When to see it
These events are part of the Spring 2016 season.
King Leontes, possessed by a mad jealousy, believes his pregnant wife Hermione to be having an affair with his childhood friend King Polixenes.
He orders that Hermione’s baby, Perdita, be abandoned. Hermione and their young son die of distress and Leontes is overcome with remorse. Perdita is found and raised by a shepherd, and falls in love with Florizel, son of Polixenes. They flee Polixenes, who is consumed with fury at his son’s love for a commoner, and seek shelter with Leontes. Perdita is recognized. Hermione returns and the family is reunited.
Christopher Wheeldon, Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet, created his adaptation of Shakespeare’s late great romance The Winter’s Tale for The Royal Ballet in 2014. His earlier creation Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was the Company’s first full-length ballet since 1995 and is now one of its great popular successes. The Winter’s Tale has built on that success, and on its premiere was acclaimed by critics and audiences as an intelligent, distinctive and emotionally powerful story, told through exquisite dance.
The story follows the destruction of a marriage through consuming jealousy, the abandonment of a child and a seemingly hopeless love. Yet, through remorse and regret – and after a statue of Hermione appears to come miraculously to life – the ending is one of forgiveness and reconciliation. With powerful designs by Bob Crowley and atmospheric music by Joby Talbot, The Winter’s Tale is a masterful modern narrative ballet.
News and features
15 April 2016
Shakespeare Day insights event focuses on operas and ballets inspired by the playwright's work, including The Winter's Tale, Romeo and Juliet and Otello.
13 April 2016
What did you think of the return of Christopher Wheeldon's Royal Ballet adaptation of Shakespeare's play?
11 April 2016
Akane Takada replaces Laura Morera as Giselle; Itziar Mendizabal and Christina Arestis replace Laura Morera as Paulina.
31 March 2016
Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet adaptation is a true collaborative effort, with spectacular designs from all the creative team coming together to tell the story.
24 March 2016
Without words, Christopher Wheeldon's choreography powerfully illuminates Shakespeare's text and the innermost thoughts of his characters.
Watch: Joby Talbot on creating The Winter’s Tale’s musical score – ‘The hardest thing I’ve ever had to compose’8 February 2016
Shakespeare’s problem play is notoriously difficult to stage, and scoring a ballet adaption is no different.
The Winter's Tale is a ballet in three acts choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, with a score by Joby Talbot. A co-production between the Royal Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada, the ballet had its world premiere on 10 April 2014 at the Royal Opera House.