Ballet fanatics will probably already be aware that the Royal Ballet is performing at the Royal Opera House once again, this time depicting the great tragedy of Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary in the ballet titled, “Mayerling”. The ballet is based on the true story of the Prince, his wife and daughter, and his mistress and the events leading up to the tragic deaths of the Prince and Mary Vetsera in1889. The Ballet has already in session and is running until June 15th 2013 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Staying locally is no problem, click here to check the Travelodge hotel in Covent Garden and book a room, that way you can absorb the experience without having to rush to travel home.
The Mayerling incident is well reported and is cemented in the history books as one of history’s greatest tragedies and part of the events that led to World War One. The Austro-Hungarian Prince Ruldolf was forced to marry Princess Stephanie of Belgium against his will for political reasons. He was then tormented by his love for another woman and faced with political troubles outside his control until he ultimately committed suicide in an alleged pact with his mistress Mary in January 1889. The story is wrought with passion and violence as well as romance and desperate sadness. The Royal Ballet do an incredible job of capturing all of the emotions in this complex tale with elegance and a class only found in the arts.
The story has been dramatized in film, television and theatre, but frequent viewers of ballet will know that there is a certain heighted drama about depiction in dance. This adaptation was written by Kenneth MacMillian and first performed in 1978. The music, written by Franz Liszt and arranged by John Lanchbery, captures the high drama of the story and tells it well. For the dancers themselves this is a challenging arrangement and has one of the most complex male dance roles there is, so expect something spectacular from the male lead. There are also 5 female lead roles with the dancing style purposefully pushing the boundaries of classical ballet.
The Royal Ballet Company are based year round at the Royal Opera House and are internationally renowned as one of the best classical ballet companies in the world. The company are 100 dancers strong, each one as talented and as disciplined as the next. This brilliant dance company combined with the majestic spectacle of the Royal Opera House makes for an exceptional arts experience that transports you to Austria-Hungary and the era of Prince Rudolf.
Everyone from a true ballet convert who has seen many performances in the past, or a newbie who enjoys history and tragic love stories akin to Romeo and Julliet, should go and see the Mayerling at the Royal Opera House. There is no dialogue in ballet, but the story and emotion will be so apparent that there won’t be a dry eye in the house.