ABC TV now has a stunning selection of The Australian Ballet’s favourite performances available to stream free on iview for a limited time.
The Merry Widow
The Merry Widow is a lively tale of love, money and class, played out against the glitter and opulence of the Belle Epoque. View here
Set in Roman times, this production by Lucas Jervies follows the exploits of Spartacus, the rebellious leader of a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. View here
Warumuk – in the dark night
A collaboration between Bangarra Dance Theatre and The Australian Ballet, Warumuk – in the dark night takes its inspiration from traditional Aboriginal stories. View here
A sparkling tale of magic and mischief, Coppélia has everything a good story ballet should: enchantment, romance and sumptuous costumes. View here
Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella has all the elements of the story we love – a feisty heroine, a dashing prince, a kindly godmother and a wicked stepmother. View here
With lavish sets and costumes, this David McAllister ballet casts a spell of delight all the way to true love’s kiss. View here
Wayne McGregor’s Dyad 1929 tests the limits of classical movement in a laboratory-white set, and features an electrifying score by Steve Reich. View here
Choreography by Marius Petipa, Paquita is full of spectacular turns, extravagant tutus, exuberant leaps and delicate footwork. View here
Romeo & Juliet
Graeme Murphy’s Romeo & Juliet captures the implacable hate of rival families, the joy and tenderness of first love and the poignancy of its end. View here
La Sylphide is a ballet that tells the tale of a Scottish dreamer who is fascinated by a woodland sprite and spurns his fiancée to follow her. View here
TAKE YOUR VIRTUAL SEAT AT THE BALLET
Can’t attend the next Ballet? In a different city? Ballet fans across the world can now get virtual front-row seats to the live-streamed performances by The Australian Ballet.
After the successful launch of Live on Ballet TV earlier in the year during Summertime at the Ballet, The Australian Ballet have just announced David Hallberg’s inaugural season will be available to stream and share across the globe.
Over the coming months, see the live-streamed performances of New York Dialects, Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet and Harlequinade from the comfort of your own home and enjoy bonus commentary from David Hallberg, plus live interviews and behind the scenes footage.
Tickets to individual ballets are just $25 each, or for even better value buy a season package of all four ballets for only $80.
New York Dialects | 11 June
New York Dialects unveils a new work by the American contemporary choreographer Pam Tanowitz – alongside two acclaimed masterworks, Serenade and The Four Temperaments, from George Balanchine.
Watch in real time at 7.15pm AEST Friday 11 June, or at your convenience until 5.30pm AEST Sunday 13 June.
Anna Karenina | 24 June
Leo Tolstoy’s immortal novel comes to life in this epic ballet of cinematic proportions. Heartbreak, tragedy, love, lust and betrayal are all at the centre of Anna Karenina’s undoing.
Watch in real time at 7.15pm AEST Thursday 24 June, or at your convenience until 5.30pm AEST Saturday 26 June.
Romeo and Juliet | 2 September
Experience the timeless and heart breaking classic Romeo and Juliet. John Cranko’s epic version of Shakespeare’s most heart-rending love story reaches new heights under Artistic Director, David Hallberg.
Watch in real time at 7.15pm AEST Thursday 2 September, or at your convenience until 5.30pm AEST Saturday 4 September.
Harlequinade | 16 September
Created over a century ago but lost to history, Harlequinade is a long-lost comedy from the creator of Swan Lake. Bursting with colour, madcap characters and hilarious hijinks, Alexei Ratmansky’s staging of Marius Petipa’s Harlequinade is the perfect family treat.
Watch in real time at 7.15pm AEST Thursday 16 September, or at your convenience until 5.30pm AEST Saturday 18 September.
Once upon a time, the people of the world looked to costumes as the dictators of fashion trends. It’s hard to believe that the extravagant gowns and accessories could be adapted in everyday life, however, in 1907, the fashion of “The Merry Widow” crossed into the mainstream consciousness.
Ever heard of a Merry Widow hat?
The operetta premiered on Broadway in 1907, in a time where women sported a tailored, hour-glass figure with a flowing skirt. However, the heroine, Hanna Glawari, contrasted the simplistic, natural look with a large, circular hat, covered in swathes of gauzy chiffon and white ostrich feathers.
If you are under the impression that this hat is a little bit extravagant, you may be interested to learn that it is fairly understated in comparison to the “trendy hats” it inspired.
There was no mistaking it- The Merry Widow created a cultural phenomenon of hat-wearing, with these hats becoming a symbol of wealth and class. The base widths of the hats varied, with most usually stretching to 45cm, however, there was no restrictions in the height of the hats. Although Ostrich feathers complemented the look nicely, the hats were also decorated with flowers, and sometimes sprinkled with a couple stuffed birds.
A parody post card of “The Merry Widow Hat” c.1908
The hats grew to be a sign of class and wealth.
Lily Elsie, the original Hanna, in a “Merry Widow Hat”
Hats aside, The Merry Widow and the composer, Franz Lehár, became a global phenomenon internationally, travelling from Austria to the UK, and even to Broadway in the US. Bearing in mind the difficultly in touring productions in the eras before air travel, it is quite remarkable how the show was able to migrate into various countries, languages and cultures, yet still leave a lasting cultural imprint. For example, it is believed that Lehár’s storyline in The Merry Widow sparked a new demand for Viennese Waltz Operas in the States over the next decade. Moreover, Lehár’s work also paved the way for a new wave of Viennese Operettas, which would centre two constantly battling lovers who would hide their feelings from the other, until, they reveal their attraction in the last scene.
It’s remarkable how this story has been continually shared over the last 100 years. The Australian Ballet’s most recent adaptation is a great spectacle of talent, colour and intricate design. However, once you learn of the quirky backstory of this ballet, so many small details in the costuming, such as the odd Ostrich feather here and there, are suddenly highlighted in your eye.
Hanna’s Famous Hat, Adam Bull and Amber Scott (Jeff Busby)
A VIRTUAL NIGHT AT THE BALLET
GRAEME MURPHY’S SWAN LAKE
In recognition of your ongoing support of The Friends of The Australian Ballet we invite you and your household to join us for
The Australian Ballet’s inaugural online event, A Virtual Night at the Ballet.
You will be treated to a live and interactive pre-performance talk with creator Graeme Murphy AO where we will explore his legendary production of
Swan Lake, followed by a screening of the performance via The Australian Ballet’s Ballet TV.
Thursday 2 July
7pm Pre-Performance Talk and Q&A
Hosted by Brooke Lockett with Special Guest Graeme Murphy AO
7.30pm Swan Lake
Your finest video conference attire
RSVP by Monday 29 June
Event access details will be emailed to guests at 5pm Thursday 2 July.