LPCM 2.0 & DTS Digital Surround 5.1
The Frederick Ashton Collection Vol. 1 (The Royal Ballet)
Tamara Rojo (Marguerite and Armand); Sergei Polunin (Marguerite and Armand); Natalia Osipova (Rhapsody); Steven McRae (Rhapsody - The Dream); Marianela Nuñez (Symphonic Variations); Vadim Muntagirov (Symphonic Variations -The Two Pigeons); Lauren Cuthbertson (The Two Pigeons); Zenaida Yanowsky (Marguerite and Armand); Roberto Bolle (Marguerite and Armand);
This special collection from The Royal Ballet includes nine of Frederick Ashton’s most loved short ballets, which showcase the range of his style. The pure classical perfection of Symphonic Variations is contrasted with the light-hearted exuberance of Voices of Spring. Both are complemented by the passion and drama of Marguerite and Armand and the romance and comedy of The Two Pigeons and The Dream. The collection is completed by Rhapsody, La Valse, Monotones and Méditation from Thaïs, four of the most iconic abstract works created by The Royal Ballet’s founding choreographer.
Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true Surround Sound.
"... a bill which revealed the variety of the Royal’s founder choreographer from the perfumed sway of La Valse, to the lyrical loveliness of the Thais pas de deux, and the audacious joy of Voices of Spring. Monotones I and II, on the other hand, show his geometric modernism and his ability to conjure a kind of mysterious beauty by the simplest of means... the performances throughout the evening made the choreography look as fresh and important as ever." (The Daily Telegraph)
"... performances of heart-wrenching intensity ... Polunin stalks the stage like a panther, his every breath and gesture a cry of longing for Rojo's ailing, consumptive Marguerite ... and while his dancing is faultless, it's the other things that you remember. His burning gaze. The ferocious tenderness of his touch. The terrible desperation with which he buries his face in her neck ... Rojo has never been more incandescently beautiful, nor more vulnerable. Voices of Spring [is] deftly performed by Yuhui Choe and Alexander Campbell. They're a well-matched pair, his Tiggerish bounce nicely complemented by her understated technique and knowing smile. Monotones I and II see Ashton in minimalist mood. In this plotless two-part work we see his fundamental beliefs about ballet laid out with limpid simplicity to piano music by Erik Satie. It's exquisitely performed, Emma Maguire's quietly perfect line compelling the eye in the first section, and Marianela Nuñez lunar and inexorable in the second." (The Guardian)
"The ensuing competition between their solo variations is thrilling, not simply because of McRae’s soaringly athletic jump and Osipova’s skimming footwork, but because they dance all the little steps with such fierce, articulated detail. When the two dancers meet and melt into their central pas de deux, the lyricism of their suspended lifts, the lavish meshing of their bodies is all the more transcendent for having been hard won." (The Guardian - Rhapsody ★★★★)
"Frederick Ashton's 1962 ballet is swooningly romantic and unashamedly old fashioned. The Parisian artist's garret setting might be a cliche but the action is alive with invention. What begins as a comic ballet glides imperceptibly into a more serious realm as the two immature lovers come to terms with erotic distraction and locate the adult within themselves. Ashton's birdlike steps, with flapping elbows and nodding heads are sharp and funny at first as the dancers shake a tail feather across the stage before softening and stretching into gestures of greater poignancy." (The Stage - The Two Pigeons ★★★★★)
Introduction to Frederick Ashton; The Ashton Foundation; Introductions to the ballets; Documentaries: Exploring the choreography of The Two Pigeons · Bottom on pointe (The Dream); Interview with Zenaida Yanowsky (Marguerite and Armand, 2017)