Last Updated on February 23, 2020
Last Minute Tickets for The Cellist – Royal Opera House with Friday Rush.
Finding reasonably priced tickets for the opera and ballet can be a challenge, especially if you are booking at the last minute. Being something of a masochist and with no fear of heights, sometimes I end up sitting in the Slips – at the very top of the house – where you get a space on a bench. Sitting in the Rear Amphitheatre or Slips though isn’t all bad. For large operas and most ballet, the view is really quite special and I usually pay less than £20 for my space. Anyone scared of heights though might not feel so comfy. But, that’s where Friday Rush comes in – and I’m excited to have booked my first ever Friday Rush tickets. The first night of The Cellist has been sold out for months and so I decided to try for Friday Rush tickets last week.
Friday Rush tickets are released at 1 pm every Friday – usually, there are tickets for the whole of the following week, but you can check what will be on offer through the ROH website up to a week in advance – even those shows marked ‘sold out’ will have more tickets released. And, there are seats in the Upper Amphitheatre and Stalls Circle, together with standing room in the Balcony. You can use the normal Royal Opera House seating system to check the view you will get. For dance, I’m happiest with a central view but don’t mind being in the Upper Amphitheatre. For opera, I will probably try for Stalls Circle tickets – but that does mean being quick to check out availability. I’ll let you know how I get on!
For me, Friday Rush has a lot of advantages over the old ‘Day Tickets’ where you had to stand and queue on the day for seats. You get the chance to see what is available and pick your own favourite spot to sit. So, if you happen to have some flexibility on the date you choose, then you can find the best option for yourself and even use the booking system to check your view of the stage. You don’t need to turn up on the day and hope – so for those visiting from out of town or even in the UK for a holiday, there’s a huge bonus in not having to waste time coming into London and then finding you are too late. And, you do get the tickets for a reasonable price – my ticket for The Cellist was only £12 – which is less than I’d pay for a West End cinema ticket. For that, I had a centre rear amphitheatre seat which actually had a great view of the stage.
From the lofty heights where I was sitting, Dances at a Gathering was quite spectacular. Over an hour of Chopin performed by Robert Clark from the orchestra pit, the work is a series of short dances to waltzes, scherzos, studies and mazurkas. The ten dancers appear alone, in pairs and in small groups. Choreographer Jerome Robbins famously wrote
‘There are not stories to any of the dances in Dances at a Gathering. There are no plots and no roles, the dancers are themselves dancing with each other to that music in that place.’
It’s a charming, vibrant and elegant piece where at the end, the audience is left moved by the beauty of the dance. From a line up of Royal Ballet principals, it’s almost impossible to pick individuals out but I particularly loved the quizzical, tidy dancing of Laura Morera (Green) and the elegant lines from Francesca Hayward (Mauve). And, I was truly impressed by Alexander Campbell’s power and finesse (Brown).
It was, however, The Cellist, that had spurred me into buying a ticket from Friday Rush. The world premiere of a new ballet inspired by the life of Jacqueline du Pré, it’s the first main stage work for Cathy Marston at the Royal Opera House. I was stunned by The Suit performed by Ballet Black at Sadler’s Wells last year and keen to see how Marston would interpret what has to be one of the greatest real-life love stories (and tragedies) of our time. Marston specialises in narrative ballets, with choreography that is accessible.
Lauren Cuthbertson as ‘The Cellist’ managed to juxtapose incredible fluidity when her character was playing with a hint of awkwardness when not with her instrument. Her portrayal of Jacqueline’s affliction with MS was sensitive and credible. Marcelino Sambe as ‘The Instrument’ was remarkable – as capable an actor as a dancer, he offered the elevated role of a true musician’s instrument – an extension of Cuthbertson’s ‘Cellist’. Emma Lucano too deserves a mention for an immaculate and convincing performance as ‘The Cellist’ as a young girl.
This style of ballet may not appeal to everyone, but I personally love the storytelling. And in the case of The Cellist, a sublime score with excerpts from Schubert’s Trout Quintet, Fauré’s Cello Sonata and of course, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, is all beautifully tied together in a commissioned score by Philip Feeney, also makes for an excellent musical experience. So check out Friday Rush at the Royal Opera House and for less than the price of a cinema ticket you could be enjoying a ballet premiere at the Royal Opera House.
Dances at a Gathering and The Cellist runs until 4th March 2020 with tickets from £3.00
Evening performances on 18th, 25th and 28th February and on 2nd and 4th March at 7.30 pm.
There’s a live cinema relay on 25th February too – you can see the ballet screened live at cinemas across the UK. Check here to find your nearest location.
Royal Opera House
Bow Street, London,
If you prefer classical ballet, Onegin is also showing at the Royal Opera House until the end of February 2020