Australia’s Queensland Ballet is set to debut the Olivier and Evening Standard award winning production of ‘La Sylphide’ at the London Coliseum from 4–8 August 2015. Over 30 years since it first captivated the capital’s audiences, the legendary production of August Bournonville’s ‘La Sylphide’ will return to London, performed by the internationally acclaimed Australia’s Queensland Ballet in their London debut.
Schaufuss’ La Sylphide premiered in London in 1979 and has been seen by millions around the world. The production was captured by an award-winning BBC production for TV, whilst a number of leading ballet companies have presented Schaufuss’ provocative interpretation of the Danish classic to widespread critical acclaim. It is one of the world’s oldest remaining ballets, one which paved the way for romantic ballets with its tragic story that has fascinated audiences since the early 19th century. La Sylphide tells the story of a young man who encounters an ethereal sylph on the eve of his wedding: in the pursuit of the seemingly attainable true love and happiness, he abandons everything, including his bride-to-be and ventures into the unknown.
The London debut of Queensland Ballet – Australia’s premier ballet company – is under the direction of international former dancer and author Li Cunxin, known for his bestselling book and movie “Mao’s Last Dancer”. Herman von Løvenskjold’s buoyant score will be performed by a live orchestra led by prominent British conductor Andrew Mogrelia during the 2015 London season. La Sylphide has always evoked strong responses and excited audiences since its very first performance back in 1836 and is set to again in the capital next year with the spectacular and evocative ballet.
Queensland Ballet has announced an exclusive season coming up for dance fans in Australia by obtaining two very current stars, each in their own respects, for new work in the coming year for the company. Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet will be staged and will star Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta for the season which will run from 27 June to 5 July 2014. This is fantastic for the company and a huge achievement for Queensland Ballet’s artistic director, Li Cunxin.
Financially speaking, the season will be supported by the Queensland Government’s new Super Star Fund that will invest $3 million over four years to support local performing arts companies in engaging with internationally renowned artists. As a hugely supportive concept, it seems that Australian dance companies can continue in this vein in developing their work and engaging with overseas stars in renowned and iconic works. For Queensland Ballet, the season will take place at the Lyric Theatre at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and will be presented with sets and costumes from the Birmingham Royal Ballet production back in the UK.
MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet is widely considered the best in the world, despite being rarely seen outside of the UK. The work has never been performed in Australia so it is indeed a huge coup (as Li Cunxin states) for Queensland Ballet to secure the exclusive production and perform alongside two of the world’s great ballet dancers.
It is rather fitting that Queensland Ballet be granted this season by the government, in Li Cunxin’s own journey to Australia. Beginning his training in China and later releasing his autobiographical novel Mao’s Last Dancer detailing his childhood and subsequent ballet life, it seems Li Cunxin has also been smiled upon by ballet gods, being able to journey overseas and relish in his ballet career despite the strict Communist regime back in his homeland.