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Peter & The Wolf / Murphy, Royal Ballet Sinfonia

Prokofiev / Polunin / Royal Ballet Sinfonia / Hart
Release Date: 10/25/2011 
Label:  Opus Arte   Catalog #: 1057  
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Paul Murphy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 38 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available on Blu-Ray disc.

Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev’s musical fairy tale, has been delighting children since 1936. Nearly 60 years later, in 1995, the young choreographer Matthew Hart created a witty choreographed version for the Royal Ballet School with designs by Ian Spurling. Described as ‘an utterly delightful ballet and a perfect showcase for the younger students,’ by the Royal Ballet’s Director, Monica Mason, it was staged again and recorded for this DVD.

"...Matthew Hart’s Peter and the Wolf is one of the most beguiling children’s ballets around.” - The Telegraph

Matthew Hart, choreographer
The Wolf – Sergei
Read more Polunin
Grandfather – Will Kemp
Peter – Kilian Smith
Duck – Charlotte Edmonds
Bird – Laurine Muccioli
Cat – Chisato Katsura

The Royal Ballet School
Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Paul Murphy, conductor

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, 16 and 18 December 2010.

- Cast gallery
- Documentary feature on rehearsing Peter and the Wolf

Picture format: NTSC 16:9 anamorphic
Sound format: LPCM 2.0 / DTS 5.0
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Menu language: English
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
Running time: 38 mins
No. of DVDs: 1

This enchanting DVD captures 2011’s 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 Hart’s realisation of Prokofiev’s 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 Peter’s 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 Smith’s Peter is brave and likeable, while Polunin’s 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 don’t mind that then you’ll 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, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Paul Murphy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USSR 
Date of Recording: December 18, 2010 
Venue:  Royal Opera House 

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