Queensland Ballet La Sylphide Opening Night Post-performance Reception
What a privilege it has been for us all to be in the audience for the opening night of this marvellous production – the glorious music; the choreography; the exquisite costumes, sets and lighting; the captivating quality of the dancing; the immaculate re-staging; the wonderful old Scots story with its powerful moral… all have combined to make this an exceptional night in the theatre – a dazzling performance, which brought to my mind that wonderful word “éclat”.
With this experience so recently behind us, I must say it comes as no surprise that Bournonville’s original nineteenth-century ballet has such enduring, international appeal.
There may well be people here tonight who, with Kaye and me, remember Dame Margot Fonteyn’s performance as the Sylphide when she toured Australia with the Scottish Ballet in the ’seventies – 1974 to be precise.
And I know there will be others who vividly recall the very first Australian production of the work – Queensland Ballet’s own production in nineteen seventy-eight. (I’m told that production was particularly memorable because it featured the Company’s then artistic director, Harry Haythorne, as the witch Madge).
Coincidentally, that antipodean version was presented barely a year before the London premiere in 1979 of the marvellous Peter Schaufuss production, which is the production we’ve all enjoyed tonight.
I warmly congratulate Li and the Board of Queensland Ballet on the decision not only to stage this award-winning production in Australia, but to take it, boldly, back to London in August for a season at the Barbican – its first performance in London in over thirty years.
The people of South East England will be delighted that at least over those few days in August, their choice will not be confined to the Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet! It is wonderful to think of our own much-loved company embarking on such a spectacular tour, and we warmly wish them well.
Now I must also thank the Queensland and Australian Governments, QGC, and the company’s many other donors and commercial sector sponsors, for their exceptional support: it is that support which has brought this production to the Brisbane stage and will enable the London tour to happen – it is proof, if we needed it, that “fairy tales are indeed back in fashion.” Congratulations!