Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of The Prince of the Pagodas. It was last on stage 2–29 June 2012.
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.
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.
News and features
27 May 2016
The British choreographer transformed classical dance by looking to the influences of the theatre.
31 October 2014
Although he only created one full-length ballet, the composer had more to do with dance than you might think.
1 June 2012
We catch up with the former Royal Ballet Principal-turned-répétiteur ahead of the ballet's return.
29 May 2012
MacMillan’s fairytale ballet returns to Covent Garden after a 16-year break
13 April 2012
Spanish dancer to take up role of Artistic Director at English National Ballet.
The Prince of the Pagodas is a ballet created for The Royal Ballet in 1957, by choreographer John Cranko, with music commissioned from Benjamin Britten. The ballet was later revived in a new production by Kenneth MacMillan in 1989, achieving widespread acclaim for Darcey Bussell's premiere in a principal role. The world premiere of Cranko's original production took place on 1 January 1957, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, conducted by the composer. MacMillan's production premiering at the same venue on 7 December 1989. A recording of a slightly cut version of the score was produced with Britten conducting the orchestra of the Royal Opera House. In 2011 a new production, set in Japan, was created by David Bintley. This was first performed by the National Ballet of Japan on 30 October 2011. It was first performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet on 30 January 2014 in The Lowry, Salford.