The Australian Ballet: Harlequinade – Traditional Melbourne

Harlequinade is a confectionary delight.  The frilly units and costumes created by Robert Perdziola, based mostly on a detailed examine of the 1900 originals, are dazzling.  Perdziola designs the ornate costumes with a mixture of Parisian model and classical ballet aesthetic.  The intense color pallet of costume, lighting and set is breathtaking and attracts within the viewers instantly.  There was a collective gasp as the ornamental curtain rose on the extravagant scene.

Initially choreographed by Marius Petipa in 1900, Harlequinade relies on scenes from the Italian commedia dell’arte story. This manufacturing was reworked from Petipa’s unique notes by famend Russian choreographer and dance artist Alexei Ratmansky.  The vigorous, uplifting rating is by Italian-born, Russian-based conductor and composer Riccardo Drigo, who had been a frequent collaborator of Tchaikovsky’s.  One 12 months after Tchaikovsky’s demise in 1893, Drigo was granted permission to musically rework the rating to Swan Lake for the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow.  Shortly afterwards, he started work on his personal unique rating, which led to the creation of the ballet Harlequinade.

The narrative is a romantic comedy centered round six principal characters: Harlequin (Brett Chynoweth), Columbine (Benedicte Bemet), her father Cassandre (Steven Heathcote), a devoted servant named Pierrot (Callum Linnane), his useful spouse Pierrette (Sharni Spencer) and Léandre (Timothy Coleman), a rich love-interest who Columbine’s father desires her to marry.  And a statuesque Good Fairy (Ingrid Gow), carrying a number of the manufacturing’s most jaw-dropping costumes, is thrown in for magical measure.  The plotline is busy with slapstick Charlie Chaplain-like bodily comedy.  It’s farcical and mischievous with simple laughs.  Trying past the amusing narrative, Harlequinade is a platform for virtuosic strikes.  The choreography is conventional and presentational with placing Russian people dance included into a number of the bigger ensemble groupings.  It’s fluid and musical with an air of lightness and gaiety.

Petipa’s preliminary ballet was known as Les hundreds of thousands d’Arlequin and expanded on the love story between two inventory characters, Columbine/Ballerina and Harlequin, from Act 1 of his ballet The Nutcracker.  These acquainted characters characterize the perfect female in Columbine and a cheeky grasp of ceremonies in Harlequin.  It’s no marvel the swish ballerina falls for Harlequin; together with his playful vitality he dotes on her each transfer.  Chynoweth was fully dedicated to the character and couldn’t have been higher forged. His performing had a dramatic aptitude that stored the viewers invested in his nonsensical adventures. He really engaged the viewers all through the ballet together with his entertaining pantomime.  Act 1 is a confectionary rush of spirited characters and motion crammed subplot, whereas Act 2 is a extra refined showcasing of subtle choreography.  Chynoweth was each bit a showman, mastering the demanding strikes within the grand pas de deux along with being an completed actor. His manèges jumps encircling the stage reached a suspended ballon that magnified his flexibility and defiance of gravity.  He elegantly executed all of his turns and seamlessly maneuvered his ballerina by many intricate lifts.  For her half Bemet was flawless.  She fluttered her arms and ft like somewhat chook demanding consideration.  Her balances on pointe have been held, her consecutive fouetté turns clear, hops on pointe easy, and her demeanor gracious and beneficiant.  Bemet and Chynoweth have been completely matched with attraction, vitality and connectedness.

Additional charms of Act 2 included 32 younger scholar dancers gathered from numerous colleges round Victoria. Their unison was spectacular, including to the collective great thing about the ballroom scene.  The corporate dancers executed Petipa’s deceptively troublesome choreography with nice precision and bodily prowess.  The finale felt full and satisfying with its crescendo of music and elaborate dancing.  Whereas final week’s performances of the highly-praised up to date ballet Kunstkamer have been dense with uncooked emotion and high-pitched physicality, Harlequinade is a pleasant palette cleanser to brighten your mid-winter blues. What a deal with it’s for the Australian Ballet to have such a various repertoire.

Harlequinade continues its run this weekend by Saturday 25 June.  There’s a live-stream accessible Friday 24 June.

Picture credit score Jeff Busby.


Paris Wages reviewed “Harlequinade”, carried out by The Australian Ballet at Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre on June 17, 2022.