OBSIDIAN TRIPLE | London, Royal Opera House

Wayne MacGregor’s Obsidian Tear (2016) works in response to Salonen’s orchestral piece Nyx, and violin solo Lachen valernt, but there’s no goddess of night on stage. An all-male ensemble, shirtless and bound in black, pulsate erratically against the lone dancer in red. A mix of psychotic and homoerotic, the red figure is thrown into a pit of fire, and things fall apart: thrilling and unpredictable.

Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand (1963), inspired by Dumas’ La Dame aux Camélias, presents a tragic courtly love story in miniature. 54-year-old prima ballerina Alessandra Ferri is — astoundingly — heartbreaking and utterly believable as naive, love-struck young Marguerite. With effortless en pointe and achingly smooth form, Ferri lifts this classical, cliché narrative into a thing of real beauty.

Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations (1974) features a cast of dozens in fluorescent spandex, dancing to the music of Scott Joplin played by a small, ragtime ensemble on-stage. The highlight of the dozen rags is the “Alaskan Rag” duet between poised and elegant Melissa Hamilton and idiot clown Paul Kay, constantly dropping her and messing up the choreography to hilarious slapstick effect.

The dancing by all is, as ever, world class, and the orchestra too; with particular mention to the enormous violin solo (Vasko Vassilev) and piano solo (Robert Clark). A remarkable way to celebrate these three resident choreographers of The Royal Ballet, in an incredibly diverse, virtuosic triple bill.

Until 11 May 2018. Tickets from £4.

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