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A lively love story based on commedia dell’arte, Harlequinade was created in 1900 by Marius Petipa, who choreographed some of classical ballet’s most enduring works, including Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty.
Working with the original notation of Petipa’s choreography, Alexei Ratmansky, former director of the Bolshoi Ballet and artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre, has produced a loving and humorous revival.
Harlequin and Columbine are in love, but her father, who wants her to marry a rich buffoon, has her locked up by Pierrot, his loyal servant. Pierrot’s wife, sympathetic to the young couple, helps her escape, and a Good Fairy gives Harlequin a magical slap stick that helps him triumph over the odds and win Columbine’s hand in marriage.
The melodic, lilting score is by Riccardo Drigo, a close collaborator of Tchaikovsky’s; the sets and costumes were created by Robert Perdziola, based on a close study of the 1900 originals, which are held at a museum in St Petersburg.
After his century-long sleep, the irrepressible Harlequin is wide awake and ready to charm ballet lovers of all ages.