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‘Mayerling’ by the Royal Ballet Company

Joining over 2000 students from all over England we saw a special school production of the ballet ‘Mayerling’ performed by the Royal Ballet Company accompanied by a 40 piece orchestra.

The ballet tells the story of the tragic romance between Archduke Rudolf of Austria and his mistress Mary Vetsera which ended in their deaths in 1889 as part (it is thought) of a suicide-murder pact. Archduke Rudolf it is believed committed suicide having murdered Mary first, after he was told by his father, the Austrian Emperor Franz-Joseph to end the romance.

The ballet began with a funeral in the pouring rain and then backtracked to tell the story of how Rudolf and Mary fell in love via elaborate ceremonies at the Austrian court, extravagant balls, wild drinking sessions., love, passion, despair and finally heartbreak. Steven McRae shone in the title role as Archduke Rudolf and everyone was amazed by the sheer physicality of all of the dancers as they demonstrated their ability to pas de chat, pirouette and so forth across the stage. The costumes were stunning and the music was sublime.

With no dialogue and only one song everyone was pleasantly surprised that they were able to follow the story with ease, such was the ability of the dancers and the orchestra to communicate meaning.

The Royal Opera House, which none of us had ever visited before, was a stunning backdrop for this tragic tale. I should point out that the tickets were only £7.50 each for this special performance and The Royal Opera House gave us a grant towards the cost of the coach travel, both of which made the visit possible. Thank you to them for this.

Even a slow journey home did not diminish the enjoyment that we had.

Thank you to Mrs. Young, Miss. Tinklin and Mrs. Breheny who made the visit possible.

Pictured are students in The Royal Opera House (we had super seats!) as well as Steven McRae as Archduke Rudolf. If anyone thinks that the ballet isn’t for them, give it a go. None of our students had ever been before and all said that they would like to go again.

Mr. Speake

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