The Royal Ballet will present Christopher Wheeldon’s latest work for the company at the Royal Opera House from the 12th February to the 11th March. 

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Based on the scandalous Portrait of Madame X, painted by John Singer Sargent in 1844, the piece forms part of a Wheeldon mixed programme which includes two pieces that are new to the company: After the Rain and Within the Golden Hour.

Wheeldon is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading choreographers and was recently awarded an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list.

Strapless is the choreographer’s eighth piece of work for The Royal Ballet and is largely inspired by Deborah Dan’s book, which explores the background to Sargent’s infamous painting, unveiled at the 1844 Paris Salon.

When the painting was unveiled it shocked Parisians as well humiliated the painting’s subject the beautiful society belle Virgine Amélie Gautreau. But despite Sargent hastily repainted the portrait, the damage to her reputation was done and she was outcast from society.

The piece features a new score composed by Mark- Anthony Turnage, this piece will also feature designs by Bob Crowley and lighting by Natasha Chivers.

Royal Ballet principles Edward Watson and Natalia Osipova lead the cast as John Singer Sargent and Virginie Amélie GautreauCasting also includes Federico Bonelli and Matthew Ball. Lauren Cuthbertson and Valeri Hristov lead the second cast.

This evening of celebrating the work of Christopher Wheeldon also includes two pieces originally created for American ballet companies and now join The Royal Ballet’s repertoire for the first time. After the Rain, created for New York City Ballet in 2005 is a ballet in two halves with an intricate sextet set to Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa and a hauntingly nuanced pas de deux set to Pärts Spiegel im Spiegel. Within the Golden Hour was created for San Francisco Ballet in 2008. Set to music by Ezio Bosso the ballet presents a series of intricately crafted duets and ensembles of contrasting colours and tones.

After the rain/Strapless/ Within the Golden Hour will appear at the Royal Opera House from the 12th February to the 11th March. For more information visit: http://www.roh.org.uk/mixed-programmes/after-the-rain-strapless-within-the-golden-hour . 

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