“High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince…”
Oscar Wilde’s lyrical story of a statue who gives his all to help humanity is full of poetic beauty, sly humour and sharp social commentary. In 2020 Graeme Murphy, who created The Australian Ballet’s acclaimed modern interpretations of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, turns his flair for transformative storytelling to Wilde’s moving tale.
Murphy's distinctive choreographic style will animate the golden Prince, his loyal friend the Swallow, the seductive Reed – and bring a particularly Aussie flavour to Wilde's happy ending.
This all-Australian premiere will feature a specially commissioned score from the renowned composer Christopher Gordon, who wrote the scores for the films Mao’s Last Dancer and Master and Commander, alongside the work of award-winning artist and director Kim Carpenter, who adapted the story and created the colourful design for the ballet.
Playful and poignant, The Happy Prince will capture children’s imagination with its vivid spectacle and adults’ attention with its timely message: a kind heart shines brighter than gold.
Australia’s most brilliant choreographer ... we’ve always basked in the light he casts.The Daily Telegraph
Kim Carpenter's bright designs fit on the dancers' bodies like illustrations made real.Callum Linnane. Photography Kate Longley / Designs by Kim Carpenter
Based on the story by Oscar Wilde
Adapted by Kim Carpenter and Graeme Murphy
Choreography Graeme Murphy
Creative Associate Janet Vernon
Composer Christopher Gordon
Set and costume design Kim Carpenter
Lighting design Damien Cooper
Projection design Fabian Astore
With Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australian Orchestra
The Happy Prince is generously supported by The Robert and Elizabeth Albert Music Fund, The Dame Margaret Scott Fund for Choreographers and the Barry Kay Memorial Scholarship.
We thank Kim Carpenter’s Theatre of Image for supporting the creation of The Happy Prince.
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Murphy constantly surprises, not just choreographically but also in the way he manipulates classic storiesThe Sydney Morning Herald