Edward Watson takes the role of Crown Prince Rudolf in Kenneth MacMillan's compelling ballet, which lives out the final eight years of Rudolf's life and its relentless downward spiral of political intrigue, drugs and murder. The ballet culminates with a suicide pact at a hunting lodge between Rudolf and his 17-year-old mistress, Mary Vetsera. “…while Mara Galeazzi as Mary Vetsera nearly stole the show with her natural conviction, exuberance and authoritative technique, the evening belonged to Watson as Rudolf, one of the most challenging male roles ever created.” Sunday Express
In 1974, British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan in turn decided to focus on the two protagonists for an ambitious ballet that could translate the feelings and emotions of two souls abused by the accidents of life and their own personal weaknesses. In short, how a young girl on her way to a convent manages to elope with the young student with whom she has just fallen in love, only to leave him to escape destitution and finally allow herself to be persuaded by her brother Lescaut to yield to the advances of wealthy “protectors”. Accused of prostitution and deported to Louisiana, Manon is rescued by Des Grieux. Driven to murder by Manon’s jailer, he escapes with her into the marshes where the young girl ultimately succumbs. Although sincere, the love that Manon and Des Grieux share for each other cannot stand up to the vagaries of existence. As a result, neither is able to escape moral or social decline. Rather than reuse the score of Massenet’s opera, MacMillan entrusted Leighton Lucas with the task of arranging a series of extracts taken from a selection of the French composer’s operatic, symphonic and vocal scores… The end result was a huge success from its debut performance in London in 1974 onwards.
The Royal Ballet presents a stellar cast in Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling, filmed in 1994, with John Lanchbery's sumptuous scoring of music by Franz Liszt. The dramatic soundscape is matched by MacMillan’s penetrating interpretation of the events surrounding the double suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary and his young mistress, Mary Vetsera, at Mayerling in January 1889.