When to see it
This work is being performed as part of a mixed programme:
Dancers from the UK’s five leading ballet companies perform two of MacMillan’s sunniest works alongside a new production of his dark, classical fairytale, as part of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration.
A fairy imprints her magic kiss on an infant boy. Twenty years later, when the boy is about to be married, she reclaims him with another kiss. His bride is left abandoned.
Kenneth MacMillan had long wanted to set Stravinsky’s vivid 1928 ballet score Le Baiser de la fée (The Fairy’s Kiss) when in 1960 he finally had his chance. Stravinsky’s music is an homage to Tchaikovsky and 19th-century classical ballet. MacMillan followed suit, drawing on his considerable expertise in classical ballet to create a work that overtly recalls choreography by Marius Petipa and MacMillan’s immediate forebear Frederick Ashton – while also bearing MacMillan’s own distinctive stamp.
Stravinsky constructed his own scenario from Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Ice Maiden, and in it finds an allegory of the artist’s dilemma: ordinary happiness is sacrificed to the muse. MacMillan retains this story but also pulls into focus the human tragedy of the young man’s bride, left abandoned on her wedding day – inspired, as with so many of his works, by the dramatic talents of Lynn Seymour. Around this core MacMillan constructs a full-company, classical work that celebrates dance for its own sake. Scottish Ballet presents its new production, with designs by Gary Harris.