Raymonda by English National Ballet.

Raymonda is one of the rarely performed Ballets seen in the UK. This version has been bought to the stage through the incredible collaboration of co-producers from the English National Ballet and Finnish National Opera.

Placed during the Crimean War, the story is about Raymonda’s struggle between her duty to family and husband and the desire to help in the war hospital helping wounded soldiers and fulfilling the life she would choose to live rather than the one expected of her during the Victorian Era.

This new debut version of the production by director and choreographer Tamara Rojo is outstanding. Each scene, ensemble dance, and storyline are clear and beautifully performed. The success of this production will certainly help with launching a promising career for Rojo. I look forward to seeing what she brings next to the stage.

Set and costume designer Antony McDonald creates three incredible sets using the same layout and building individual settings each time. From the beginning on the bleak battlefield to the luxurious Turkish Palace with a large range of richly woven rugs and cushions to the finale at the vineyard wedding venue. Combined with the stunning costumes throughout. I especially the beautiful red dresses are worn by one of the principal dancers.

Special mention has to be made to the incredible English National Ballet Philharmonic Orchestra led by Gavin Sutherland and guest conductor Alexander Ingram. The musical score combines passion and jubilation as Raymonda’s tale unfolds before us. I think nothing beats listening to the orchestra warming up as you take your seat at the start.

Lead principal dancer Fernanda Oliveira’s performance in the role of Raymonda was flawless. Whether dancing solo, one-to-one or joined by the dance ensemble Oliviera never missed a step. Her arm and hand gestures when miming an instrument had been impeccably timed with the accompanying instrument from the orchestra. An amazing pleasure to have had the good fortune of watching.

Raymonda is a spectacular production and one of those rare finds that are worth putting on your watch list.

For more information on this Ballet and future productions at the Mayflower in Southampton please use the link below.

Five Stars.



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