Angelin Preljocaj’s sultry 'Snow White' certainly hearkens back to the darker nature of the tale by Brothers Grimm, while costumes by legendary designer Jean Paul Gaultier provide the sophisticated allure of a fetishised fairy tale. Just add the music of Gustav Mahler and set design by Thierry Leproust and you can’t but drown in the beauty of it all.
A poetic beginning sees a distraught King (Sergi Amoros Aparicio) take his newborn baby daughter from the body of his wife, who has died in child birth. We are quickly conveyed through the stages of Snow White’s life by adorable young dancers Adriana Chatenay, Jasmine Provence Orsini-Mustafa and Scarlett Weaver, until our young herione blossoms into puberty and suddenly ‒ unbeknownst to herself ‒ becomes the nemesis of the Wicked Queen (Cecilia Torres Morillo and Anna Tatarova).
Into the woods the Queen’s henchman take Snow White (Verity Jacobsen and Mires Delogu) but find they cannot take the young girl’s life and instead kill a young deer and take its heart back to the Queen.
Colour and light are used to perfection in this performance; the glistening black surfaces of the queen’s thigh high boots and the flimsy, opaque white of Snow White’s gown reinforce the young girl’s vulnerability. The scarlet kerchief thrown to Snow White by her young Prince, the glistening, crimson heart of the slaughtered deer and, of course, the blood red apple which was to end Snow White’s young life associate sex, life and death in a very Freudian manner. Carl Jung would also have given a big nod of approval to this retelling of the almost archetypal fairy tale.
Special touches including the naughty pussycats running amok across audience seats and those delightful young ‘Snow Whites’ already mentioned make this production magic.
You all know the story but you will never have seen it clad in Gaultier and captured in the reflection of a giant, golden mirror. More Met Ball than story-book.
Ballet Preljocaj was performed at Sydney Opera House
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