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Sylvia - Birmingham Royal Ballet Review

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Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Whirlwind Romance In Adventurous Ballet
When you have a maestro like Russian composer Tchaikovsky saying his acclaimed music for Swan Lake is "poor stuff" in comparison to Delibes' score for Sylvia, you know that you are in for a spectacular night of classical music.

What you also get with this enchanting Birmingham Royal Ballet production is a whirlwind of adventure and stunningly choreographed dance scenes.

The time-travelling romantic ballet of Sylvia by Birmingham Royal Ballet

Sylvia, which is at Birmingham Hippodrome from June 24 to 27, is a thrilling, romantic time-travelling adventure that sweeps you from a modern day garden party to a mythological tale with Greek gods, pirates and more.

Director and choreographer David Bintley created this humorous, glossy version of Sylvia in 2009 and a revival of this rom com is being performed to coincide with Bintley's 20th year with Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB).

The soundtrack to Sylvia is a ravishing and bewitching flourish of music by Leo Delibes that accompanies the tale of unfaithful Count Guiccioli, whose wandering hands are not only annoying his wife The Contessa but also coming between the burgeoning romance between two of their servants.

A cavalcade of characters in the ballet Sylvia

Opening at the Count's stylish garden party, the flamboyant guests are invited to help themselves to costumes of helmets, bows and arrows before a mysterious stranger (Eros, the God of Love in disguise) appears and transports them into an ancient world of the gods.

In this beautifully-staged world of rock grottos, Greek temples and blue seas, our count and countess become the Goddess of the Hunt, Diana, and the lecherous hunter, Orion. Meanwhile, their lovestruck servants must overcome more escapades as nymph Sylvia and Amynta.

Big sets and dance sequences in Birmingham Royal Ballet's Sylvia

Dancer Tyrone Singleton is deliciously devilish as both the philandering count and the caveman brute Orion. His expressive movements exude ruggedness and brutality as he deftly carries around the delightfully delicate Momoko Hirata, as Sylvia.

Hirata's precision is impeccable and she teams up well with Joseph Caley as Amynta for a series of romantic pas du deux.

Stealing the show however are dancers Kit Holder and Lachlan Monaghan adding fun to the proceedings as overly camp partygoers Gilberto and Giorgio, and later Orion's bumbling assistants Gog and Magog. The choreography of their sections has the magical touch of the David Bintley sparkle we have come to relish.

Sylvia is an extravagant far-fetched tale that whisks the audience away to another world and time. It's a wildly romantic ballet that you will no doubt fall in love with.

Rating: 8/10

Birmingham Hippodrome
Hurst Street,
Tickets cost between £16 - £50 by calling 0844 338 5000 or from the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

Thursday 25 June – 2pm and 7.30pm
Friday 26 June –7.30pm
Saturday 27 June – 2.30pm and 7.30pm

A family fun day takes place at the theatre to coincide with the ballet on Saturday June 27 from 12.30pm–2.30pm, which is free to all matinee audience members.
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Why? Ballet at its most fun and romantic
When: June 24 - 27
Phone: 0844 338 5000 - Birmingham Hippodrome
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome
Cost: £16 - £50
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