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Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House, July 2012
Nominated for South Bank Sky Arts Award 2013
Turner Prize Artists Team with Royal Ballet For Olympiad Event Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 is set to pair Turner Prize artists with Royal Ballet choreographers for National Gallery ROH collaboration for the Cultural Olympiad.
In Machina, the curtain rises on shrouded grey-black mystery. The music is Nico Muhly's, a plangent Renaissance pastiche. Through gauze, you can just make out two silhouetted figures, and, little by little, something hard-edged. This turns out to be artist Conrad Shawcross's robot, mounted on a steel tripod, its articulated, horsey neck topped by a long proboscis like a magic wand. Gaps in the music betray its wheezing whir as the robot stealthily draws shapes in the air, suggesting the busy hand of Titian as well as Diana's disrobing, though in the foreground Tamara Rojo and Leanne Benjamin also obliquely share that role. The choreographers Wayne McGregor and Kim Brandstrup are chalk and cheese, but in tandem each one's defining qualities soften and merge. Carlos Acosta is rather wasted on his floorbound steps, but Edward Watson is extraordinary in his bonelessness. The robot's moves, meanwhile, are put through the same choreographic process. It's transfixing.
Jenny Gilbert, Independent on Sunday