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Tan Rui
2005-12-30 09:50

The immortal love story of the Lady of the Camellias in the 19th century will be retold on Beijing stage in a graceful incarnation by dancers from the Northern Ballet Theatre. Acclaimed as one of the UK's most successful touring dance companies, noted for narrative and accessible full evening works, the company will perform its own interpretation of the classic La Traviata, during its China tour in Beijing (January 25, 26, 27), Shanghai and Hangzhou in 2006.

First told in Alexandre Dumas novel Fils' in 1848, the story was immortalized in Verdi's operatic adaptation, La Traviata, in 1853 and continues to inspire, from the 1930s film Camille starring Greta Garbo to Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor as the doomed lovers.

The Northern Ballet Theatre uses the touching plot to transport viewers to the decadent society of Parisian highlife in the 1800s where the young and naive nobleman, Armand, falls madly in love with the beautiful courtesan, Marguerite. Their love affair is one of the most passionate stories of all time but is doomed from the start because of Marguerite's dismal past, which eventually destroys the only real love she will ever know.

The three-act-six-chapter dance, danced at Verdi's classical music began in 2005 and was praised by the UK media as "the most romantic stage work in Britain in 2005."

South African choreographer, Veronica Paeper, re-stages her elegant and touching interpretation of La Traviata with fluid choreography and craftsmanship providing a memorable two-hour dance feast for the audience.

The stage sets and costumes were designed by the award winning production designer, Peter Cazalet, who vividly recreates the luxury of the 19th century bourgeois Parisian. Cazalet was invited to re-create stunning sets and costumes that go hand in hand with Verdi's wonderfully moving score to manifest the heartrending portrayal of intimate family tensions and the devastating pain of love.

The Northern Ballet Theatre was founded in 1969 by Canadian born Laverne Meyer, a dramatic dancer whose formative years were spent with the Bristol based, Western Theatre Ballet, the first ever British dance company to be based outside London. Since its first performance in 1969 it has evolved into one of the world's top ballet troupes thanks in part to the endeavours of the third artistic director, Christopher Gable.

The current Artistic Director David Nixon, who joined the company in 2001, revitalized the company's training programme and persists on presenting dances based on classic works like La Traviata, a dramatic heartbreaker. You are advised to take a handkerchief with you.

Venue: Tianqiao Theatre

Time/date: 7:30 pm, January 25, 26, 27

Ticket number: 6551-6930, 6551-6906

(China Daily 12/30/2005 page5)


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