The Royal Ballet in Brisbane

The much-anticipated Royal Ballet tour to Australia has ended after an 11-day season in Brisbane.

The two ballets received rapturous responses from the audiences after both the first performance of Woolf Works (29 June) and first performance of The Winter’s Tale (5 July) when the choreographers, Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon were up on the Lyric Theatre stage with the dancers for the curtain calls.

In Sydney and Melbourne audiences don’t often jump to their feet during the curtain calls, and Brisbane audiences showed them how.

The Royal Ballet’s director, Kevin O’Hare, was right in his choice to bring two ballets choreographed by British choreographers to Australia.

My review of Woolf Works

As for the company, they would have enjoyed the balmy weather and their time in the quietness of Brisbane although they may have been too busy to explore.

Unlike the Bolshoi dancers, they weren’t often seen outside the theatre saving their few tourist moments for Instagram.

The Lyric Theatre within the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) has been the venue for ballet seasons since 2009 when the Paris Opera Ballet came to Brisbane, followed in 2010 by the National Ballet of Cuba.

The annual international ballet seasons were initiated by Sydney-based Leo Schofield, arts festival director, and trustee of arts and cultural organisations, and Melbourne-based, Ian McRae, former chief executive of the Australian Ballet and they took an active role in the next three QPAC seasons – the Hamburg Ballet in 2012, the Bolshoi in 2013 and American Ballet Theatre in 2014.

This year they are listed in the Royal Ballet program as “guest curators”.

QPAC’s management now runs every element of the event, including marketing and public relations.

One of the changes from previous seasons was the decision to have two opening nights for each ballet, or rather a ‘first performance’ followed the next evening by a ‘Gala Opening Night’ with a reception after the show. Critics were invited to the ‘first performance’.

These differences weren’t given as booking options on QPAC’s website.

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Woolf Works, Royal Ballet, photo © Tristram Kenton

Alessandra Ferri, Woolf Works, Royal Ballet, photo © Darren Thomas

Brisbane, early morning

Lauren Cuthbertson and Zenaida Yenowsky, The Winter’s Tale, Royal Ballet, photo © Darren Thomas

Edward Watson, The Winter’s Tale, Royal Ballet, photo © Darren Thomas