Express & Star

'A magical performance' - Our review of Birmingham Royal Ballet's Tchaikovsky Classics at Symphony Hall

World-class dancers and world-class musicians – Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia are a match made in heaven.

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Céline Gittens as Odette and Yasiel Hodelín Bello as Prince Siegfried from Swan Lake in Birmingham Royal Ballet's Tchaikovsky Classics. Photo: Caroline Holden

And their spectacular Tchaikovsky Classics kicked off the Easter holiday weekend in style as they served up a magical feast for the senses.

The audience at Birmingham's Symphony Hall was mesmerised from start to finish as the ballet company and orchestra celebrated the glorious classical works of the legendary composer.

Highlights from the jewels of classical ballet - Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker - provided a perfect introduction for those who may have been new to ballet.

The audience was treated to the wonderful talents of the company's dancers, including principals Celine Gittens, Lachlan Monaghan, Max Maslen, Miki Mizutani, Yu Kurihara and Tzu-Chao Chou.

The romantic white swan pas de deux from Swan Lake and the dramatic black swan pas de deux were among the highlights as well as The Sleeping Beauty's mesmerising pas de deux for the Bluebird and Princess Florine and the enchanting Prince and Sugar Plum Fairy dance from the classic festive ballet The Nutcracker.

The production did not only feature dancing stars of the present, it also provided a glimpse of those of the future as students from Birmingham’s Elmhurst Ballet School showed off their skills with a fine performance of the Garland Dance from The Sleeping Beauty.

But this performance was not just about the fabulous dancers. They shared the stage with Birmingham Royal Ballet's world-class orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

Instead of usually hearing the wonderful music from the orchestra pit, the musicians took centre stage at Symphony Hall, leaving the audience in awe.

I'm not sure there are enough superlatives to describe the orchestra, conducted by Principal Conductor Paul Murphy. But, amazing, powerful, passionate and dramatic are a few for starters.

What a magical, captivating evening – which sadly comes at a time when the arts in Birmingham is being hit by council cuts.

The city council recently revealed proposed grant cuts which could see the ballet, and other flagship arts organisations in Birmingham, lose their council funding next year.

As BRB director Carlos Acosta thanked the audience for packing out the venue, he urged people to support the organisations. "We need the arts," he told them.

Bravo Birmingham Royal Ballet and bravo Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Another magical performance.

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