The Australian Ballet presents Harlequinade
In 1900, the master choreographer Marius Petipa – whose works include Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote and La Bayadère – created Harlequinade, a sweet-hearted romp based on commedia dell’arte characters, for the Tsar and Tsarina.
Alexei Ratmansky, former director of the Bolshoi Ballet, has deeply immersed himself in the works of Petipa, producing meticulously researched revivals. Through intensive study of the Harlequinade notation held at Harvard University, he has breathed new life into this cheeky, bubbly ballet.
Harlequin and Columbine are in love, but her father, who wants her to marry a rich older man, has her locked up by his loyal servant, Pierrot. 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.
Robert Perdziola’s extravagant, colour-saturated design for Harlequinade’s cast of thousands is based on his study of the original sets and costumes. The music is by Riccardo Drigo, a close collaborator of Tchaikovsky’s, who arranged the score for Swan Lake.
After his century-long sleep, the irrepressible Harlequin is wide awake and ready to charm ballet lovers of all ages in this Melbourne-exclusive season.