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Introduction

An aged ruler divides his kingdom between his two daughters. Épine receives the smaller share and in revenge turns her sister's suitor into a salamander. Rose must enter a magical world to find her Prince.

Background

The Prince of the Pagodas was originally choreographed by John Cranko in 1957, with a specially commissioned score by Benjamin Britten. Kenneth MacMillan restaged the ballet in 1989 and developed the scenario with writer Colin Thubron. Maintaining all the entrancing elements of a fairytale – a wicked sister, magic spells and a handsome prince – MacMillan added an extra psychological dimension, rooting the ballet in the real world of human experience.

The Prince of the Pagodas contains some of MacMillan's most extraordinary and demanding choreography. The salamander-Prince crosses the stage with wriggling reptile movements, while Princess Rose's violent encounters with her suitors are contrasted with a glorious pas de deux with her Prince. Such invention is complemented by Britten's score, which displays a dazzling variety of textures, including the sounds of Balinese gamelan music. The stylized Elizabethan designs of Nicholas Georgiadis complete a work rich in fantasy and colour.

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