A programme of three great works by Frederick Ashton closes The Royal Ballet’s Season. Shakespeare’s story and Mendelssohn’s delightful music provide the basis for his much-loved interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In an evocative woodland setting, Oberon, King of the Fairies, concocts a mischievous plot to teach his Queen Titania a lesson. Aggravated by the impish Puck, unwitting mortals add to the comic confusions of love. Ashton’s Symphonic Variations is a sublime homage to classical ballet set to the rich, anguished lyricism of Franck’s similarly titled score. For many, it is the ultimate distillation of the English tradition. Finally, we have Marguerite and Armand: set to Liszt’s dramatic Piano Sonata in B minor, this evocation of La Dame aux camellias is one of Ashton’s most passionate creations.
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