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Snow White – a dark contemporary ballet with costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier

March 15, 2018 Whats On No Comments Email Email

The Sydney Opera House today announced that France’s Ballet Preljocaj’s sinister and enthralling contemporary retelling of Snow White will make its Sydney debut in the renewed Joan Sutherland Theatre this June.

Hailed by audiences and critics alike for its vivid choreography and stunning beauty, the modern-day interpretation is a lush, full-length story ballet from celebrated French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj. The magnificent excess of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies – from the same era as the original tale – explode alongside an all-star roster of French collaborators including renowned artist Thierry Leproust (set design) and the legendary Haute Couture designer Jean Paul Gaultier (costumes).

Preljocaj conjures imagery from the Grimm Brothers’ original 19th century fairy tale, set around the innocence of a character with ‘skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony’ pitted against the envy, deceit and obsession of her stepmother Queen. Preljocaj’s Snow White had its Australian premiere season at QPAC as part of the 2016 Brisbane Festival and went on to collect the Helpmann Award for Best Ballet in 2017.

Sydney Opera House, Head of Contemporary Performance, Olivia Ansell said “Ballet Preljocaj is a world-renowned modern ballet company recognised for reinventing classic fairy tales. We are thrilled to present the Sydney premiere of Snow White from the esteemed, uncompromising choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and his French collaborators Leproust and Gaultier. This entrancing, theatrical interpretation is the first story ballet to be programmed by Sydney Opera House Presents in the newly reopened Joan Sutherland Theatre. It’s an exhilarating visual spectacle not to be missed.”

Photo credit: Jean-Claude Carbonne

Of his Snow White adaptation, Angelin Preljocaj said “I was very keen to tell a story, offer something magical and enchanted. I have followed the version by the Grimm Brothers, with just a few personal variations based on my own analysis of the symbols in the tale.”

“The wicked stepmother is without doubt the central character in the tale. She is the one who I examine through her narcissistic determination not to give up on seduction and her role as a woman, even if it means sacrificing her stepdaughter.” 

Born in Paris, Preljocaj studied classical ballet before turning to contemporary dance, eventually founding his own company in 1985. Since then he has created 50 choreographic works, ranging from solo to larger formations. Preljocaj regularly collaborates with other artists in various fields such as music (Goran Vejvoda, Air, Laurent Garnier, Granular Synthesis, Karlheinz Stockhausen), visual arts (Claude Lévêque, Subodh Gupta, Adel Abdessemed), design (Constance Guisset), fashion (Jean Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa), drawing (Enki Bilal) and literature (Pascal Quignard, Laurent Mauvignier).

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