Shakespeare’s fascinating late work The Winter’s Tale has always defied classification. With elements of tragedy, comedy and romance mingling and running up against one another in an often-complicated story of jealousy, love, vindictiveness and redemption, audiences have never been quite sure how to define this moving, mysterious and ultimately tender creation. A “problem” play it may be, but most people are content to simply accept and cherish it for what it is—a great human drama.
Christopher Wheeldon, in his ballet version of the play, shies away from neither the story’s thematic complexities nor the radical and often conflicting shifts in tone that make it the bold and unique work that it is. Working again with designer Bob Crowley and composer Joby Talbot, the same key creative team who gave us the unforgettable Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Mr. Wheeldon embraces the full range of the play’s emotional life, lavishing some of his most inventive and exuberant choreography to date on the rich and captivating characters that populate Shakespeare’s beguiling narrative.
A ballet alert in every scene to the ambiguities and contradictions that both shape and confound our lives, The Winter’s Tale is a profound and searching drama of love and redemption and the spring that lies beneath even the darkest of days.
“★★★★/4 An operatically epic Shakespearean ballet… a spectacular work that will stand the test of time… packed with inventive steps and spectacular scenic effects” Toronto Star
“With brutal choreography and dramatic intelligence, Christopher Wheeldon has turned Shakespeare’s problem play into a mind-snagging ballet.” —The New Yorker
“It takes us on a great arc of emotion and experience, capturing the play’s themes of death and regeneration, hostility and reconciliation... nothing in Mr. Wheeldon’s [The Winter’s Tale] is unworthy of the great original.” —The New York Times
All casting subject to change.
The Winter's Tale Primer
by Karen Kain
Interview with Christopher Wheeldon
A Tale of Two Kingdoms by Mark Monahan
Christopher Wheeldon and Joby Talbot
Silk Effects Design:
Lead philanthropic support for The Winter's Tale is provided by The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Richard M. Ivey, C.C., an anonymous friend of the National Ballet and The Producers' Circle.
The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, David W. Binet, Susanne Boyce & Brendan Mullen, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin & Roger Garland, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Rosamond Ivey, Hal Jackman Foundation, Anna McCowan-Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Judith & Robert Lawrie, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., Lynda & Jonas Prince, Susan Scace & Arthur Scace, C.M., Q.C., Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan, Sandra Simpson and Noreen Taylor, C.M. & David Staines, C.M., O.Ont.
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