|Fabulous frocks and dashing aristocrats abound
in this frothy production of a much-loved classic,
set to take audiences into the magical world of
The Merry Widow.After an absence of over ten years, Sir Robert Helpmann and Ronald Hynd’s effervescent production returns in 2011 in celebration of The Australian Ballet’s history.
The Merry Widow opens in Sydney on 10 November 2011 for 20 performances at the Sydney Opera House.
Created by Helpmann and Hynd in 1975,
The Merry Widow was the first full-length production ever created for The Australian Ballet and heralded the arrival of Australian ballet to the global dance community.
It has since come to life on the world stage, performed by companies such American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet and most recently, Joffrey Ballet.
Last staged by The Australian Ballet in 2000,
The Merry Widow is one of the most performed ballets in the company’s history, having clocked up an impressive 370 performances in the 36 years since it was created.
The original Danilo, John Meehan, joined The Australian Ballet to assist in restaging The Merry Widow. Now Director of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre in New York, this role was created on Meehan in 1975 when he was a principal artist with The Australian Ballet.
Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet,
David McAllister, says this ballet is an audience favourite for good reason.
“The Merry Widow for us illustrates our coming of age; it’s where we consolidated our influences and really put an Australian spin on ballet”, explains McAllister.
“It’s such a fun production – both to watch and to dance – and there’s always a gasp when Hanna comes down the stairs looking radiant and ready
to save Pontevedro with her newly acquired
wealth, not to mention all the romance and
intrigue that ensues.”
Based on Franz Lehár’s 1905 operetta of the same name, The Merry Widow tells the tale of a Balkan state, Pontevedro, on the brink of bankruptcy and the scheming Baron with a plan to save the country from ruin.
From embassy ballrooms to villa gardens and Parisian cafes, plans are foiled, feuds erupt and lovers reunite as the future of Pontevedro lies in the hands of the Merry Widow.