June 2019 
Warsaw/Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera: Polish National Ballet’s “The Taming of the Shrew” – chor. John Cranko

Warsaw/Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera: Polish National Ballet’s “The Taming of the Shrew” – chor. John Cranko

4 February 2018 | 18:00 | Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera | Warsaw

performance presentation

Humorous and graceful, William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew received a worthy treatment from British choreographer John Cranko (1927-1973). Created in 1969 for the Stuttgart Ballet, the piece is commonly hailed as one of the top 20th century choreographic comedies and a milestone in the world’s ballet canon.


The piece draws from the brilliant story of the rebellious Catherine, avoided by all those around her but for the contrary Petrucchio. It is only his perverse stubbornness that helps tame the shrew. The ballet also features a vast collection of characters based on Italian commedia dell’arte, who add to the trials and tribulations of the main characters. Cranko was a master of characterization, and his characters were beloved by audiences and dancers alike, as they create an opportunity for outstanding stage performances. Viewers witness Catherine’s metamorphosis from a dauntless nag to Petrucchio’s humble wife. He, in turn, is able to put on a display of manly cleverness, sense of humour and dancing bravado. Having proven themselves as audience favourites worldwide, the two characters will now take to the stage at the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera in what promises to be a colourful and charming family comedy.


Cranko’s ballet is performed to the orchestral score arranged by German composer Kurt-Heinz Stolze based on selected themes by Domenico Scarlatti. The choreography was prepared by British choreologist Jane Bourne and eminent Polish dancer Filip Barankiewicz, a long time Petrucchio at the Stuttgart Ballet. The production recreates Elisabeth Dalton’s original stage design which has accompanied the ballet ever since. The piece will be led by Canadian Judith Yan, greatly esteemed as a ballet conductor around the world. Costumes and decorations were delivered by Diana Eckmann and Steen Bjarke, who also worked on the production’s lighting. The piece features all of the Polish National Ballet lead soloists.  


The Polish premiere will highlight the Polish National Ballet’s Shakespeare Festival scheduled for April 2016 to celebrate the quadricentennial of the death of the legendary English playwright.


Ballet in two acts
Libretto: John Cranko based on the play by William Shakespeare 
Music: Kurt-Heinz Stolze after Domenico Scarlattiego
World Premiere: 16 March 1969, Wuerttemberg Opera House, Stuttgart 
Polish Premiere: 27 November 2015, Teatr Wielki  – Polish National Opera


Choreography: John Cranko

Conductor: Judith Yan

Stage design and costumes: Elisabeth Dalton

Dancers: Jane Bourne, Filip Barankiewicz

Lighting: Steen Bjarke


Polish National Ballet
Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera


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