Cinderella by Christopher Wheeldon in Munich
In November the audience around the world had the opportunity to watch the beautiful version of Prokofiev’s Cinderella choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon on the Bayerisches Staatsballett stage. The broadcast was very attractive by its cast: the second performance of Julian MacKay as a principal dancer in Munich in duo with charming Madison Young, the rising star Shale Wagman (who has been promoted to the first soloist range this year), ballerinas with the great acting potential like Bianca Teixeira, Elvina Ibraimova, Maria Chiara Bono.
Christopher Wheeldon, the worldwide famous English choreographer, made his Cinderella a little different from traditional version. There’s no godmother Fairy here and the Prince and Cinderella meet before the ball. Worn as a beggar, the Prince Guillaume visits her home where Cinderella shows him her kindness and beautiful soul (unlike her Stepmother and Stepsisters), so we can see a little more realistic love story than usual. The setting in the XIX century style looks very interesting and quite classical between, for example, the rococo and Hollywood versions.
The cast on 13th November, as I have said above, was very curiously looking for each ballet fan. Young, beautiful and obviously very talented, Madison Young showed her acting potential and made her character quite brave and thoughtful, maybe she was not so naive than the audience could expect from Cinderella, but anyway she looked very interesting in the plot. She was quite confident in variations and despite I may have expected a little more of lightness, Young showed her energy in duos very well.
Her partner that evening, Julian MacKay was a Prince Charming with his sparkling eyes and warm smile. Together with quite stable technique (he may have been not in his best shape but there were no visible technical mistakes), he made his Guillaume a very nice human being, with a sense of humor, sensitive and smart personality. Absolutely gorgeous partner, MacKay did his best both with Madison Young and Shale Wagman in the playful bromance between Guillaume and Benjamin.
The only male first soloist of the company, Shale Wagman is always impressive by his movement and fascinating plastique. That evening he was literally flying in his jumps and looked very good in technique. However, his acting part was a little unsure and he seemed hurrying from time to time, despite that he has a big potential in the role of Benjamin with his charisma and youth. Their couple with Clementine (danced by very interesting Bianca Teixeira), the second main one in this version, brought a lot of fun and charm to the performance.
Personally I was amazed by wonderful image of the step-mother Hortensia presented by Maria Chiara Bono. The emotional spectre of this character has the brightest palette and Bono demonstrated full involvement in it by both dancing and acting.
I can advise this production for everyone who loves stylish and heart-warming fairy tales with really marvellous choreography. Made to the ageless Sergei Prokofiev’s music, this Cinderella unites the experienced ballet audience interested in Wheeldon’s creative ideas and the newcomers who can fall in love with ballet looking at the magic onstage.
Text: Julia Sumzina
Photos: Serghei Gherciu, Katja Lotter (Bayerische Staatsoper)