Tag Archives: Australian Ballet

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – THE AUSTRALIAN BALLET @ The Capitol Theatre

In 2011 Christopher Wheeldon created sustained narrative with ongoing character development, with his new classic ballet “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” a full-length work in three acts, for the Royal Ballet at The Royal Opera House in Bow Street, Covent Garden, London. I am forever grateful that The Australian Ballet has carefully re-created this amazing fast-paced spectacular ballet, using the best of the best Australian ballet dancers and some guest artists, and is now available for Sydney audiences for a very limited time, after first being seen by Melbourne audiences.

This is the must see ballet this decade, so much better to experience live on stage, rather than watching The Royal Ballet September 2011 dvd version.

Brilliant family friendly ballet entertainment, has been adapted from Lewis Carroll’s childrens’ book. Christopher Wheeldon‘s always inventive and breathtaking choreography created for each famous character, is meticulously and gracefully combined with colour co-ordinated eclectic costumes by Bob Crowley, together with captivating colourful set designs also by Bob Crowley, all are a standout, and the famous plot has been blended with a memorable and thought provoking music score by Joby Talbot that contributes resonant depth to each well-remembered character. Banks of moving spots are used to create everything from black/white checker board flooring through to swimming in an ocean of tears.

Fully animated 4K high definition, bright video projection delivered the immediate ability to suspend disbelief, as Alice is seen to tumble and to fall down the rabbit hole, and provides the “drink me” Alice shrinking experience and then the “eat me” Alice expanding sequence, complete with the changing sizes of the wall of doors of the room that she tries to escape from. Gigantic Alice trapped in an ultra-tiny room, is a magicians delight with its delicious false perspective.

The Red Queen of Hearts is extremely tall, and later becomes extremely tall and wider, soon heralding the sudden and unexpected appearance of the Red King of Hearts. The Red Queen soon delivered howls of laughter from the children in the first night audience, so many wonderful things happen, and always suitable for all ages.

The captivating performance delivered by the tap-dancing Mad Hatter, drew applause from the well entertained audience. The full sized Cheshire Cat easily generated oohhs and aahhs from all, as did the brilliant full sized Caterpillar.

This Australian Ballet production, again and again, has absolutely perfect mises-en-scène optimally visualised for each and every complex scene, where the combination of choosing the perfect cast for each role, and every element of the set design and costumes and music soundtrack, have joined together to create a unique and very original ballet experience. Highly recommended.

Conductor: Nicolette Fraillon
Alice: Ako Kondo
Jack/The Knave of Hearts: Ty King-Wall
Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit: Adam Bull
Mother/Queen of Hearts: Amy Harris
Father/King of Hearts: Steven Heathcote (Guest Artist)
Magician/Mad Hatter: Kevin Jackson
Raj/Caterpillar: Jarryd Madden
Duchess: Ben Davis
Wonderland Characters: Artists of The Australian Ballet and supernumeries.
Choreography Christopher Wheeldon
Music Joby Talbot orchestrated by Christopher Austin and Joby Talbot
 Scenario Nicholas Wright
 Set and costume design Bob Crowley
 Lighting design Natasha Katz
 Animated Projection designs Jon Driscoll and Gemma Carrington
 Puppet concept and design Toby Olié
 Magic consultant Paul Kieve
 With Opera Australia Orchestra in Sydney
 With Orchestra Victoria in Melbourne
Congratulations to Valerie Tereshchenko, who just received the 2017 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award, and also to Jake Mangakahia, who took out the People’s Choice Award. 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland© was commissioned and first performed by The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland© is a co-production of The Australian Ballet and The National Ballet of Japan.
The Kenneth R Reed Fund generously supports the re-creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland© for The Australian Ballet.

ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND is playing 5-22 December 2017 at The Capitol Theatre, Haymarket, Sydney.

https://australianballet.com.au/the-ballets/alices-adventures-in-wonderland – – –

https://australianballet.com.au/the-ballets/alices-adventures-in-wonderland/#buy-tickets/2305 – – –

Photography by Johan Persson. All images depict the Artists of The Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland©. © ROH, 2013.


 

The Dancer’s Company @ IPAC

Inset  pic- Cristiano Martino and Benedicte Bemet in Swan Lake. Featured pic- Artists of the Dance Company in Paquita. Pic by Frank Monger
Inset pic- Cristiano Martino and Benedicte Bemet in Swan Lake. Featured pic- Artists of the Dance Company in Paquita. Pic by Frank Monger

THE DANCERS COMPANY ballet drew a crowd of first-timers at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre (IPAC) last weekend. The audience bustled excitedly with aspiring ballerinas, regular IPAC attendees, families, school groups and many first time ballet goers. It wasn’t just the audience either – for many of the cast members, this is their first touring performance.

THE DANCERS COMPANY is an annual show by The Australian Ballet that tours regional New South Wales and Victoria, starring guest artists and graduating students from The Australian Ballet School. This year, the show presents a classical triple-bill of intensely talented dancers that, either by incident or design, seem to be free of the prestige and sense of elitism that is often associated with traditional ballet.   Continue reading The Dancer’s Company @ IPAC

The Australian Ballet in The Dream @ The Joan Sutherland Theatre Sydney Opera House

TheAust-BMonoAAAAn alternative title for this programme might be  ‘Three Ashton Masterpieces’. Here were three landmark works by the great British choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton including the Australian Ballet premiere of ‘ Symphonic Variations’.

First on the bill was the elegant, sculptural and, at times, very demanding ‘Monotones 11’ for a trio of dancers in very revealing long sleeved white unitards and bejewelled caps. It was full of Ashton’s trademark line, shimmering simplicity and refined abstraction, – distilled cool, pure movement.

Satie’s languid yet passionate music pulses and ripples – are the dancers alien beings ? snow? feathers ? They float through the music in Ashton’s acrobatic , at times very difficult ,choreography. At times I caught allusions to his ‘Les Patineurs’ and also possibly Balanchine. Continue reading The Australian Ballet in The Dream @ The Joan Sutherland Theatre Sydney Opera House

The Australian Ballet in Giselle

Giselle-inset
Production photos by Jeff Busby

 

   

 

This was a long anticipated opening night– in the presence of the Prime Minister Mr Abbott– that will be long remembered. The Australian Ballet was in peak form and Madeleine Eastoe and Kevin Jackson delivered exceptional performances .

The performance is a revival of the 1986 Maina Gielgud version  of GISELLE that has been in the Australian Ballet’s repertoire ever since. First performed in 1841 GISELLE is now regarded as one of the major Romantic ballets. The ballet tells a story of  disguise, intrigue, young love, broken hearts and deception. Not forgetting the impact of the eerie, sinister Wilis who appear in Act 2-a group of supernatural women whose thing is to dance men to their deaths- determined on revenge. Continue reading The Australian Ballet in Giselle

Irina Baronova and the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo

irina-5-769x1024
The great Russian ballerina Irina.Baronova who toured Australia with the Covent Garden Russian Ballet and spent the last years of her life in a charming home in Byron Bay

‘It gives me personally a lot of satisfaction to feel that my work helped introduce audiences to ballet and made them like it . So there is a piece of me in all the companies that have since sprung up.The work was not in vain. I have achieved something not just for myself but for the Art that I love and for the future generations of youngsters coming after me ‘,  Irina Baronova.

This is a medium to large, exquisitely illustrated book with luminous, lavish photos,– some of which stop you in your tracks. Other photographs are fun holiday and family snaps. It is a delightful companion to Baronova’s original autobiography. Continue reading Irina Baronova and the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo

The Australian Ballet – Behind The Scenes Of Swan Lake

Under the intent eye of Steven Heathcote the Australian Ballet took us behind the scenes of this famous production.

The curtain rose and Heathcote loomed out of the darkness and introduced himself. For many years a much loved principal dancer with the Company, he is now a ballet master.

Casually dressed in tshirt and trousers, Heathcote explained the daily hard grind of class, rehearsal and performance that make up  a dancer’s life.

The fluorescent worklights were on and the barres had already been shifted but it must have been a bit awkward for the dancers as the large circular ‘pond’ from the production was left in place and took up quite a bit of space. Continue reading The Australian Ballet – Behind The Scenes Of Swan Lake

Behind the Scenes with the Australian Ballet

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE AUSTRALIAN BALLET Swan Lake
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE AUSTRALIAN BALLET Swan Lake

Suitable for ages 10 and above we will get a fascinating, privileged insider’s look and exclusive access into the world of an elite dancer. We’ll observe morning class on stage – a daily ritual for all the dancers of The Australian Ballet – and this year, for the first time ever, we’ll sit in on private coaching as a principal dancer prepares for their role. Raw, beautiful and full of insights – this is a unique, behind-the-scenes look at what it really takes to prepare for a performance. Don’t miss this special in-theatre experience .                  

Continue reading Behind the Scenes with the Australian Ballet

2014 Sydney Arts Guide Stage & Screen Awards

Bell Shakespeare's WINTERS TALE  2014 winner - Best stage production
Bell Shakespeare’s WINTERS TALE  2014 winner – Best stage production

 

Sydney Arts Guide is a key part of stage and film culture, and exists to celebrate the art of performance, in theatres and cinemas.

2014 was a year of amazing diversity, and our twenty accredited specialist reviewers, were all spoiled for choice in the quality of the live theatre performances to be experienced in the City of Sydney, and the suburbs of Sydney.

As the old adage goes, “live theatre is not dead theatre, as there is a different performance to be experienced every night”. Our team of professional reviewers, have each nominated their personal preferences for both theatre and cinema. A small number of movies were nominated out of the hundreds of cinema films that were seen during the last twelve months.

At the end of another outstanding year for the arts in Sydney, on Wednesday 31st December 2014, Sydney Arts Guide announced its 2014 awards in these Stage and Screen categories:-

Continue reading 2014 Sydney Arts Guide Stage & Screen Awards

LA SYLPHIDE (AUSTRALIAN BALLET)

LA SYLPHIDE

The Australian Ballet’s latest classical offering is a double bill with works from the Romantic era, La Sylphide from 1836 and Paquita,1847. The “grand pas de deux” from Paquita opens the program with electric vibrancy. It is an exciting extract from the original full length work, with principal dancers Lana Jones and Kevin Jackson showcasing their extraordinary technical abilities. Jackson has a dynamic hold of the stage, with magnetic presence and a strapping physique that is undeniably exquisite. Jones’ confidence is spellbinding, and puts on a riveting performance that thrills with its sheer beauty.

In La Sylphide, the story of a Scottish farmer who falls in love with a forest spirit is brought to life with some of the most stunning set and lighting design seen on the Australian stage. The sense of ethereality they produce is seductive, and the fantasy the audience craves is magically rendered so that we are transported through time and space.

Vivienne Wong is memorable as the farmer’s fiancee, impressing with her dancing as well as acting abilities. Madeleine Eastoe is the Sylph, creating lines and movement that are delightful and almost supernatural in their delicacy and lightness, but the slightness of her frame does mean that she can at times, be obscured by the vastness of the production. Daniel Gaudiello as the farmer James is handsome and strong (physically and technically), and every bit the leading man of fairy tales but requires a small dose of artistic hubris to be even more compelling.

Modern lives are increasingly mundane. Technology encourages us to retreat and evolve into beings more and more insular and impassive. Witnessing the dancers of our national ballet company is a reminder of the human capacities at achieving unfathomable heights of beauty and athleticism. Like all great artists, they bring to us the great gift of inspiration that uplifts us from our daily lives; as we stop to smell the roses at the theatre, and realise the potential each ordinary day may hold.

The Australian Ballet’s LA SYLPHIDE is playing the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House until Monday November 25.

(This review was originally published in Suzy Wrong’s performing arts blog:-  www.suzygoessee.com).