Scotland goes surreal this summer: Threatening Weather by René Magritte
Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House; Mikhailovsky Ballet, Carlos Acosta and guest artists, London Coliseum; Sylvie Guillem, Sadler’s Wells
London’s balletomanes are going to need a bus pass or a bicycle—and deep pockets—to stay ahead of the game this month.
The Bolshoi, still awaiting completion of their Moscow home’s £500m refit, are back at the Royal Opera House (19th July-8th August) with bankable favourites, an eagerly awaited revival of Coppélia by Sergei Vikharev and firecracker virtuosity from the young Natalia Osipova.
Undaunted by the competition, the dancers of the Mikhailovsky Ballet and guest star Tamara Rojo begin an ambitious two-week run at the London Coliseum (13th-25th July). Generous support from fruit magnate Vladimir Kekhman, known as “Mr Banana,” has paid for the renovation of the company’s dilapidated St Petersburg theatre and bankrolled a London visit offering five programmes including a rare sighting of Soviet-era Laurencia, a light-hearted balletisation of Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna.
Spoiled for choice? It gets worse. As the Bolshoi begins its second week at the ROH, Carlos Acosta takes over the Coliseum (28th July-7th August) with one of those hit-and-miss “and friends” evenings pioneered by Rudolf Nureyev in the 1970s. Meanwhile, former Royal Ballet diva Sylvie Guillem will treat a sold-out Sadler’s Wells (28th-31st July) to the exquisite tableaux vivants of Robert Lepage’s half-baked Eonnagata, sumptuously costumed by the late Alexander McQueen to prove that there is life (of sorts) after tutus. Louise Levene is the Sunday Telegraph’s ballet critic and a novelist
Went the Day Well? On re-release 9th-31st July, BFI
The year is 1940 and it’s an average day in the English village of Bramley End. Soldiers arrive and the locals greet them. But something’s awry. These soldiers eat Viennese chocolate. When they write “7,” they put a cross through it. Gradually it dawns on the villagers: the soldiers are German, and Britain has been invaded. The villagers react with surprising violence. The story is told in flashback, from a future in which Germany has been defeated.
We are used to thinking of British cinema in the realist mode, but the Ealing film Went the Day Well?, made in 1942, joins the askance, impolite, Romantic tradition that includes the work of Powell and Pressburger, Nicolas Roeg, Terence Davies, Derek Jarman and Ken Russell. It is based on a…