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This is a rare full length work from the Royal Ballet and the adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale is certainly an ambitious choice. The first act has a lot of plot lines to get through and the movement is more truncated as such. It sets a dark and suspenseful tone along with dramatic sets such as a long staircase and towering arches. The second act is sumptuous and colourful with a shimmering tree of life as a backdrop and great ensemble work. As the action now set in more exotic land, the music has a folksy element to it. The third act is more thoughtful but packs an emotional punch which moves me to tears.

The music is tuneful and a joy to listen to. It generally reminds me of the music of the video game franchise Final Fantasy.  The movements and choreography makes it possible to tell a dramatic and moving story. And importantly, it has a clear narrative that gives it  a strong engagement with the audience. This is certainly the best ballet production I have seen.

Picture: © ROH / Johan Persson, 2014

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