Federico Bonelli and Lauren Cuthbertson in The Royal Ballet's Live Fire Exercise ©Bill Cooper/ROH 2011

Live Fire Exercise / Prodigal Son / Corybantic Games

20 April 2020
Main Stage
Ballet and dance
These works are performed together:
  • Live Fire Exercise
  • Prodigal Son
  • Corybantic Games

Performances of this production have been cancelled as the Royal Opera House is currently closed. Find out about other cancelled performances and how you can donate the cost of your ticket, exchange for a voucher or claim a refund here.

A programme opens with Wayne McGregor’s Live Fire Exercise developed in collaboration with artist John Gerrard.  The slow-motion projections of explosions by Gerrard and music by Michael Tippett combine with choreography that requires militaristic discipline, pushing the dancers’ bodies to their limits in a series of hyper-extended ensembles and solos. Following is Wheeldon’s abstract Corybantic Games from 2018, which features an award-winning collaboration with leading fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu and is set to Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade after Plato’s ‘Symposium’. The dynamic choreography conjures up a world of antiquity that brings the pure athleticism of the dancers to the fore. Completing the programme is George Balanchine’s biblical parable Prodigal Son, created for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1929 to music by Prokofiev. This visceral telling of a journey from rebellion to forgiveness is in turn lyrical and dramatic, with an intense energy throughout its constantly inventive choreography.

Generous philanthropic support from

Julia and Hans Rausing and the Friends of Covent Garden.

Corybantic Games – Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon generously supported by

Kenneth and Susan Green.

and generous philanthropic support from

Mr and Mrs Edward Atkin CBE and Susan and John Burns.



Live Fire Exercise

CompanyThe Royal Ballet

ChoreographyWayne McGregor

MusicMichael Tippett

ArtistJohn Gerrard

Costume designsMoritz Junge

Lighting designLucy Carter

Prodigal Son

CompanyThe Royal Ballet

ChoreographyGeorge Balanchine

MusicSergey Prokofiev

DesignerGeorges Rouault

Lighting designerJohn B. Read

Corybantic Games

CompanyThe Royal Ballet

ChoreographyChristopher Wheeldon

MusicLeonard Bernstein

Set designerJean-Marc Puissant

Costume designerErdem Moralioglu

Lighting designerPeter Mumford


There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.