The Royal Ballet Treats Audiences To Double Debut In La Fille Mal Gardée

Hayward and Sambé are mesmersing

La Fille Mal Gardée has returned to the stage of the Royal Opera House once more, signalling the start of what looks to be a very promising season for the Royal Ballet.  With over a dozen promotions within the company, including three newly appointed First Soloists and four well-deserving new Principals, the 2016/17 season is bubbling with upcoming débuts.

And to start off this flurry is newly appointed Principal, Francesca Hayward, taking on the role of Ashton’s wayward daughter, Lise.  Hayward is the ideal of what happens when talent, brains, brilliance and beauty meet ballet.  Her English training lends to Lise that which Natalia Osipova can only dream of – flaunting fine lines, exemplary arabesques and keen bourées tied together by her natural musicality.

Her Colas, another début, was danced by Portuguese Soloist, Marcelino Sambé.  He is, in every way, an undeniably perfect match for Hayward.  His sheer power provides picture-perfect  jumps and never-ending turns.  He too is distinctly musical, punctuating his dancing with beautiful beats and adding an extra jeté to an already difficult ménage of jetés, saut de basques and chaînés.

The duo are undoubtedly comedians, Sambé having proved that last season as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. However, their off-stage rapport surely extends a helping hand, allowing them to convey two believable leads – they are never too comical, never too romantic, but instead measure each moment carefully, to a mesmerising result.

By and large the company’s season has started off with a strong corps, as well as well-thought Alains, Lise’s should-be fiancé, by English Soloist Paul Kay and Spanish Artist David Yudes, though the former is far more involved in the role.  As Lise’s mother, Widow Simone, Thomas Whitehead and Philip Moseley both play the part with unfailing wit, though, to be terribly picky, they could both use a touch more work on their clog dances.  While to an infrequent ballet go-er the musically demanding choreography is danced to perfection, more avid ballet goers can easily spot the split second every now and again that they manage to fall off the music.  With that being said, it would be quite a feat to perform the clog dance perfectly.

Hayward and Sambé perform publicly only once – on October 6th.  Fille remains in rep until October 22nd.  For tickets, casting and further details please visit the website of the Royal Opera House.

[Featured Image: Francesca Hayward as Lise and Marcelino Sambé as Colas in the Royal Ballet’s La Fille mal gardé – Image Credit: Helen Maybanks]

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