Ashton Celebration

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The Royal Ballet Dances Frederick Ashton

Here are five gems on one DVD, all created by the celebrated founder choreographer of The Royal Ballet, Sir Frederick Ashton. Among them, the timeless Monotones I and II – this recording the first ever to be commercially released. Here, too, is a gorgeous new recording of Ashton’s La Valse, plus the DVD features Tamara Rojo’s Royal Ballet farewell performance.

Frederick Ashton is one of ballet’s most widely admired choreographers, whose musical, subtle and graceful style and extraordinary gift for storytelling had a profound impact on the development of British ballet. This special programme, performed at the Royal Opera House to mark the 25th anniversary of Ashton’s death, presents five works that showcase his astonishing versatility, from compelling abstract ballets – such as the exuberant Voices of Spring and the radically modernist Monotones – to the tragic love story Marguerite and Armand, brought to life with performances of heart-wrenching intensity by Tamara Rojo and Sergei Polunin.

This programme is an excellent companion to Opus Arte’s earlier Ashton release featuring the ballets Les Patineurs and Scènes de Ballet. If you’re a newcomer to ballet, you may also like to consider purchasing this DVD with Opus Arte’s Three Ballets by Kenneth MacMillan to savour and contrast the works of Britain’s two greatest choreographers – creative rivals in their day.

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, 21 February 2013

La Valse (1947) – Hikaru Kobayashi, Ryoichi Hirano, Samantha Raine, Bennet Gartside, Helen Crawford, Brian Maloney
Meditation from Thaïs (1971) – Leanne Benjamin and Valeri Hristov
Voices of Spring (1977) – Yuhui Choe and Alexander Campbell
Monotones I and II (1965/1966)– Emma Maguire, Akane Takada, Dawid Trzensimiech, Marianela Nuñez, Nehemiah Kish, Edward Watson
Marguerite and Armand (1963) – Tamara Rojo, Sergei Polunin, Christopher Saunders, Gary Avis

Region Code: 0
Format & Aspect Ratio: NTSC, 16:9
Number of discs: 1
Run time: 84 minutes + extras
Studio: Opus Arte, OA1116D – also available as Blu-Ray disc
Release date: 2013