Earlier this month I attended a performance of the Royal Ballet’s extraordinary production ‘Anastasia’. In gorgeous and arresting dance and music, events were portrayed surrounding the young Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov.
|Grand Duchess Anastasia and her sisters on board the yacht Standart with Princess Viktoria of Shaumburg-Lippe, grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, sister of the German Emperor Wilhelm II, ('Kaiser Bill') and cousin of Tsar Nicholas II|
Little Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov on board the imperial yacht with his carer the sailor Nagorny.
Act Two began with Anastasia’s coming-out ball. Amid much joyous dancing, Rasputin loomed menacingly, slithering between the Tsar and Tsarina. Vast chandeliers hung over the scene in a disconcerting un-perpendicular way, prompting the question – was what we were seeing real or imagined? Anastasia’s privileged life came to an abrupt end with the storming of the Winter Palace.
The music in these acts came from Tchaikovsky’s first and third symphonies, and the dance was classical in style.
Act Two of Anastasia , Royal Ballet, 2016. C 2016 ROH, photo by Tristram Kenton.
Natalia Osipova as Anna Anderson in Anastasia. C ROH 2016, photo by Tristram Kenton.
MacMillan's wonderful reworking of this story is a must-see for History Girls, illustrating vividly the complex psychodrama of a woman’s memory and identity. Catch it at the Royal Opera House or in a cinema near you.
Queen Alexandra's Christmas Gift Book -photographs from my camera, Daily Telegraph 1908.
Frances Welch, The False Grand Duchess Anastasia, Royal Ballet, 2016.