Last season at Covent Garden was marked by the emergence of an exceptional performance entitled "Anastasia". Inspired by the story of Anna Anderson, who claims to be the surviving daughter of King Nicholas II - Anastasia, Kenneth McMillian creates a ballet that impresses the audience with her spiritual outspokenness.

The death of the royal family is veiled by riddles. There are also many versions of the fact that their youngest daughter, Anastasia, was rescued and escaped. The official version is that in July 1918, the entire family, along with their GP and three servants, were shot dead. The execution is quick, without trial, and their bodies are mutilated and thrown into a common grave.

Two years later, however, a girl appears in Berlin who claims to be Anastasia and wants to be recognized as a royal daughter in court. Because her relatives do not recognize her, the woman is sent to a hospital for the poor, and there Mary Poyert recognizes her by comparing a photo in an article entitled "One of the king's daughters is alive." Anderson refuses to speak Russian, as well as meeting with Empress Maria Fyodorovna. But he did ask the court for access to the bank accounts of the imperial family. In 1951, the Hamburg court ruled that Anna Anderson was not Anastasia.

photo: Royal Opera House

photo: Royal Opera House

Fraud or not, the case inspires choreographer Kenneth McMillan and he creates a magnificent piece. He initially cast Anastasia as the one-act ballet for Deutsche Opera in 1967. Later in 1971, he developed the story in three acts and created a new choreography for the Royal Ballet in London, electing the leading role of Lynn Seymour.

The first two acts take place under the music of Tchaikovsky (First and Third Symphonies), and for the last and most important action, McMillan chooses the Sixth Symphony of Bochus Martin. With this last act, he recounts the nightmares in Anna's head, from the memories of the murder of her entire family, which, in her words, accompany her throughout her life. The story is more than poignant, and the scene with the madness, the hospital bed, the escape under the sounds of shots, makes the viewers shiver.

Royal Opera House / stage

Royal Opera House / stage

At the premiere, the ballet was honored with violent applause, especially for the performance of Lynn Seamer. By incorporating elements of German expressionism (a style that is new to British audiences), he manages to grab viewers so that comments become superfluous. "In Anna's story, I found a theme that sometimes came up in my previous work - the outsider figure," says McMillan.

This season (2016 - 2017), the ballet has been re-set, this time the famous Russian ballet dancer Natalia Osipova has been cast in the lead role. Following her guest appearance last season with the role of Odetta / Odile in Swan Lake, in 2013, Osipova was invited as a soloist at Covent Garden, where she played the lead roles in Giselle, Don Quixote, The Hazelnut. , The Badly Protected Girl, The Dream, Onegin, Manon, and more. It is interesting that the decision of the Covent Garden Directorate to entrust the role of Anastasia to a Russian ballet dancer, seeking greater authenticity with the heroine.

In her performance, Natalia (albeit an 31 annual) goes convincingly from the innocence of a girl - a princess, to the horror of communist terror that has led her to madness. She shares after the show that the highly dramatic role allows her to express her own perspective in this extremely tragic story. And "what is happening on stage is really what is happening in Anastasia's head, in her memory and emotions." This one-hundred-year-old tragedy, through the extraordinary ballet production of Covent Garden's Anastasia, continues to live today, worrying the souls and hearts of thousands of spectators.

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