Chase Away Those Winter Blues With The Royal Ballet

Sylvia, Royal Opera House ★★★★☆

By Sam Smith Last edited 10 months ago

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Chase Away Those Winter Blues With The Royal Ballet Sylvia, Royal Opera House 4
Marianela Nunez as Sylvia and Artists of The Royal Ballet. ©ROH, 2017. Photographed by Alice Pennefather

Let’s be honest. The tale of Sylvia is unlikely to say much to you about your life. In telling a story about gods, goddesses and shepherds, on the surface at least it simply feels like a good old-fashioned ballet. Created by the Royal Ballet’s founder choreographer Frederick Ashton in 1952, it was largely lost until footage of a stage rehearsal emerged that enabled the choreography to be reconstructed in 2004.

If, however, the story seems remote, the characters paradoxically feel very human as we engage with their gestures and emotions as much as their steps. Indeed, the level of detail to be found in their expressions and movements means that if this is escapism, it is escapism of the highest quality.

Casts vary, but on the night we went Vadim Muntagirov revealed a brilliant light athleticism as the shepherd Aminta, while Marianela Núñez in the title role combined delicacy with exceptional shaping of her limbs as expression pulsated throughout her entire being. If you’re looking for a joyous evening to chase away those winter blues, Sylvia could be just the ticket.

Sylvia, Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, WC2E, £5-105, 23 November-16 December 2017.

Last Updated 24 November 2017