Review: #ROHaeternum, etc., Royal Ballet

Aeternum was the star piece in this triple bill and Claire Calvert was the star in Aeternum. If there were another matinee I’d go back and see it all again and maybe appreciate the other two ballets better. I missed Aeternum last time as I was nodding off after 24 Preludes due to the Chopin effect and went home early. This time, the preceding ballets were more interesting. They were both narrative ballets – they are obviously coming back into fashion – not that I’m sure what the story of Cermemony of Innocence actually was. It was good to watch and Britten’s music was excellent. The Age of Anxiety had a much clearer story, apparently based on an Auden poem but very reminiscent of Coward’s Design for Living. Set in New York to music by Bernstein, it made me think of Jerome Robbins’ choreography for West Side Story. I knew it was an unfair comparison: the dancing was superb but I still haven’t seen a British company manage to swing like that, although Boston Ballet did when they visited London. These were only the second performances of both works and I suspect they’ll be just that bit better when they are revived – they are certainly worth seeing again. For Aeternum, everything was superb: the choice of music by Britten, the orchestra under Barry Wordsworth, the choreography by Christopher Wheeldon and the dancing, but it felt like it was all there to support the stunning performance by Claire Calvert. She is still only a soloist but on the basis of this I strongly look forward to seeing her in other major roles.

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