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  1. The Australian Ballet's 2019 season has undergone a revision. It was announced today (on Facebook and Instagram) that due to "unexpected health concerns of choreographer Graeme Murphy" the anticipated The Happy Prince would be postponed into 2020. Céline Gittens, Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal, is guesting with the company in the Wheeldon Alice as the Queen of Hearts; she is currently in Melbourne but no announcement has been made as to whether she is performing in Brisbane or Melbourne. 2019 now looks like this: Brisbane 25 Feb - 2 Mar: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Wheeldon) Melbourne 9-28 Mar: Cinderella (Ratmansky) - replaces The Happy Prince Sydney 5-25 Apr: Verve mixed bill - Constant Variants (Baynes), Aurum (Topp), Filigree and Shadow (Harbour) Sydney 1-18 May: Giselle (Gielgud after everybody else) - replaces The Happy Prince Melbourne 8-22 Jun: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Wheeldon) Melbourne 27 Jun - 6 Jul: Les Ballets de Monte Carlo with Lac (Maillot) while Australian Ballet is in Paris Melbourne 31 Aug - 10 Sep: Sylvia (Welch) Melbourne 17-28 Sep: The Nutcracker (Wright) minus Hans-Peter Adelaide 8-12 Oct: The Nutcracker (Wright) minus Hans-Peter Sydney 8-23 Nov: Sylvia (Welch) Sydney 30 Nov - 18 Dec: The Nutcracker (Wright) minus Hans-Peter
  2. Murphy. The Murphy in question is Graeme Murphy, who, together with his wife and creative associate, Janet Vernon, is perhaps the most influential Australian choreographer of the last 50 years. This production is a celebration of those 50 years, 31 of which saw him leading what became the Sydney Dance Company and establishing its presence as an internationally respected contemporary dance company. No evening can pay adequate respect to all aspects of Murphy's career, so Murphy focuses on extracts (mainly) from works originally created on/for the SDC, together with his full length Firebird, created in 2009 for the Australian Ballet. Extracts from well-known narrative works, such as Swan Lake and Nutcracker -The Story of Clara, being part of the current repertoire, are not included. Of the five extracts, or rather four extracts and one full length ballet which made up the first part of the program, I most enjoyed Air and Other Invisible Forces, which showed influences, particularly in the positioning of hands and feet, from the classical dance traditions of Thailand and Cambodia. Also Sheherazade, a beautifully sensuous ballet showing Murphy's interest in integrating dance and music on stage. Mezzo Soprano Victoria Lambourne sang Ravel's score on stage. For me, Firebird was the standout of the evening. While Murphy remained faithful to the original arc of the narrative, the action was entirely reconceived. On a stage dominated by a huge broken egg, Kostchei, in the form of a snake, and wonderfully danced by Brett Chynoweth, emerges from another half shell. Lana Jones was an unforgettable firebird, fierce, afraid, avenging. The narrative unfolds as it did in Fokine's original, the Tsarevich liberating the Tsarevna and her companions with the help of the Firebird. Kostchei is not however, completely defated, and as all are celebrating their rebirth, he shoots out from the broken egg, offering the Tsarevna an apple. Murphy's signature moves, his use of interesting lifts and unusual (for ballet) combinations of dancers made the evening, for me as a comparatively new ballet-watcher, an unforgettable one.
  3. Wasn't sure at all that I would like the new direction story wise, aside from the clunky prologue, very much enjoyed and worth a visit. Music reworked in places to fit the new story of a princess bride losing her husband to his other love, black swan solo music brought forward to the first act to show her demise into madness, music from the lake making its first entrance at the end of act 1 as she is taken away to the sanitorium. Pas de trois incredibly emotive - bringing to life the realisation that there were 3 people in the marriage. Beautiful costumes, flowed in sync with the dancing and wedding dress of billowing fabric negotiated incredibly well by the dancers. Swan costumes looked feathery soft and light. Incredible costumes, wedding dress of billowing fabric - negotiated incredibly well by the dancers. Magical swan scene, beautiful staging, raised 'lake' at one point gave the impression that the swans had taken to the air. Faultless corps de ballet as both white swans and black swans in act 4. Amber Scott gave Odette elegance as well as emotional highs and lows with every movement. Didn't really understand the audience going wild for Adam Bull's performance - more so because male choreography overall was a little underwhelming.
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