The Australian Ballet’s opening night of Sir Frederick Ashton’s double bill The Dream and Marguerite and Armand at the Sydney Opera House is an enchanting and emotionally gripping performance that leaves the audience spellbound and entertained. Bringing to life two of literature’s greatest love stories, this performance seamlessly blends the whimsical romance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the intense, tragic love affair depicted in Alexandre Dumas fils’ Marguerite and Armand.
At the beginning of the night, the audience is introduced to the intense and poignant world of Marguerite and Armand. The Australian premiere of this powerful ballet is a masterful tribute to the enduring nature of love, even in the face of societal constraints and tragic circumstances. Amy Harris and Nathan Brooks’s performances as Marguerite and Armand are breathtaking, evoking raw emotion and vulnerability. Set to the dramatic score by Frank Liszt, the ballet beautifully conveys the complexities of passion and sacrifice, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of all those in attendance. Sir Ashton – a renowned British ballet dancer and choreographer – created the ballet the ballet in 1963 and it was made famous by celebrated dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn.
As the evening unfolds, the audience settles into part two of Sir Ashton’s work – The Dream, a breathtaking interpretation of Shakespeare’s timeless classic. Principal Ako Kondo’s portrayal of Titania is nothing short of mesmerising, capturing the essence of the enchanting fairy queen with grace and ethereal beauty. Chengwu Guo’s portrayal of Oberon is equally compelling, displaying an impressive command over the stage that brings the mischievous spirit of the character to life. The seamless choreography and the intricate set design transport the audience into a realm of magical mayhem and unrequited love, leaving them captivated from start to finish.
Another notable presence on stage is Principal Brett Chynoweth as the playful and endearing, Puck. Chynoweth’s charismatic stage presence adds a touch of magic to the performance, as he embodies Puck’s mischievous spirit, leaving audiences enchanted by his captivating and lighthearted portrayal of this iconic Shakespearean character.
The seamless fusion of these two ballets, each portraying love in its various forms, showcases the Australian Ballet’s unparalleled artistry and commitment to delivering performances of the highest calibre. The intricate choreography, combined with the breathtaking performance of the talented cast, transports the audience on an emotional journey that also includes a few laughs along the way, particularly during The Dream. This captivating production not only pays homage to the timeless themes of love and sacrifice but also underscores the enduring power of ballet as a medium to evoke profound emotions and leave a lasting impact on its audience.
The Australian Ballet’s opening night of The Dream and Marguerite and Armand at the Sydney Opera House was a resounding success, leaving the audience awe-inspired and deeply moved by the sheer artistry and emotional depth of the performances. This observation was supported by comments made by members of the audience as we left the performance. It was an evening that celebrated the magic of love and the transformative power of the performing arts, no doubt leaving an unforgettable impression and an enjoyable night out for all those fortunate enough to witness this extraordinary display of talent and passion.
- Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House / Tubowgule
- When: 10 – 25 November 2023
- Purchase tickets here