Distorted Memories / by charlotte macmillan

A revival of KM's 3 act ballet Anastasia opened at The Royal Ballet this week. Twelve years since its last outing, it still proves to be an extraordinary work.

Natalia Osipova and Edward Watson

Structurally, it challenges the audience's expectation of story telling through classical steps and typical MacMillan expressionism. The third Act was conceived first in Berlin, 1967 ending his first season as Director of the Deutsche Oper. He was fascinated by the true story of Anna Anderson, a woman who believed she was the last remaining member of the murdered Russian royal family and who had been discovered trying to commit suicide in Berlin. Incarcerated, she recollected stories of the Royal family and key points about their private lives which challenged those that denied her authenticity.  KM ever the romanticist liked to believe her story, the fact that she insisted that visitors to her hospital room bowed and curtsied, yet would half conceal her face to most.

 He chose Martinu’s sixth symphony itself an act of recall, written years after the composer had a serious head injury. It became an exercise in musical memory.  Juxtaposed with Tchaikovsky in Acts 1 and 2 the whole Ballet becomes a remarkable comment on retrospection, fantasy, psychosis and historical fact.

 

Performances continue until 12th November 2016

Marianela Nunez as Mathilde Kschessinska

Natalia Osipova and Edward Watson