BBC Two celebrates Darcey Bussell with live performance from Royal Opera House
Darcey Bussell, Britain's favourite ballerina, steps down as a Royal Ballet Principal Guest Artist in June this year following a 20-year career with the company.
In celebration of her unique talent, artistry and popularity, BBC Two will broadcast Darcey Bussell's Farewell: Live – a special 90-minute programme from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on Friday 8 June 2007 at 9pm.
It features exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with friends and colleagues, and performance highlights spanning her remarkable career, culminating in Darcey's final performance with The Royal Ballet in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Song Of The Earth.
Martha Kearny is joined by Jonathan Cope, Darcey's dance partner for many years, to present live coverage from the Royal Opera House.
Jonathan will be talking to Darcey backstage as she prepares for her final performance and Martha will be interviewing friends and colleagues who will give their own insights into just what makes Darcey so special as a dancer.
They include soprano Katherine Jenkins, the Director of the Royal Ballet, Monica Mason, dancers Carlos Acosta and Gary Avis and chef Ainsley Harriott.
Documentary footage will cover Darcey's career as Britain's prima ballerina and include highlights from an outstandingly successful 20-year career – featuring her performance in Sir Frederick Ashton's classic Sylvia, the contrasting worlds of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Elite Syncopations and The Prince Of The Pagodas and her success in modern dance represented by Christopher Wheeldon's Tryst in which she is partnered by Jonathan Cope.
The programme ends with Darcey's live performance in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Song Of The Earth. This powerful ballet is choreographed to Mahler's great Song Cycle and has been chosen by Darcey as the work with which she wishes to bring her Royal Ballet career to a close.
Barry Wordsworth, Royal Ballet Music Director, conducts the Orchestra at the Royal Opera House in this, the concluding programme of The Royal Ballet's 2006/7 season.
Peter Maniura, BBC Head of Classical Music Television, says: "Darcey Bussell is special – she's delighted and thrilled dance fans over 20 years and brought the art form she loves to a much broader public.
"This celebratory programme demonstrates both the breadth and the brilliance of her artistry and gives all of us the opportunity to see her farewell performance at the Royal Opera House – it promises to be an exceptional evening."
Darcey Bussell's Farewell: Live, Friday 8 June 2007, 9pm, BBC Two