A long-lost comedy from the creator of Swan Lake



A lively love story based on commedia dell’arte, Harlequinade was created in 1900 by Marius Petipa, who choreographed some of classical ballet’s most enduring works, including Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Working with the original notation of Petipa’s choreography, Alexei Ratmansky, former director of the Bolshoi Ballet and artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre, has produced a loving and humorous revival.

Harlequin and Columbine are in love, but her father, who wants her to marry a rich buffoon, 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 in marriage.

The melodic, lilting score is by Riccardo Drigo, a close collaborator of Tchaikovsky’s; the sets and costumes were created by Robert Perdziola, based on a close study of the 1900 originals, which are held at a museum in St Petersburg.

After his century-long sleep, the irrepressible Harlequin is wide awake and ready to charm ballet lovers of all ages.

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.”

Live Stream: 24 June 2022

Joy reigns supreme in Ratmansky’s new Harlequinade


The antics of Harlequinade, featuring Petipa's inventive choreography and deft humour.

Artists of American Ballet Theatre. Photography by Erin Baiano, Rosalie O’Connor and Mary Sohl


Choreography Marius Petipa
Staging and additional choreography Alexei Ratmansky
Assisted by Tatiana Ratmansky
Music Riccardo Drigo
Costume and set design 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.

Harlequinade is generously supported by The Margaret Ellen Pidgeon Fund, the Melba Alma Cromack Fund and the K. M. Christensen & A. E. Bond Bequest. 

Direct from Arts Centre Melbourne to your living room on June 24

Stream Harlequinade LIVE on Ballet TV