Mayerling is The Royal Ballet’s revival of the 1978 creation by Kenneth Macmillan. Federico Bonelli’s portrayal of the Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary is mesmerising. In particular the scene where the Prince is trying to make it up with his wife Princess Stephanie, played by Meaghan Grace Hinkis, on their wedding night, is powerful and intense. The dancers’ bodies showcase a feat of supreme strength, the sequence before he takes his newly wedded wife to bed, is one of the best between Bonelli and Hinkis.
When the Prince meets Baroness Mary Vetsera and they dance, Macmillan’s choreography shines in another excellent sequence. Laura Moerera glitters as a frenzied Mary and Moerera executes her best performance in the final dance with the Prince, before the lovers’ suicide pact. A duet most demanding; yet the couple are flawless.
Prince Rudolf’s dark side is also presented in an authentic manner. His love of guns, often flirting with one in intimate moments, especially when dancing with a lady. Coupled with his fascination with skulls, one that he keeps returning to and playing with, makes for strong foreshadowing of the finale. Bonelli portrays the animalistic aspects of the Prince’s personality with aplomb. The passion that grips the Prince and in turn Mary, is palpable; Bonelli executes the acting and the dancing with unrelenting poise.
The choreography of the ‘whores’ in the tavern is extremely salacious; it ranges from playful to raunchy yet always remains skillful, and was one of the more light-hearted sequences in the ballet. The boudoir scene has countless lavish costumes, almost giving off an Alice in Wonderland vibe. The orchestra are exceptional at conveying the tone of the scene, be it playful or macabre, it is extremely expressive and potent under the guidance of Martin Yates. The orchestra complement the performance at each turn, and the ballet is sublimely woven with the music. The costumes are very glamorous and regal. The colours used on stage are great, muted tones of gold with other earthly colours are ornate but elegant. The stage design is excellent throughout the three acts.
Kenneth Macmillan’s choreography remains enticing and glorious. The sensuality between lovers, be it the Prince or his mother Empress Elisabeth, played by Tara-Brigitte Bhanvani, who also perform an exquisite duet, is conveyed through the dancers’ agile movements, resulting in an evening of ballet that is synchronised and fluid, and a joy to watch. The calibre of the entire company is admirable, but some of the best moments are in the duets. 4.5/5
Review written by Prerna Prasad.
Mayerling is currently showing at the Royal Opera House until Saturday 13th May 2017. For more information on the production, visit here…