Royal Ballet coming to Shanghai

Updated: 2014-06-29 07:48

By Zhang Kun(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

 Royal Ballet coming to Shanghai

The Royal Ballet will make its international debut performance of their new production Don Quixote at Shanghai Grand Theater. Photos Provided to China Daily

 Royal Ballet coming to Shanghai

Production designer Tim Hatley has created a dynamic staging.

Britain's world-renowned troupe will make its international debut performance of Don Quixote. Zhang Kun reports.

England's soccer team may not have performed well at the FIFA World Cup, but its Royal Ballet is among the best in the world.

"It's widely known as one of the top 10 ballet companies globally, but if you list the top three, the Royal Ballet of Britain will still be on it," says Zhang Xiaoding, general manager of Shanghai Grand Theater.

The Royal Ballet will make its international debut performance of their new production Don Quixote at Shanghai Grand Theater from July 3 to 5. Four performances will be held, including one matinee. "You will find each of the three groups of leading dancers have their own merits. It is a challenge to pick a show you want to see," Zhang says.

All of the world's top 10 ballet companies have performed in Shanghai, and audiences "are not lowering their expectations", Zhang says.

Don Quixote is the Royal Ballet's latest creation of the new season, directed by Carlos Acosta, who was a principal dancer at the company before turning to choreography and directing work.

"The experience made him more familiar with the dancers' potential. Every generation of artists in a fine ballet company has to make sure the classical program has new reasons to attract audiences in his or her time," Zhang says.

Acosta described his Don Quixote as a "feel-good ballet", as well as a vehicle for technical display. "Everything is over the top and satiric," says Acosta, 40, of Cuba. "The dancing isn't just happening on the stage floor but also on top of tables, on wagons and all sorts of places. I was eager to keep the ghost of the classical tradition but at the same time I wanted to explore deeper into what we can do today."

Royal Ballet coming to Shanghai

Production designer Tim Hatley "has created a brilliantly dynamic staging - it's almost like the scenery is dancing with us".

The ballet was inspired by the Spanish novel by Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. Martin Yates, the music director of the show, will conduct the Shanghai Opera House Symphony and play music by Ludwig Minkus. The Russian composer wrote the original score in the 19th century, and Yates re-orchestrated it for the new production.

The Royal Ballet was founded in 1931 and granted a royal charter in 1956, becoming Britain's flagship national ballet company. The troupe made its first tour in Shanghai in 1983. A performance of The Sleeping Beauty was given accompanied by the Shanghai Ballet Symphony Orchestra.

Qian Shijin, an artistic adviser for Shanghai Grand Theater, was a violinist in the symphony when the Royal Ballet gave its first performance in Shanghai. "We were all so excited about the Royal Ballet's visit," he recalls.

When Shanghai Grand Theater opened in 1998, Qian tried his best to bring in the Royal Ballet, and succeeded the following year. The troupe's most recent visit was in 2008, when they performed L'histoire de Manon.

Contact the writer at

(China Daily 06/29/2014 page9)