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Elizabeth (The Royal Ballet)
Carlos Acosta (Dancer); Zenaida Yanowsky (Dancer); Laura Caldow (Actor); Sonya Cullingford (Actor); Julia Righton (Actor); David Kempster (Baritone); Raphael Wallfisch (Cello);
Opulent and intimate, this enchanting chamber piece combines dance, text and music in a fascinating exploration of the life and loves of Queen Elizabeth I. Choreographer Will Tuckett and playwright and librettist Alasdair Middleton co-direct this special performance, which brings together Royal Ballet Principals Zenaida Yanowsky and Carlos Acosta with actors Laura Caldow, Sonya Cullingford and Julia Righton in an atmospheric and nuanced tribute to the remarkable nature of this extraordinary woman. Martin Yates’s original score recalls the structures and harmonies of Elizabethan music, in a modern reimagining of a typical Tudor-period ensemble, deftly performed by world renowned cellist Raphael Wallfisch and acclaimed baritone David Kempster.
"Yanowsky is perfectly cast as Elizabeth, her height and innate regality allowing her a natural authority on stage, and her long-limbed technique brings Tuckett’s sensitive choreography to vivid life. Acosta has enormous fun switching doublets and facial hair for each of her admirers, while animating the steps with everything from grand passion to knockabout comedy as an Errol Flynn-like Robert Dudley, the puppyish Duc d’Anjou and a terrific Walter Raleigh. Tuckett’s ballet is a potent distillation of the monarch’s life, bookended by her death in which Yanowsky’s Elizabeth seems to reflect agonisingly on her romantic failures as much as the successes of her reign. A beautifully realised work in every respect and a fitting farewell for Acosta." (The Stage ★★★★)
"Tuckett’s choreography plays to the Cuban star’s strengths with lots of swizzling pirouettes and big lifts and the multiple roles allow him to reprise his greatest hits: his frisky Basilio, his desperate Rudolf, his gormless Franz and even a dark hint of his Messenger in MacMillan’s Song of the Earth when he duets with the dying monarch. He is well matched by Yanowsky, whose pale beauty conjures the iconic portraits and whose intelligent playing makes perfect sense of Elizabeth’s apparent contradictions: lover, scholar, dancer, imperatrix." (The Financial Times ★★★★)
"Over an interval-free 90 minutes, it explores the life and loves of the enigma who did so much to give England a national identity. And, typically for that capable and likeable neoclassical choreographer Tuckett, it turns out to be a polished creation... it [the piece] allows Acosta to take an entertaining final bow from the company with which, over 17 years, he has achieved so very much." (The Daily Telegraph ★★★★)
"His [Will Tuckett's] latest piece, Elizabeth, is true to form: a polished, period tapestry of dance, music, song and text that looks like nothing else he’s made... With Zenaida Yanowsky in the title role, Tuckett also has a ballerina who can rise to the complexity – and magnificence – of his subject... Carlos Acosta is Yanowsky’s partner, performing five key men in Elizabeth’s life. This work marks his last classical role at the Royal Opera House, and Tuckett allows him to display his technique to debonair effect. Acosta’s dancing is witty and finessed, the prototype of the Elizabethan warrior and courtier. As the flamboyantly self-promoting Walter Raleigh, he’s as funny as I’ve ever seen him.... Elegantly performed and intelligently crafted, this is dance theatre of quiet but passionate depth." (The Guardian ★★★★)