Light of Passage Reviews – at Royal Opera House London ★★★★

Reviews are in for Light of Passage, which has now opened at the Royal Opera House in London.

Acclaimed Canadian Choreographer Crystal Pite returns to the Royal Opera House with a new programme of work which builds on her haunting and mesmerising 2017 Flight Pattern. Light of Passage, which comes in three parts, is about moving on, be it literally or metaphorically.

Flight Pattern was set to the first movement of Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, and now Pite has expanded the piece into a full-length work using the whole symphony. Rather than an extension of the original, it adds two companion pieces, all on the theme of passage – through places, time and life. In keeping with the sense in Pite’s work that these are real people on stage, the cast is multigenerational. 

Light of Passage plays until 3 November 2022 at the Royal Opera House, London.

Average Critics Rating

The Guardian

"Mesmerising moves from Crystal Pite"

"With shimmering music and a signature use of massed bodies, Pite transforms her acclaimed Flight Pattern into a full-length work"

"One of Pite’s signatures is the use of massed bodies in morphing shapes, like vertebrae curling and flexing, or a whole universe expanding and contracting. It’s a simple idea but it resonates, and has a gravitational pull that draws you in to mesmerising effect."

"The design and lighting for the second half, by Jay Gower Taylor and Tom Visser, is glorious: streaks and shafts and delicate veins of light in what looks like the heavens actually opening."

Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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The Times

"Refugee crisis inspires an eloquent, profound ballet"

"at 60 minutes of dance, plus interval — it must be one of the shortest nights we’ve seen on the Covent Garden stage, Light of Passage is also one of the most eloquent and profound."

Debra Craine, The Times
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The Independent

"Crystal Pite’s new work is haunting and powerful"

"Choreographer Crystal Pite can make dancers move like a murmuration of starlings, motion pulsing and rippling through a group of bodies. In Light of Passage, her new work for The Royal Ballet, those big blocks of movement evoke a community or a whole human society, from cradle to grave."

"One of the world’s most in-demand choreographers, the Canadian Pite is known both for her sharp works with speech and for her gift with massed movement. In both, she has a political edge, a concern for how people treat each other."

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The Stage

"Moving, articulate and beautifully choreographed expression of humanity"

"Flight Pattern remains a masterly work in its own right. Together, though, this trilogy of pieces presents an intricately choreographed expression of humanity."

"That theme continues through the new works for the programme, Covenant and Passage. Featuring six young dancers, Covenant is a short and beautifully understated piece. In the final piece, Passage, two elder performers join the company. It’s an eloquent, poignant expression of a perpetual cycle."

Rachel Elderkin, The Stage
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The Evening Standard

"Crystal Pite’s new work is deeply felt and long overdue"

"This ballet, expanded from the 2017 award-winner Flight Pattern, is tender and poetic"

"Does Light of Passage feel sentimental? Yes, a bit. But danced with luminous commitment it also makes a reflective and deeply felt meditation on navigating life at our most vulnerable. For the Royal Ballet, too, it’s a rite of passage."

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📷 Main photo: Madison Bailey and Calvin Richardson in ‘Light Of Passage' (Photo Tristram Kenton)

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