One of the Royal Ballet’s finest productions featuring Franz Liszt’s music, orchestrated and arranged by John Lanchbery and Kenneth Macmillan’s choreography, is coming to Rialto Theatre’s big screen as a broadcast from the Royal Opera House Cinema.
Mayerling is a performance based on the true story of the Mayerling incident, portraying the series of events that led to the death of Rudolf Crown Prince of Austria and his lover, Baroness Mary Vetsera. Was it murder or was it a suicide? The tragic events remain a mystery even today and Macmillan’s choreography went down in history for its passion, impeccable movement and dance perfection.
Crown Prince Rudolf and his teenage mistress died in 1889. This dark and intense ballet was created for The Royal Ballet in 1978 and is regarded by many as among Kenneth MacMillan’s finest works. Orchestrated and arranged by John Lanchbery, the music of Liszt sweeps the story to its intense conclusion, and sumptuous designs by Nicholas Georgiades bring to life the formal, oppressive world of the Austro-Hungarian court.
The large-scale crowd and court scenes show the whole company off at its dramatic finest. But it is MacMillan’s choreography for Rudolf, one of the most technically and emotionally demanding roles in the repertory for male dancers, that makes this ballet so iconic. Rudolf’s emotional decline is charted through daring and visceral pas de deux with his mother, his wife and Mary Vetsera – choreography that pushes classical ballet to its limits.
The story revolves around the emotionally unstable Crown Prince Rudolf who is haunted by his obsession with death. He is forced to marry Princess Stephanie. Soon afterwards his former lover Marie Larisch introduces him to a new mistress Mary Vetsera, a young woman who shares his morbid fascination. At the hunting lodge Mayerling, Rudolf and Mary form a suicide pact. They make love before Rudolf first shoots Mary and then himself. The royal family desperately covers up the tragedy.
From the ballet’s start, the glamour of the Austro-Hungarian court is contrasted with undercurrents of sexual and political intrigue that drive the story to its violent climax in a double suicide. The large cast allows for impressive ensembles in addition to the ballet’s many solos of distinctive character and pas de deux of disturbing eroticism. This ballet, bursting with intensity, madness and passion, proves that sometimes the truth is more scandalous than fiction.
With its emotional depth and haunting imagery, Macmillan’s Mayerling which has captivated many is bound to impress, move and leave the audience in awe of the skill level of the dancers.
“The mood was so intense that there was hardly a sound as the work unfolded. Then, at the end, there was thunderous applause and stamping, and that wrenched sense of release that you get with great art,” dance critic Sarah Crompton commented in her review in The Telegraph.
Described as a “a night of ballet to remember for the rest of your life” by the dance critic, don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness one of the Royal Ballet’s finest productions.
Mayerling by Royal Ballet
Ballet performance broadcast from Royal Opera House Cinema. November 11. Rialto theatre, Limassol. 6pm. €15 / 10. Tel: 77777745