Christopher Wheeldon is one of the most inspired – and inspiring – choreographers working in ballet today; and as such he's in great demand internationally, his range extending from the USA to Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet and including leading ballet companies throughout continental Europe. For The Royal Ballet he's created masterpieces such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 2011 – the company's first brand-new full-length work in more than 20 years – and The Winter's Tale, his 2014 intelligent and affecting adaptation of Shakespeare's play.
His musicality and harmonious dance-making are never in doubt but Wheeldon likes to take risks, and sometimes they don't quite pay off – his 2016 treatment of the scandal surrounding a John Singer Sargent painting in 19th-century Paris, Strapless, proved a big disappointment.
Now Wheeldon is taking another big risk with his full-evening adaptation of Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate, which garnered international fame with the 1992 eponymous film.
It’s a family saga, which blends down-to-earth elements with magical realism. Set in the 1900s, it tells of the thwarted love between Tita (Francesca Hayward) and Pedro (Marcelino Sambé); with Tita seeking solace from the loss of Pedro, who’s made to marry her sister, by cooking ever more elaborate dishes.
Obsessive cooking at the centre of a ballet? How can that work? It's a question Culture Whisper had the opportunity to put to Royal Ballet director Kevin O'Hare:
‘There are many sides to this story: there is the cooking and that’s obviously going to be a part of it, but there’s a real family saga, and there's also a sort of mystical realism in the story as well, which is very poetic."
Here's the enticing official trailer:
Like all of Wheeldon's major works, Like Water for Chocolate is a collaborative project, counting on the talents of composer Joby Talbot, designer Bob Crowley, and Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra, who is acting as a musical adviser and will conduct the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in every performance. Laura Esquivel is acting as a consultant.
Wheeldon's Like Water for Chocolate is the highlight of The Royal Ballet's Spring/Summer programme, intriguing and appealing in equal measure.
There will be three INSIGHT events in the Linbury Theatre in the lead-up to the premiere of Like Water for Chocolate:
• Origins and The Choreographic Process – Monday 25 April 2022 at 7:30pm, tickets: £20
• Music and Designs – Wednesday 27 April at 7:30pm, tickets: £20
• Towards Opening Night – Thursday 28 April at 7:30pm, tickets: £20
General booking for these events opens on Tuesday 22 February 2022
|What||The Royal Ballet, Like Water for Chocolate, ROH|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
02 Jun 22 – 17 Jun 22, 19:30 Thu 2nd & Sat 4th at 19:00. Sat 4th mat at 13:00. Dur.: TBC
|Website||Click here to book|