The Royal Ballet in London recently opened their fall season with a revival of Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling (MacMillan of course is a SLSG favorite choreographer). It’s based on the true story of the apparent suicide / murder in 1889 of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria and his lover Baronness Mary Vetsera whose bodies were found in Mayerling, Rudolf’s hunting lodge. Prince Rudolf, sole son of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, was heir to the thrones of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia.
Londoners seem to be loving the ballet. From Neil Norman’s Daily Express review:
“Like John Cranko and Michael Corder, MacMillan choreographs for full-blooded men. There is never any doubt about the masculinity and virility of his creatures. The brothel scene that opens Act II reeks of cigar smoke and a sense of political unease is brilliantly conveyed by the huddled quartet of officers who periodically grab Rudolf to whisper into his ear.
“As the tragedy slides inexorably towards its conclusion, Rudolf’s entanglement with his young mistress, Mary Vetsera (Maria Galeazzi) drives him into a paroxysm of violent frustration. Watson’s tortured solo as he clutches his head and writhes in a kaleidoscope of movement had me clutching my kneecaps until my knuckles were white.
“The denouement is terrifying. As Watson duets with Galeazzi in unhinged passion, the stage seems to smoke with some of the most eloquently violent moves in classical ballet. It really doesn’t get much better than this. If you don’t have a ticket, do something dangerous to get one.”
And this from our friends over at the Ballet Bag, which whom I was chatting on Twitter. They told me they think our Marcelo Gomes would make an excellent Prince Rudolf. I think maybe David Hallberg would as well — may give him a chance to get all of that aggression out of his system
Here’s a photo they posted of the Royal’s excellent Johan Kobborg in the role.
Photo of Kobborg by Bill Cooper; top photo by Tristam Kenton from the Financial Times.
What do you guys think? Would an American audience take to such “eloquent violence”? Haglund thinks so, as do I — we have with his other ballets. C’mon Kevin McKenzie, give us a Mayerling!