After his century-long sleep, the irrepressible Harlequin is wide awake and ready to charm ballet lovers of all ages, as The Australian Ballet presents Harlequinade at the State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne from 17 June 2022.
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.
“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,” said Artistic Director, David Hallberg.
“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.”
Choreography: Marius Petipa | Featuring: Artists of The Australian Ballet, Orchestra Victoria | Staging and additional choreography: Alexei Ratmansky | Assisted by: Tatiana Ratmansky | Music: Riccardo Drigo | Costume and Set Design: Robert Perdziola | Lighting Design: Brad Fields | Inspiration: Orest Allegri and Ivan Vsevolozhsky
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 17 – 25 June 2022
For more information, visit: www.australianballet.com.au for details.
Image: Harlequinade – courtesy of The Australian Ballet