Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Peter and the Wolf
Narrator Ė Will Kemp
Peter Ė Kilian Smith
Wolf Ė Sergei Polunin
Students of the Royal Ballet Lower School
Choreography by Matthew Hart
Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Paul Murphy
rec. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, December 2010
Region Code: 0; Aspect Ratio 16:9; Sound: LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.1
OPUS ARTE OA1057D [38:00]

This enchanting DVD captures 2011ís Christmas performance from the students of the Royal Ballet Lower School. All of the cast seem to be of primary school age, with the adult dancers Sergei Polunin and Will Kemp brought in as the Wolf and Narrator. Matthew Hartís realisation of Prokofievís score as a ballet had first been seen in 1995 and it works very well indeed. Hart says in a short extra film that one of his aims had been to get as many dancers as possible onto the stage. He provide roles not only for the principal characters but for the corps as the physical elements of the story: dancers embody the hunters, the grass of the meadow, the waves of the pond, the trees of the forest and the wall next to Peterís house. The choreography is simple without being simplistic and Hart tells the story very well. The principals are all extraordinarily proficient for their age, particularly the three girls playing the bird, duck and cat, who have the flexible movement of their creatures down to a T. Kilian Smithís Peter is brave and likeable, while Poluninís wolf embodies the sinister characteristics of a pantomime villain with that extra bit of danger. Will Kemp doubles as on-stage narrator and as Grandfather. The bright primary colours of both set and costumes work very well, and the only piece of staging is a bulky frame which is used for the tree, covered in graffiti about the story. The orchestra plays very well and the 5.1 surround sound brings the story to life. The only thing I missed, compared to an audio only recording, is the sense of intimacy with the narrator, something necessarily lost in a production such as this one, but if you donít mind that then youíll enjoy this very much. If you know some children who enjoy dancing, or if you want to get some children interested in dance for the first time, then this is especially for you.

Simon Thompson

If you know some children who enjoy dancing, or if you want to get some children interested in dance for the first time, then this is especially for you.