwood, Christina Arestis, Olivia Cowley, Melissa Hamilton and Nathalie Harrison as the Caterpillar in Christopher Wheeldon's ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Recorded for cinema broadcast on 28 March 2013. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/alice Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland arrived on the stage in 2011 with a burst of colour, theatrical magic and inventive choreography. It was The Royal Ballet’s first new full-length work since 1995 and was greeted with delight by audiences. Joby Talbot’s score combines contemporary soundworlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century. Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative sets and costumes draw on puppetry, projections and masks to make Wonderland wonderfully real. Alice encounters a cast of extraordinary characters, from the highly-strung Queen of Hearts, who performs a hilarious send-up of The Sleeping Beauty's famous Rose Adage, to dancing playing cards, a sinuous caterpillar and a tap-dancing Mad Hatter. Alice and the Knave of Hearts dance a tender, loving pas de deux of delicate beauty. But the ballet does not avoid the darker undercurrents of Lewis Carroll’s story – a nightmarish kitchen, an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat and the unhinged tea party are all created in vivid detail.al Ballet as the Caterpillar in Christopher Wheeldon's ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, cinema broadcast on 28 March 2013. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/alice Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland arrived on the stage in 2011 with a burst of colour, theatrical magic and inventive choreography. It was The Royal Ballet’s first new full-length work since 1995 and was greeted with delight by audiences. Joby Talbot’s score combines contemporary soundworlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century. Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative sets and costumes draw on puppetry, projections and masks to make Wonderland wonderfully real. Alice encounters a cast of extraordinary characters, from the highly-strung Queen of Hearts, who performs a hilarious send-up of The Sleeping Beauty's famous Rose Adage, to dancing playing cards, a sinuous caterpillar and a tap-dancing Mad Hatter. Alice and the Knave of Hearts dance a tender, loving pas de deux of delicate beauty. But the ballet does not avoid the darker undercurrents of Lewis Carroll’s story – a nightmarish kitchen, an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat and the unhinged tea party are all created in vivid detail.

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.

Antonio Pappano introduces the music of Verdi's I due Foscari (The Royal Opera)

Music director of The Royal Opera Antonio Pappano on the music of Verdi's tragic opera, 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 introduce I due Foscari (The Royal Opera)

Thaddeus Strassberger, Plácido Domingo, Antonio Pappano, Francesco Meli, Maria Agresta on 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.

Antonio Pappano and Plácido Domingo in conversation - Extract (The Royal Opera)

Antonio Pappano and Plácido Domingo discuss Domingo's role as Francesco Foscari in Verdi's tragic opera, 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.

Ashton's Devil's Holiday Variation

Viacheslav Samodurov performs Frederick Ashton's Devil's Holiday Variation Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk

Ashton's Awakening Pas de deux

Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope perform a pas de deux from Frederick Ashton's Awakening. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk

Ashton's Devil's Holiday Pas de deux

Laura Morera and Ricardo Cervera perform a pas de deux from Frederick Ashton's Devil's Holiday. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk

Ashton's La Valse

The Royal Ballet's Corps de ballet perform Frederick Ashton's La Valse. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/la-valse-by-frederick-ashton By the 20th century the Viennese waltz was a fading art form. Maurice Ravel’s score was commissioned by dance impresario Serge Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes company. Although Diaghilev never used the score – claiming it was not a ballet but ‘the portrait of a ballet’ – both Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine choreographed powerful works for it. Having danced in Nijinska’s 1929 version, Frederick Ashton created his own evocative interpretation in 1958. Ashton’s La Valse depicts the distant world of 19th-century Imperial Vienna. The stage is filled with dancers in tailcoats and ball gowns, who whirl beneath golden chandeliers and elegant drapes. A driving, visceral rhythm underlies the swooping waltz melodies, gradually growing in intensity and ultimately overwhelming the music – interpreted by some critics as a representation of the destruction wrought by World War I and of the decline of the Imperial world.

Ashton's Voices of Spring

Leanne Benjamin and Carlos Acosta perform Frederick Ashton's Voices of Spring. http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/voices-of-spring-by-frederick-ashton Voices of Spring is set to the Frühlingsstimmen waltz (1883) by Johann Strauss II. Frederick Ashton created the piece for The Royal Opera’s 1977 production of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, where it replaced one of the score’s original numbers in the second-act ball scene. The piece was renamed Voices of Spring and given its first performance independent from the operetta in a gala in Los Angeles the following year. From the opening tableau through to the dance’s low lifts, Ashton’s steps interpret the sense of effortless, gravity-defying movement that defines the waltz.

Ashton's Méditation from Thaïs Pas de deux

Mara Galeazzi and Thiago Soares perform a pas de deux from Frederick Ashton's Méditation from Thaïs. http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/meditation-from-thas-by-frederick-ashton Frederick Ashton’s Méditation from Thaïs is set to the flowing melodies of the Méditation religieuse from Jules Massenet’s opera Thaïs (1894). Ashton complements the ethereal and romantic mood of the music with a lyrical love duet. Anthony Dowell, former director of The Royal Ballet, designed the costumes and also appeared in the work’s first performance at the Adelphi Theatre in 1971, alongside Antoinette Sibley.

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

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.

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'.

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