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Production Index

Click each title for notes on the individual ballet

Edward II


Daphnis and ChloŽ
Nine Sinatra Songs

The Nutcracker

Swan Lake

Take Five

The Orpheus Suite
The Shakespeare Suite


Card Game

Le Baiser de la fťe

Daphnis and ChloŽ

This work represents something of a rarity for Birmingham Royal Ballet, being a Frederick Ashton ballet that the Company haven't danced before. Already being lauded as the personal highlight of the season by many members of the ballet staff, the piece tells the story of the two lovers of the title, and how, with the help of the god Pan, Daphnis saves his sweetheart after she is kidnapped by pirates (see below).

The piece had a particularly complicated birth, with creative input being offered by Sergei Diaghilev, choreographer Mikhail Fokine, and composer Maurice Ravel. Although all had already established names for themselves, they still had much to prove, and while the three shared an overall unified vision, the keenness of each to bring their own elements resulted in regular conflict.

Even upon the completion of the work, Diaghilev staged it rarely, and often without the choir for whom Ravel had written considerable parts in his score. Ravel and Fokine, however, always thought favourably of the final work, and the choreographer continued to stage the work over the next 20 years. In addition to the ballet performances, Ravel went on to create two popular concert suites from the score, excerpts of which were included in the Royal Ballet Sinfonia's Evening of Music and Dance at the end of March 2007.

Frederick Ashton's Daphnis and ChloŽ, with sets and costumes by John Craxton, opened at the Royal Opera House on 4 April 1951, with Margot Fonteyn as ChloŽ, Michael Somes as Daphnis, Violetta Elvin as Lykanion and John Field as Dorkon. A new production, with designs by Martyn Bainbridge, opened on 10 November 1994, with Trinidad Sevillano, Stuart Cassidy, Benazir Hussein and Adam Cooper.

Click here for details of all BRB performances of this ballet currently on sale.

Recommended by

David Bintley


'I'm excited about it all, as I think there are some great things next year, but Daphnis, for me, is really the highlight of the season in many respects. There aren't that many Ashton pieces that we don't do or we haven't done, and so to get this big great Ashton ballet for the first time has got to be a major part of the new season. Daphnis is a big piece, it's got a choir in it, and is not a piece - as far as my memory serves me - that has toured. So audiences are getting this great ballet for the first time in 50 years Ė that's a good enough reason to be excited isn't it?!'
Recommended by

Patricia Tierney

BRB Notator

'I don't know very much about this as a ballet yet as this is the first time we've done it, but it's a historical piece, and a Frederick Ashton work, so it'll be very interesting to see. Although it's a new piece for us, I donít think the Company will have any trouble with it, because they do Ashton very well; itís in their bodies! I do know it's quite theatrical, and romantic - a bit like The Two Pigeons Ė and it's something the whole family would enjoy, with a nice little story like a fable that children can follow very easily, colourful costumes - and the music's gorgeous!'


Click on the names for individual biographies

Music Maurice Ravel
Choreography Frederick Ashton
Designs John Craxton

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