CINDERELLA | London, Royal Opera House

Seventy-five years after Frederick Ashton’s 1948 creation for the Royal Ballet seems as good a time as any to revisit the timeless choreography with a brand new production (the last time Cinderella was seen here was in 2011).

With sets by Tom Pye, this Cinderella offers real spectacle. The ball is staged in the gardens outside the grand palace, with false perspective, a ticking clock and a moody sky. When Cinderella (Marianela Núñez) and the Prince (Vadim Muntagirov) are finally wed, they ascend a magical staircase that appears to continue up forever, into the starry heavens. Meanwhile, video design (Finn Ross) conveys the feeling of Cinderella’s humble home melting away at the wave of a magic wand by the Fairy Godmother (Fumi Kaneko).

As Cinderella, Núñez’s control is effortless; throughout Ashton’s difficult choreography, Núñez conveys Cinderella’s purity and joy. For this production’s step-sisters, half the performances are played by women, and half by men. Principal character artist Gary Avis, 54, nails the slapstick and the jetés alike; a remarkable performance.

Prokofiev wrote his enchanting score for the ballet’s premiere in Moscow, in 1945. Conducted by Koen Kessels, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House sound incredibly tight. It’s a shame not to see any time given over to illusions or magic (which are an integral part of the Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker, for example). But as a family-friendly, shiny new production, you shall go to the ball.

Playing at the Royal Opera House 27 March – 3 May 2023.

The Prickle - About transp