Choreography CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON
Music Director ANTON GRISHANIN
Set and Costume Design BOB CROWLEY
Lighting Design NATASHA KATZ
Video Design DANIEL BRODIE
Libretto by CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON and JOBY TALBOT after the play of the same name by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
The Winter's Tale is a ballet in three acts choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon to a commissioned score by Joby Talbot. With scenery and costumes designed by Bob Crowley, lighting designed by Natasha Katz, and special stage effects designed by Daniel Brodie and Basil Twist, it was a co-production of the Royal Ballet and the National Ballet of Canadaand was first presented at the Royal Opera House, London, on 10 April 2014.
Wheeldon's ballet is a dance version of William Shakespeare's play The Winter's Tale (1609-1611), considered by scholars one of his "problem plays," difficult to classify as tragedy, comedy, romance, or a combination of all three. The first three of its five acts are filled with intense psychological drama; the last two are lighthearted and comedic, concluding with a happy ending. It tells a complicated story of jealousy, loss, love, joy, redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Shakespeare chose his title to signify to his audiences that the play was like a tale told in company gathered by a fireside on a winter's evening. A fictional invention—not true, but entertaining and morally instructive.
Leontes, king of Sicilia, is possessed by a mad jealousy, believing that his pregnant wife Hermione is having an affair with his childhood friend Polixenes, king of Bohemia. He orders that Hermione's infant daughter be abandoned. Hermione and their young son Mamillius die of distress, and Leontes is overcome with remorse. The baby is found by a shepherd in Bohemia and named Perdita ("the lost one"). Sixteen years pass. Perdita falls in love with Florizel, son of Polixenes, who returns her affections and proposed marriage. Polixenes is outraged that his princely son intends to marry a commoner and is consumed by fury. Florizel and Perdita, pursued by Polixenes, seek refuge in Sicilia at the court of Leontes. Perdita is recognized; Hermione returns from the dead; and the family is reunited. William shakespear the winter's tale