English National Ballet Fouette @ The Festival
Last week, in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, English National Ballet performed for The Queen at the Coronation Festival Gala. The Festival was organised by the Royal Warrant Holders Association, whose members supply goods or services to The Queen, her husband or her eldest son.
The Queen’s Coronation Festival Gala
Spectacular evening of Music & Dance held in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace
On 11th July 2013 The Gardens of Buckingham Palace were host to the Royal Preview of the Coronation Festival Gala – the first of three magnificent Gala performances being held to commemorate the 60th anniversary year of The Queen’s Coronation.
Guests were treated to a spectacular display of music and dance to encapsulate the Festival’s themes of excellence and innovation in a celebration of the past 60 years of Performing Arts.
BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth and choirmaster and broadcaster Gareth Malone co-hosted the evening performance and led the audience through a wondrous musical journey across Britain and the Commonwealth since HM The Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
Hosted by The Royal Warrant Holders Association, the Galas form part of the Coronation Festival – a unique public event being held from the 11th-14th July to celebrate the very best of UK Plc. The Coronation Festival Gala is being held across three nights for an audience of 6,000 guests per evening thanks to the Coronation Festival’s main event Partners, Jaguar Land Rover, GlaxoSmithKline, and Bentley each hosting one of the three evenings.
- The Fanfare Trumpeters from the Household Division opened the Gala evening before Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, one of the most beloved international sopranos and a mentor to young artists, took to the stage to sing The National Anthem.
- The National Youth Orchestra and The Bach Choir then performed ‘Zadok the Priest’ Handel’s iconic Coronation anthem to ignite the evening’s festivities with a look back to the momentous occasion when The Queen was crowned and heralded the new era of innovation and cultural achievement.
- Rising young soprano Laura Wright sang moving traditional ballad ‘A Red, Red Rose’ – a pledge of love, devotion and tenderness, with the National Youth Orchestra.
- Her Majesty’s special and enduring relationship with The Commonwealth was celebrated in a specially commissioned performance: The Coronation Festival Commission: Family Tree. Celebrating this rich heritage in a spectacular riot of movement and colour, it brought together over 70 young dancers from East London Dance, choreographed by Jeanefer Jean-Charles, and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures who featured courtesy of Big Dance. Featuring the composition ‘One Day’ by Johnny Kalsi, music was performed by the thrilling and visceral Dhol Foundation drummers and presented by WOMAD.
- A beautiful duet from two emerging stars of the opera world from the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation – Louise Adler and Phillip Rhodes – then brought a sense of romance to the occasion as they performed ‘Là ci darem la mano’ from Mozarts Don Giovanni with the National Youth Orchestra.
- ‘A Trifle Too Far! The Great Musical Cook-Off’ – young performers from the Sylvia Young Theatre School then performed a lively medley of popular West End musicals celebrating the creativity of everyday British life tenderly skewered in an original story about competitive cooking! Featuring music from Sweeny Todd, On the Town, Mary Poppins and Chicago amongst others.
- Special guest artist Katie Melua performed a brand new commissioned piece written by Mike Batt called ‘I Will Be There’ with the National Youth Orchestra. Written by Mike for his Mother, the song, while describing his Mother, obliquely and indirectly references Her Majesty – making the point that a strong supportive maternal figure can be an incredible force.
- Another special commission created by Matthew Bourne and choreographed by Drew McOnie ‘Style on Screen’ then took to the stage. Performed by Matthew’s extraordinary company New Adventures, the fantastic dance-theatre segment celebrated Modern British style crossing from Carnaby Street to Saville Row championing some of Britain’s most iconic films from the Avengers to James Bond via some well-known cinematic soundtracks, climaxing in a vocal performance by special guest singing artist Scarlett Strallen.
- ‘Generations: A British Pop Music Journey’ was performed by chart-topping band The Feeling with special guests Beverley Knight and Dominic West who celebrated music of the Commonwealth and Britain’s unique leadership role in pop music since the 1960’s, taking the audience through their versions of some of the most loved and iconic songs of recent times.
- The English National Ballet premiered a new short commission ‘Tempus’ which explored the theme of constancy amidst change, choreographed by English National Ballet rising star George Williamson with new music by Christopher Mayo. Leading fashion designer Julien Macdonald OBE created some beautiful bespoke costumes for the dancers decorated in Swarovski crystals that dazzled under the lights.
- Grammy Award winning composer & conductor Eric Whitacre performed ‘Bliss’ along with his Virtual Choir, Hila Plitmann, the Bach Choir and the National Youth Orchestra. His awe-inspiring Virtual Choir brings together global social media with music making in the digital age. Premiering his latest piece of work with characteristic innovation and spectacle the audience were given an exciting glimpse of the future for collaboration and performance.
- Two national treasures then took to the stage. Firstly, the UK’s best-selling classical artist Russell Watson performing ‘A Celebration in Song’ with the National Youth Orchestra – a special repertoire to commemorate the historic occasion.
- Then one of the biggest names in classical music Katherine Jenkins took to the stage to perform a very special repertoire in honour of the event
- The Grand Finale was performed by Welsh rising stars Only Boys Aloud with Katherine Jenkins with others from the cast joining and the National Youth Orchestra. The moving finale paid a fitting theatrical tribute to Her Majesty and the tremendous cultural vitality of this Elizabethan age and led the Gala to a fitting and triumphant conclusion.
The Galas form part of the four-day Coronation Festival – a one-off event hosted by the Royal Warrant Holders Association – that is bringing together over 200 companies awarded the prestigious Royal Warrant of Appointment. Visitors to the day time event are able to explore and enjoy the Gardens which feature four areas showcasing the very best of Food & Drink, Design & Technology, Homes & Gardens and Style, Pursuits & Pastimes. As well as offering an array of shopping and sampling opportunities, there are interactive features, including a 400-seat cat-walk and live cooking demonstrations – to educate and inspire.
Highlights of the Gala were broadcast in a special programme ‘The Queen’s Coronation Festival Gala’ on BBC One on Saturday 13th July at x and a live broadcast on BBC Radio Two on Friday 12th July at 7.30pm.
The Royal Preview for the Coronation Festival Gala was held on Thursday evening on a balmy summers evening for invited guests only.
During the day the Royal Warrant Holders had displayed their wares, dotted across the gardens of Buckingham Palace, showcasing everything from Hunter wellies to Penhaligon’s perfume.
English National Ballet’s dancers were : Esteban Berlanga, Daria Klimentová, Vadim Muntagirov, Fernanda Oliveira, Zhanat Atymtayev, Bridgett Zehr, Ken Saruhashi, Ksenia Ovsyanick and Junor Souza. Their costumes were designed by Julien Macdonald OBE, covered in crystals and designed to dazzle.
The event was sold out long before it opened, across several days last weekend. It’s the first (and we’re told, last) time that the Gardens of the Palace have been used in this way, showcasing the best of British business.
Hosted by the BBC’s Sophie Raworth and Gareth Malone, the Gala included performances from Katie Melua, who sang a hauntingly beautiful song by Mike Batt, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson and English Youth Ballet, as well as English National Ballet.
With Her Majesty The Queen in attendance, along with members of her family and the Middleton’s in the Royal Box, the gathered audience settled into the gathering dusk with champagne and expectation.
Read more about the Coronation Festival and enjoy the photography.