The Australian Ballet to Livestream Alexei Ratmansky's HARLEQUINADE This Friday

Harlequinade is a rollicking comedic ballet by Marius Petipa, the father of classical ballet and original creator of The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.

By: Jun. 23, 2022

The Australian Ballet to Livestream Alexei Ratmansky's HARLEQUINADE This Friday

The Australian Ballet has announced that their global live stream series will continue with Alexei Ratmansky's Harlequinade, available for audiences all over the world to enjoy on Friday, June 24.

Originally created more than a century ago but lost to history, Harlequinade is a rollicking comedic ballet by Marius Petipa, the father of classical ballet and original creator of The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, before his retirement.

Rediscovered by one of the world's most in-demand choreographers, Alexei Ratmansky, Harlequinade is a co-production between American Ballet Theatre (where Ratmansky is artist in residence) and The Australian Ballet. Ratmansky has reconstructed the ballet by decoding the original notation of the steps and the resulting ballet is a living connection to the unsullied technique of Petipa.

Harlequinade tells the story of the young lovers Harlequin and Columbine, and their determination to be together despite the efforts of Columbine's greedy father, who demands that she marry into wealth.

Bursting with color, brilliant dancing, madcap characters and hilarious hijinks all the while tumbling from slapstick to joyous and from the absurd to the sublime with the greatest of ease, Ratmansky's staging of Harlequinade is the perfect ballet for families, balletomanes and all lovers of dance.

David Hallberg, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, says: "Harlequinade is a ballet people of all ages can enjoy - it's comical, colorful and full of vibrant adventure. This production encapsulates the transformative powers of ballet and the theatre."

The action is buoyed by a bright, melodic score composed by Petipa's collaborator Riccardo Drigo. Inspired by the original 1900 designs by Orest Allegri and Ivan Vsevolozhsky, preserved in a St Petersburg museum, Robert Perdziola has created more than 250 exquisite costumes, including 172 hats.

Audiences will recognize characters like Pierrot with his pom-poms and oversized sleeves, and the dazzling diamond pattern of the Harlequin suit. Perdziola's picture-book sets perfectly evoke the village square and a grand, beaux-arts ballroom.

Tickets are now on sale at The live-stream will be available for viewing for 48 hours from the start of the show, and will include bonus commentary from Artistic Director David Hallberg and guests, as well as live interviews and behind-the-scenes footage exclusive to the livestream.

About Harlequinade

Harlequin and Columbine are in love, but Columbine's father, Cassandre, disapproves of his daughter's affection for Harlequin, hoping instead to marry her to a wealthy older suitor, Léandre. He keeps her from Harlequin by locking her away in a tower, with Cassandre's loyal servant Pierrot keeping guard. Pierrot's wife Pierrette feels badly for Columbine and helps her to escape, to be happily reunited with Harlequin. When Cassandre's henchmen come for Harlequin, the Good Fairy, protector of lovers, intervenes, saving Harlequin's life and giving him a magical slap stick that will grant his wishes.

At the wedding of Harlequin and Columbine, the Good Fairy officiates, disguised as a notary. Cassandre arrives at the ceremony to demand that Columbine return home to marry Léandre. The Good Fairy attempts to stop Cassandre's men from attacking Harlequin, imploring him to let the lovers be. Cassandre is adamant, saying that the penniless Harlequin will not be able to support Columbine. At this point Harlequin reveals a great fortune with a wave of his slap stick, and Cassandre finally gives the wedding his blessing. The lovers join with their guests in a joyous celebration.

Live Stream
7:15pm AEST
Arts Centre Melbourne With Orchestra Victoria

Available for viewing 48 hours from the start of the show.


Choreography Marius Petipa
Staging and additional choreography Alexei Ratmansky
assisted by Tatiana Ratmansky
Music Riccardo Drigo
Costumes and set design Robert Perdziola
inspired by Orest Allegri and Ivan Vsevolozhsky
Lighting design Brad Fields
Harlequinade is a co-production of American Ballet Theatre and The Australian Ballet.

Harlequinade is generously supported by The Margaret Ellen Pidgeon Fund, the Melba Alma Cromack Fund and the K. M. Christensen & A. E. Bond Bequest.