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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)


This 15 minute ballet is a solo created by Thick & Tight for James Hay, First Soloist with The Royal Ballet. The work takes inspiration from the life of the composer Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893) and the ‘Letter Scene’ from his opera Onegin.


Tchaikovsky is celebrated as one of the world’s greatest composers and his music has become inseparable from the romance and expressive freedom of ballet. Like many others before and since, however, the fact that he was queer meant that he had to stay secret about who he really was and was unable to live freely.


The ‘Letter Scene’ is widely regarded as Tchaikovsky’s way of speaking through his music of his passions, fears and desires, expressed through the character of Tatiana.


The music and the dancing should help audiences to understand who Pyotr was, and why it’s so important that people of all sexualities and genders can live openly wherever they are in the world.


Commisioned by the Royal Ballet's Learning & Participation Team

Supported by Arts Council England


Photos by Jon Archdeacon

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