The Prince of the Pagodas, ballet review: 'A feast for the senses'
The Lowry, Salford
Paul Vallely is visiting professor in Public Ethics at the University of Chester and a senior research fellow at the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester. He writes on ethical, political and cultural issues. He has a fortnightly column in the Independent on Sunday and also writes for the New York Times and the Church Times. His latest book is Pope Francis – Untying the Knots. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.
Monday 03 February 2014
This is one not to miss. David Bintley’s sumptuous production of Britten’s ballet The Prince of the Pagodas is a feast for the senses.
Bintley has transplanted the setting to Japan after the acclaim for Bintley’s Aladdin there.
Indeed this production was first performed in Tokyo by the National Ballet of Japan. In this British premiere Birmingham Royal Ballet members were augmented by dancers from Japan and China.
Rae Smith’s stylised oriental sets take the breath away. Her stylish and sophisticated costumes conjure magic moods and accentuate flow and movement. The contoured leotard of the Salamaner Prince perfectly set off a sinous and sensuous snaking performance by William Bracewell.
Bintley’s choreography shimmies beautifully between the creative and the classic in imaginative scenes of earth, water, fire and air. His delightfully fey sea-horses move with aplomb and his Balinese ladies with a deft and nimble humour.
Jenna Roberts dances with an easy deceptive grace as the princess while Samara Downs epitomises the glamour of evil as a seductive Empress. James Barton is versatile and engaging as the court fool. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia supported admirably.
It plays next in Birmingham, Plymouth and then at the Colisuem in London.
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