by Paula Citron
In the new opera house, Ronald Hynd’s 1975 ballet The Merry Widow is alive with freshness. The glorious Lehar music soars in the resonant acoustics, while the choreography in the new intimacy is a triumph of characterization and nuance.
When the ballet entered the repertoire of the National in 1986, the company commissioned original sets and costumes from designer Desmond Heeley. Almost two decades later, every act still receives a rapturous applause from the audience when the curtain opens, while Heeley’s belle époque period costumes are simply gorgeous.
Hynd’s treatment of The Merry Widow is a true emotional landscape that runs deep, particularly if you have dancing actors who can connect the dots. The push and pull chemistry between Guillaume Côté and Xiao Nan Yu was palpable, while the ZdenekKonvalina/Chan Hon Goh duets were pure rapture.
In short, this ballet turned out to be a wonderful surprise in the new house.
The Merry Widow continues until Sunday.
From the Four Seasons Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.