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Press Release / BRB presents Bintley's 'THE PRINCE OF THE PAGODAS' / London Coliseum / March2014 and tour dates‏


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Media release: Friday 19 July 2013


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 and Saturday 29 March)


Tickets (on-sale from Monday 22 July 2013): www.eno.org 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 theBritten 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 fairy-tale 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.  


 ENDS


 


Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Prince of the Pagodas UK tour dates:


The Lowry, Salford: Thurs 30 Jan – Sat 1 February 2014 (on sale date tba)


Birmingham Hippodrome: Tue 25 February – Sat 1 March 2014 (now on sale)


Plymouth Theatre Royal: Wed 19 – Sat 22 March 2014 (on sale date tba)


London Coliseum: Wed 26 – Sat 29 March 2014 (on sale from Monday 22 July 2013)  


Edited by Janet McNulty
Edited to correct Lowry Dates
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I love the score for this and although I am a fan of the RB's version, I feel uncomfortable with the scene where the princess gets slapped about by one of the princes.  Will be looking forward to this Bintley version.

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Since booking has now opened for the Coliseum season, I went to their website to check the prices and discovered that they are only selling stalls, dress circle and upper circle tickets.  I called to find out why and was told that they want to fill the lower areas of the house first - i.e. they will only open the balcony if these areas sell well.  I presume this is because performances of the visiting companies in July have not sold well and the balcony has had to be closed for most of them.  They have clearly taken this into account.  Not good news for those of us who don't like the Upper Circle!

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I think this had to happen, apart from the huge loss of money involved in moving people down to the Upper and Dress Circles, the Coliseum staff must be sick and tired of all the extra work.

 

I've looked and some of the prices are lower than usual for BRB, they have to be or they will lose some of their regular ballergoers, I think you can get into the back of the Upper Circle for £15, but I too don't like it, the last 2 occasions I was moved down I had to change seats to get a decent view!

 

In fact many is the time I've sworn never to go to the Coliseum again but I always relent!

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I'm afraid the Upper Circle has never been the same since they refurbished the Coliseum.

 

That's a great shame, because if I'm to sit there at all it has to be by booking late on the day of performance so I can be relatively sure of being able to get the necessary legroom.  By which time, of course, other options may have appealed more.

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I've been moved down once, at a performance of the opera Castor and Pollux when I was asked where I was sitting on entering the lift, when I showed my balcony ticket it was promptly exchanged for one in the dress circle.  I'm told it happens a lot, possibly because it is such a huge house to fill.

 

Although I didn't see the Copelia, I'm reliably told the place was near empty and it doesn't take much thought to realize that flooding London with visiting ballet companies this year (at ROH and SW too remember) stretches finances a great deal and those like myself who try to get to all the visitors, have to be a bit selective.

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Since booking has now opened for the Coliseum season, I went to their website to check the prices and discovered that they are only selling stalls, dress circle and upper circle tickets.  I called to find out why and was told that they want to fill the lower areas of the house first - i.e. they will only open the balcony if these areas sell well.  I presume this is because performances of the visiting companies in July have not sold well and the balcony has had to be closed for most of them.  They have clearly taken this into account.  Not good news for those of us who don't like the Upper Circle!

 

 

I think the above is actually a rather poor trend.  The ENO and BRB are both SUBSTANTIALLY subsidized companies and, as such, have as their current core agreement a demand that they off 'as wide an access as possible.  The removal of the balcony signals a break in both Companies dedication to this remit to my mind.  I think it is crucial the balcony be kept open at ALL COSTS - allowing people to have another layer of available prices - one available to ALL (which surely is ultimately what access is about - if I read the ACE drift correctly).  If the ENO deems it is most prudent to close the balcony to thereby save their own house staff costs then so be it.  That should, however, be a last minute option, not a planned distraction.  I am most pleased that the ENB are not following in these footsteps.  Perhaps BRB are feeling that Pagodas will have only limited appeal as it is.  This is not, IMHO, the healthiest way to go.  I feel certainly that the optimum access should be ensured.  Do they close the balcony from the get go in Birmingham?  Where did the passion of building audiences go.  If you have empty seats as the last moment, give them away say I so at least you are building for your future ... and getting the word out.  A dark balcony is but a silent loss. 

 

As to the number of guest companies coming into London this summer, I think the great influx (a wonderful thing as far as I'm concerned) was in part due to last year's Olympics when a forecast of doom was read out for that time period in advance and many venues had active use restrictions due to this specific observation.  I think it may well have been prudent.  The wonderful Boston Ballet season struggled with the two final matinees I think in part because of the Wimbledon finals (first women, then men).   

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Meunier, the Barbican Theatre (which I think is also subsidised, or is that all from the Corporation of London?) frequently appears to keep the upper two tiers unavailable, for dance events at least, until the stalls and circle are well sold.  And the Birmingham Hippodrome has only stalls and circle itself. 

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  The removal of the balcony signals a break in both Companies dedication to this remit to my mind.  I think it is crucial the balcony be kept open at ALL COSTS - allowing people to have another layer of available prices - one available to ALL (which surely is ultimately what access is about - if I read the ACE drift correctly). 

 

As Beryl says above, the seats in the rear upper circle and in the side upper circle down to row H are priced at £15.  The Box Office clerk I spoke to yesterday told me that, if the balcony were to be reopened at some time in the future, this would be the price of tickets there. If the information he had was correct, the balcony would not therefore provide another layer of prices.

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Thank you, Bluebird. I usually buy the restricted view seats in row B of the Coliseum Balcony.  I am old and on a fixed income that seems ever diminishing aside the disappearing savings rates which now dive alongside this government's determination to destroy the long established operation practices/traditions of UK retail banks.  Those seats are usually (always?) at a lesser price for those willing to put up with the inconvenience of the interrupting bar much as I stand in the Amphi at the ROH.  I fear for the lack of another level of availability ... but then I remember my long ago youth and standing places at 40 pence.  I would have missed so many of those magnificent performances by Olivier and others at the Old Vic - or certainly seen them far fewer times than I did - had it not been for that. Still, I lived in an age where my mother forbade television.  'Mind rot' she said.  Of course she was born at a time when there was only radio.  With all of the affordable and multi-option media these days for young people times are very different indeed.   That's probably a good thing (he says writing on the internet)   :) .    

Edited by Meunier
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This is interesting, and unfortunate for me as I usually sit in the balcony at the Coliseum. I wonder whose decision it is to close the balcony for these performances: the company's or the Coliseum's. I agree that London has been flooded with ballet this season which has probably resulted in ticket sales being spread more thinly across more companies. I don't know whether the Coliseum has any direct interest in ticket sales or whether it just charges 'rent' for the hire of the venue. I feel that it must be the latter otherwise its marketing of the visiting companies would surely be much better. Of course, poor ticket sales (and poor marketing by the Coliseum) will discourage those companies from returning. I wonder whether any overseas companies will come to the Coliseum next season.

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