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Peter and the Wolf/Tales of Beatrix Potter review at Royal Opera House London

Two charming animal ballets make up this Christmas mixed bill at the Royal Opera House – one junior version showcasing the younger students of the White Lodge, and one performed by the Royal Ballet Company.

Matthew Hart’s Peter and the Wolf is a simple symphonic tale for children, with orchestral parts reflecting the characters of the story in a cubist composition with rich strings. Combining music, dance, costume and speech, the delightful musical narrative is complimented by Will Kemp (who plays the role of Grandfather) in spoken word. The RBS youngsters are delightful, from the energetically strutting duck to the wispy meadows. Chisato Katsura in particular is outstanding in the role of the Cat, and is a certain ballet star of the future.

As many children retire after the first short act, the rest of the audience marvels at the gorgeous costumes of Beatrix Potter (masks by Rostislav Doboujinsky). The characteristics of the dancers are enhanced by their outward appearance as much as the choreography – the lickety-split footwork of the field mice, the male pigs trotting around en pointe, a high-leaping highlight Mr Jeremy Fisher (Kenta Kura), a smooth, gliding Fox (Gary Avis) with wrist-flourishes a-plenty or his prey, the ditzy, flapping Jemima Puddleduck (Samantha Raine).

The lilting crescendos and beautiful drifting melodies combine to tell the story of each scene, creating a visual spectacle and an aural feast that’ll tide you over until Christmas day.

Production Information

Royal Opera House, London, December 14-18

Composers
Sergey Prokofiev/John Lanchberry
Choreography
Matthew Hart/Frederick Ashton
Producer
Royal Ballet
Cast includes
Chisato Katsura, Jonathan Howells, Kenta Kura, Johannes Stepanek, Jose Martin, Samantha Raine, Gary Avis
Running time
2hrs 15mins

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