Northern Ballet’s new strand of touring brought Madame Butterfly to the Grand Theatre for two nights this week.
Rachel Gielespie as geisha girl, Butterfly was exquisite from opening scene to the dramatic conclusion. There were strong and solid performances from all the male dancers, but the girls were definitely on top, particularly in the second half. Ayami Miyata as Suzuki and Dominque Larose as Kate dominated the stage with their solo work, duets and pas de deux.
Javier Torres as Pinkerton, an accomplished dancer, was unconvincing as the romantic lead and lacked chemistry with his leading lady. Gielespie, however, flourished as the production developed, taking the audience on a painful, yet uplifting journey.
Nathan Fifield conducted the Northern Ballet Sinfonia in a beautifully condensed orchestral transcription of Puccini’s most familiar opera. The additional use of Japanese music compliments the performance perfectly and is used to full and dramatic effect throughout Butterfly’s heart-breaking death. The wonderful theatrical performances from all the cast made the absence of any sung text a natural evolution from the opera.
The aim of this new tour is to do narrative work creatively on a smaller scale and to perform this alongside an abstract work. This will bring quality dance to more people in smaller venues and will expand the diversity of Northern Ballet’s programming. Christopher Hamilton’s neo-classical piece, Perpetuum Mobile, opened the evening of dance with an amazing showcase of the relationship between music and classical ballet. Set to the music of Bach, the pure classical ballet steps were executed confidently by the young dancers and slight timing issues were the only indication of how truly difficult these steps are.
Blackpool Grand Theatre’s dance programme just goes from strength to strength.
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