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Houston Ballet Stages ALADDIN, Now thru 3/2

Houston Ballet Stages ALADDIN, Now thru 3/2
Dancer: Joseph Walsh.
Photo by Amitava Sarkar / courtesy of Houston Ballet.

From today, February 20-March 2, 2014, Houston Ballet presents the North American Premiere of David Bintley's Aladdin, the first work by the celebratEd English choreographer to enter Houston Ballet's repertoire.

A run-in with palace guards leads young Aladdin into a whirlwind of adventure and romance, involving unbelievable riches, love at first sight, treachery, and of course a magic lamp containing a powerful genie. The three-act production boasts a stellar creative team with renowned film composer Carl Davis, famed costume designer Sue Blane and accomplished set designer Dick Bird. Houston Ballet will give seven performances of Aladdin at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston.

Tickets start at $19, and may be purchased at www.houstonballet.org or by calling Houston Ballet box office at 713 227 2787, or 1800 828 2787.

After the premiere of the work in Houston, Houston Ballet will perform Aladdin on tour in Chicago at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University March 22-23, 2013. Tickets to the Chicago performances may be purchased at www.auditoriumtheatre.org or by calling (800) 982-ARTS (2787).

Mr. Bintley choreographed Aladdin for New National Ballet of Japan. It had its world premiere in 2008 where Asahi Shimbun (Japanese national press) praised the ballet as "Elaborate and splendid." On creating the ballet, Mr. Bintley said, "One of the most pleasurable experiences of my choreographic life was the creation of Aladdin for the dancers of the New National Theater Tokyo. I won't go so far as to say it was one of the easiest experiences, but certainly a period of my life that I will always treasure."

At the work's London premiere in February 2013, Laura Thompson of The Telegraph observed, "Aladdin is a full-blown piece of three-act splendor and looks absolutely astonishing....it is a delightful family show, and an ideal first outing to the ballet." (The Telegraph, February 19, 2013)

The music of Aladdin was composed by Carl Davis, who is highly acclaimed in the fields of films and musicals. Mr. Davis has written numerous ballet, TV and film scores including The French Lieutenant's Woman in 1981, for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music.

Costume designer Sue Blane created the striking costumes seen in Aladdin. She is best known for her costume designs for the iconic The Rocky Horror Show and The Rocky Horror Picture Show by Richard O'Brien. Ms. Blane was nominated for a 1997 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for her design of English National Ballet's Alice in Wonderland and a BAFTA nomination for Peter Greenaway's The Draughtsman's Contract. Set designs for Aladdin were created by Dick Bird. He has designed numerous theatre, opera, ballet, TV and film productions including for the Barbican, Opera North, English National Opera, Royal Court Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, Young Vic and Crucible Theatre. His recent projects include a production of Hamlet for the Comedie Francaise in Paris and The Lady of the Lake for the Royal Opera House.

Aladdin: Inspiring British Pantomimes in the 18th Century and Broadway Musicals in the 21st Century

The story of Aladdin and his magical lamp originated as a tale that appeared in the epic One Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights. This collection of stories was a compilation of tales brought together from countries in the east such as China, India, Egypt, Iraq and Iran. Although the legend of a boy receiving three magical wishes has been around since the third century, the story of Aladdin was not widely known until French scholar Antoine Galland translated the tale and introduced the collection of stories to European readers in the early 18th century. Since then, the tale of the poor boy who finds a magical lamp has enthralled and inspired audiences. In 1885 British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton published the celebratEd English language translation of the book. It stood as the only complete translation of the Macnaghten or Calcutta II edition (Egyptian recension) of the Arabian Nights until the Malcolm C. and Ursula Lyons translation in 2008. On February 26, 2014 Disney will present the previews of a new Broadway musical version of Aladdin, which officially opens March 20, 2014. The production will be directed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, and composed by Tony Award winner Alan Menken.

Literary critics Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum write in The Arabian Nights in Historical Context Between East and West, "A Thousand and One Nights or The Arabian Nights changed the world on a scale unrivalled by any other literary text. Editions, compilations, translations and variations circled the globe to reveal the absorption of The Arabian Nights . . . where it now enjoys a degree of prominence never attained before."


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