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Friedemann Vogel triumphs as Crown Prince Rudolf in "Mayerling"

Elisa Badenes and Friedemann Vogel as Baroness Mary Vetsera and Crown Prince Rudolf. Photo by Roman Novitzsky|Stuttgart Ballet

Elisa Badenes and Friedemann Vogel as Baroness Mary Vetsera and Crown Prince Rudolf. Photo by Roman Novitzsky|Stuttgart Ballet

“But there is no Mayerling without a Rudolf. Friedemann Vogel, one of the world’s finest male dancers, took on this mammoth role, the first of three Stuttgart Crown Princes. It now stands as a considerable achievement in his artistic maturity, such was the intelligence he brought to this complex and many-layered part. His Crown Prince was just that, a young man brought up to be Emperor, and his off-hand arrogance was portrayed with perhaps greater clarity than any other interpreter your critic has seen. Vogel cuts a handsome, elegant, noble figure and approaches the choreography with his usual purity of movement which makes his descent over the course of the ballet all the more tragic – some Rudolfs appear damaged and vulnerable from the start, but Vogel makes him almost dislikable and certainly the violence and casual humiliation of his bride Stephanie on their wedding night were uncomfortable to watch – this prince is not only used but relishes pushing his women around. He is a hugely strong partner, easily possessing the stamina to execute all seven major duets, yet still showing with care the way his character dances and acts differently with each of five women. Vogel charts Rudolf’s decay and disintegration with alarming verisimilitude, his drug taking produces blanks stares and zombie-like movement, his syphilis-induced blinding head-pain is sudden as it is shocking. Vogel will, no doubt, deepen his interpretation further, but it was, on first night, already the real deal, a performance to cherish.”

***** Classical Source on the Stuttgart Ballet premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s “Mayerling”