After his century-long sleep, the irrepressible Harlequin is wide awake and ready to charm ballet lovers of all ages.
The 19th-century choreographer Marius Petipa made classical ballet’s most enduring works, including Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Alexei Ratmansky, former director of the Bolshoi Ballet and artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre, has immersed himself in the original notation of Petipa’s oeuvre, producing meticulously researched revivals. His latest is the 1900 ballet Harlequinade, a lively romp based on commedia dell’arte.
Harlequin and Columbine are in love, but her father, who wants her to marry a rich older man, has her locked up by Pierrot, his loyal servant. Pierrot’s wife, sympathetic to the young couple, helps her escape, and a Good Fairy gives Harlequin a magical slap stick that helps him triumph over the odds and win Columbine’s hand.
The melodic, lilting score is by Riccardo Drigo, who held the post of conductor and composer at St Petersburg’s Imperial Ballet for 20 years. A close collaborator of Tchaikovsky’s, he conducted the premiere of The Sleeping Beauty.
Robert Perdziola, who created the sets and costumes for Harlequinade, studied the originals, which are held in a St Petersburg museum. They directly inspired Harlequin's bright diamond-patterned tights, Columbine's dove-grey and pink tutu and Pierrot's woefully floppy sleeves.
David's insight …
“At American Ballet Theatre in New York, Alexei Ratmansky and I brought the sad, languid clown Pierrot to life through the notations of Petipa’s ballet. To resurrect from the archives a ballet by one of dance’s greatest creators was something I cherished, and I look forward to passing the experience on to the artists who will perform the role here in Australia.”
Joy reigns supreme in Ratmansky’s new HarlequinadeObserver
The antics of Harlequinade, featuring Petipa's inventive choreography and deft humour.Artists of American Ballet Theatre. Photography Erin Baiano, Rosalie O’Connor and Mary Sohl
Choreography Marius Petipa
Staging and additional choreography Alexei Ratmansky
Assisted by Tatiana Ratmansky
Music Riccardo Drigo
Scenery and costume designs Robert Perdziola inspired by Orest Allegri and Ivan Vsevolozhsky
Lighting design Brad Fields
With Orchestra Victoria
Harlequinade is a co-production of American Ballet Theatre and The Australian Ballet.
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