Song of the Earth & La Sylphide
Music by Mahler & Lovenskiold
Palace Theatre, Manchester
11 October 2017
We saw an excellent double-bill, a presentation of two very different pieces, by the English National Ballet.
Song of the Earth featured Tamara Rojo, the company’s artistic director, in a now rare principal role and it might best be described as a poetic meditation on the earth and the sky, the seasonal cycle of renewal and decline, death and life in all its forms. Beautifully done, the choreography by Kenneth MacMillan as fresh as morning dew, it was based on Mahler’s wonderful song cycle and the two singers were Rhonda Browne and Samuel Sakker.
As for La Sylphide, that was something else again. It was a dark fairy-tale about a fiery enchantment leading a young man away from a safe (but dull) path – marriage to a nice girl – and into a dark gargantuan forest where he is deserted and left to die alone. The fate of those who are tremulously plucked out serves as a warning to the herd. A tortuous trajectory and an ignoble death. Best not to dwell.
This show had it all: art, dance, perfection.
English National Ballet’s Song of the Earth & La Sylphide is on national tour until January 2018. Details here.