"The Winter's Tale"
The National Ballet of Canada
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
November 14, 2015
by Denise Sum
copyright © 2015 by Denise Sum
The National Ballet of Canada opened its 2015-2016 season with the North American premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's "The Winter's Tale", a co-production with The Royal Ballet. The company is certainly looking to hone its dramatic skills with five full-length narrative works and only one mixed program this season. Coming off of the runaway success of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", Wheeldon has once again collaborated with composer Joby Talbot, costume and set designer Bob Crowley, and lighting designer Natasha Katz. There was much anticipation on opening night and the talented creative team behind "The Winter's Tale" and NBoC artists delivered something new and noteworthy. With one of Shakespeare's "problem plays" as the primary source, this is no small feat. Wheeldon wisely chose a clear angle from which to focus the narrative, and did away with secondary stories or details that might confuse or clutter, reducing the play's five acts to three. The ballet centers on the experience of King Leontes of Sicilia, from his intense suspicions of the Queen's infidelity to his harsh mistreatment of her and ultimate remorse. This production addresses themes of doubt, grief, redemption and forgiveness while straddling the delicate line between tragedy and comedy.
Hannah Fischer and Piotr Stanczyk in "The Winter's Tale". Photo © Karolina Kuras.