BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET presents the LONDON premiere performances of David Bintley’s THE PRINCE OF THE PAGODAS
The full-length ballet is one of the closing highlights of the world-wide Britten 100 celebrations
Britten’s only ballet score to be performed during the Britten 100 celebrations
Designs by Olivier award-winning and War Horse designer Rae Smith
Performances: London Coliseum Wednesday 26 – Saturday 29 March 2014 at 7.30pm (matinees Thursday 27 March at 2pm and Saturday 29 March at 2.30pm)
Tickets (on-sale Monday 22 July 2013) online or 020 7845 9300 or in person at The London Coliseum, St. Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4ES
Birmingham Royal Ballet will present the London premiere performances of David Bintley’s The Prince of The Pagodas at the London Coliseum from Wednesday 26 – Saturday 29 March 2014.
The Prince of the Pagodas choreographed by BRB Director David Bintley to Benjamin Britten’s only ballet score will be one of the closing highlights of the Britten 100 celebrations. The work is the only ballet to be performed as part of the year-long, world-wide dedications to the British composer Benjamin Britten. Bintley considered his version for over 30 years before his new production came to fruition.
Bintley created new choreography for The Prince of the Pagodas. It received its world premiere in Japan in October 2011, performed by National Ballet of Japan and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Past choreographic versions have been a three-act ballet created by John Cranko for The Royal Ballet in 1957. This was subsequently revisited and choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan in 1989. The production also played its part in reviving interest in Britten’s score.
When Bintley was asked why Pagodas, he instantly replied “the score”. He continued: “In 1979, shortly after the premiere of my second piece for Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (now BRB), Dame Ninette de Valois suggested to me that I listen to Benjamin Britten’s score for The Prince of the Pagodas. Unfortunately, a complete recording of the ballet wasn’t available at the time, but I got hold of the extended highlights, conducted by Britten, and found that I loved Britten’s score”.
When Bintley considered the story he revisited Cranko’s 1957 version. He said: “In the original there’s a Beauty and the Beast-type premise where a Princess falls in love with a Salamander, but there really isn’t a struggle towards love; there are very few romantic moments in the action…I thought it was far better to make it a different type of love story. Not a man for a woman, but a sister for a brother, and a father for a son – a love for the family”.
Bintley took a Japanese fairytale and combined the restructured plot with inspiration drawn from Kuniyoshi, one of the last great masters of Japanese ukiyo-e paintings. His inspiration continues with the use of the gestural language of Noh theatre in his choreography. Complementing Britten’s score, Bintley brings together British and Japanese culture and mythologies in this production.
Award-winning British designer Rae Smith brings The Prince of the Pagodas to life with her set and costume designs. Smith’s designs include War Horse at the National Theatre winning her an Olivier Award in 2008 and an Evening Standard Best Design Award in 2007. Bintley approached Smith after seeing her designs for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Pagodas marks Bintley’s first collaboration with Smith.
Accompanying BRB will be the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under the Musical Directorship of Koen Kessels.
The Prince of the Pagodas is supported (2014) by The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The John Feeney Charitable Trust, The Britten-Pears Foundation, The Patrick Trust and The Boltini Trust. Birmingham Royal Ballet is the only ballet company to receive a Britten-Pears Foundation Britten100 Award for the UK performances of The Prince of the Pagodas.