Mayerling is based on the true story of the deaths of Crown Prince Rudolf and his teenage mistress Vetsera in 1889. This dark intense ballet created for The Royal Ballet in 1978 and is regarded among many as Kenneth MacMillan’s finest works. Orchestrated and arranged by John Lanchbery, the music of Franz Liszt sweeps the story to its intense conclusion, and sumptuous designs by Nicolas Georgiadis bring to life the formal, oppressive world of the Austro-Hungarian court.
The large-scale crowd and court scenes show the whole Company off at its dramatic finest – but it is MacMillan’s choreography for Rudolf (Steven MacRae), one of the most technically and emotionally demanding roles in the repertory for male dancers, that makes this ballet so iconic. Rudolf’s emotional decline is charted through daring and visceral pas de deux with his mother (Kristen McNally), his wife (Meagan Grace Hinkis) and Mary Vetsera (Sarah Lamb) – choreography that pushes classical ballet to its limits.
Composer: Franz Liszt
Arranged and orchestrated: John Lanchbery
Crown Prince Rudolf: Steven McRae
Baroness Mary Vetsera: Sarah Lamb
Countess Marie Larisch: Laura Morera
Empress Elisabeth: Kristen McNally
Princess Stephanie: Meaghan Grace Hinkis
Artists of the Royal Ballet
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Conductor: Koen Kessels
Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan
Designs: Nicholas Georgiadias
Plus: An Introduction, Darcey Bussell talks to ballet coach Leanne Benjamin, Steven McRae discusses his return from injury