Tamara Rojo in Raymonda act3. © Foteini Christofilopoulou

English National Ballet Philharmonic say thank you to NHS with virtual rendition of Raymonda

English National Ballet Philharmonic have joined together for a virtual rendition of an extract from Alexander Glazunov’s Raymonda to say thank you to the NHS for the vital work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic.  Recorded from the musician’s homes under the virtual baton of English National Ballet Music Director, Gavin Sutherland, this is the second online rendition from the orchestra following the release of a Swan Lake extract last month. English National Ballet premieres a new version of the classic story ballet Raymonda, directed and choreographed by Artistic Director Tamara Rojo (after Marius Petipa), in Autumn 2020. Rojo’s adaptation takes inspiration from the ground-breaking spirit of Florence Nightingale, in this her bicentennial year, recasting the character of Raymonda as a young woman with a calling to become a nurse.

Gavin Sutherland said: “The legendary Florence Nightingale dedicated her entire life to the nursing profession, and so with Tamara’s adaptation in mind, music from Raymonda felt like the perfect choice for expressing our gratitude to the amazing NHS staff for all their hard work in these challenging times”.

England, 1854. Raymonda runs away from her comfortable life to become a nurse in the Crimean War. There, she becomes engaged to a soldier, John, but soon develops feelings for his friend Abdur, a leader of the Ottoman army. As turmoil grows around and inside her, who will she give her heart to? Taking inspiration from the ground-breaking spirit of Florence Nightingale and the women who supported the war effort in Crimea, Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, creates a new version of the classic story ballet, Raymonda. This adaptation keeps the best of the 19th-century original – its glorious and sensuous score by Alexander Glazunov and the classical choreography of ballet genius Marius Petipa – and updates it with a dramatic new story, introducing a heroine in command of her own destiny. The original Raymonda is very rarely performed in the UK, where no dance company performs it in its entirety. This new version marks Tamara Rojo’s first foray into directing and choreographing, building on her illustrious career as dancer and artistic director.

A co-production between English National Ballet and Finnish National Ballet

Tamara Rojo in Raymonda act3. © Foteini Christofilopoulou