JOBY TALBOT (b.1971): The Winter's Tale - Ballet.
Catalogue Number: 02Q076
Label: Opus Arte
Reference: OA 1156 D
Description: Shakespeare's rather awkward narrative of destructive jealousy and improbable redemption is brought vividly to life in this generously approachable, lavish production commissioned by the Royal Ballet. Talbot's score is ideal for its role in the production; his gift for sweeping melodic lines is a perfect accompaniment to the beautiful, classical choreography, while his fondness for repeating, strongly rhythmic ostinati makes ensemble scenes naturally dynamic and vibrant. His vocabulary is thoroughly tonal and neo-romantic, with some similarities to John Adams' style of post-minimalist propulsive motion. A striking feature of the music is the incorporation of an onstage 'folk band', for which Talbot created a kind of composite 'world music', using folk instruments from different cultures. The result is vaguely Balkan-sounding, strongly rhythmic and obviously folk music, just of sufficiently indeterminate origin to avoid being distractingly ethnicity-specific, and its interaction with the full-scale orchestral ballet score is seamless and ingenious. The production is as fantastical and whimsical as Shakespeare's geographically challenged Europe, with elegant, simply expressive costumes, imposing sets, atmospheric projections and vivid contrasts in lighting pointing up the distinction between the chilly court scenes - all monochrome monoliths and gelid statuary - and the central imaginary Bohemia, the stage dominated by a huge glittering tree. Hugely enjoyable in all respects. Artists of the Royal Ballet, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; David Briskin. 16:9 anamorphic, 2.0 PCM stereo or 5.1 DTS digital surround. 119 min. + 15 min. extra features.