Frederick Ashton’s Sylvia was last seen as part of the Royal Ballet’s repertoire back in 2010. And how this glittering, mythical tale of silliness has been missed! One cannot deny that the subject matter is hardly the most hard-hitting, but this decorative ballet is full of delightful touches and romantic choreography that make for dreamy, escapist viewing.
Natalia Osipova tackles the protagonist’s role in zesty and feisty fashion. Act One Sylvia is regal, fearing no one. If she were a female of today she would be a strong, independent woman. She wields her bow and arrow with confidence and finesse. Facially she expresses more so than I have ever seen before, exuding a wonderfully mischievous air as she gleefully rejects Aminta’s (Federico Bonelli) initial declaration of love.
Bonelli himself had by most balletomanes standards somewhat of an off-night. His opening arabesques were visibly shaky, lacking the necessary control. He never quite recovered to deliver the impact desired in the final pas de deux and without this Aminta can come across as rather a drip as he wallows in his infatuation for the young nymph in Act One.
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