Credits | Reviews ⇓
Winner 2008 Olivier Award: Best New Dance Production
Nomination 2007 South Bank Show Award: Best New Dance Production
Music by Gabriel Fauré, 1889-1898; Igor Stravinsky, 1929; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1875
Choreography by George Balanchine, 1967
Stage Design by Jean-Marc Puissant
Costume Design by Barbara Karinska, 1967
Lighting Design by Jennifer Tipton
Production Manager: Carl Root
Props Master: Antony Barnett
Images © I. Kerslake and courtesy of Royal Opera House
” The triumph of this new production is to transfer a sense of ownership to the Royal Ballet. Courtesy of designers Jean-Marc Puissant and Jennifer Tipton, the three plotless ballets that make up Jewels have been given an added theatrical resonance, which suits this company’s performing temperament.”
George Balanchine’s full-length, abstract work can be read as an homage to three ballet traditions and styles – French for Emeralds, American for Rubies and Imperial Russia for Diamonds.
At the request of the George Balanchine Trust, the scenography of this new production for the Royal Ballet showcases and honours Karinska’s original 1967 costume designs.
The scenography for each ballet references the place to which Balanchine and Karinska pay homage to – Paris Opera’s Palais Garnier, New York’s Music Halls and St Petersburg’s Mariinsky.
The window displays of Van Cleef & Arpels’ Fifth Avenue shop famously inspired Balanchine to create Jewels. Here, elements of various periods and theatres are drawn together using the jeweller’s current, contemporary shop design.
The Guardian by Judith Mackrell
I don’t remember ever getting goosebumps at the theatre just from looking at a colour. But in Rubies, the centrepiece of the Royal Ballet’s new production of Jewels, there is a point when the stage’s burgundy backdrop darkens to a red so deep it is almost black. The effect is so sumptuous, and simultaneously wicked, that the shock is physical. The colour also puts into sharp, outrageous focus the couple who are dancing centre stage (…).
Balanchine’s 1967 triptych has long been a cornerstone of the American repertory, but the triumph of this new production is to transfer a sense of ownership to the Royal Ballet. Courtesy of designers Jean-Marc Puissant and Jennifer Tipton, the three plotless ballets that make up Jewels have been given an added theatrical resonance, which suits this company’s performing temperament. Emeralds is styled to look Parisian, lit by Lalique chandeliers; Rubies’ geometric decor is pure 20th-century Manhattan; Diamonds is all tsarist marble and crystal. Within this staging, we can see clearly how each principal dancer has identified their own character and fantasy.
Independent on Sunday by Jenny Gilbert
“Emeralds” looks ravishing framed by Jean-Marc Puissant’s new set, Lalique lamps and acres of gauzy grey curtaining setting off the deep lustre of Karinska’s frocks.
The Observer by Luke Jennings
While retaining the original Karinska costumes, as the Balanchine Foundation requires, the Royal has commissioned atmospheric and beautifully lit new sets from Jean-Marc Puissant. Jewels is one the most glamorous and sophisticated additions to the Royal Ballet’s repertoire in recent years, and it is at this precise moment that the company claims it as its own.
The Times by Debra Craine
To make the production unique to the Royal, Jean-Marc Puissant has been brought in to provide stylish new sets. Puissant’s themed designs – Art Nouveau for Emeralds, Art Deco for Rubies and Tsarist splendour for Diamonds – are handsome and accommodating.
The Sunday Times by David Doughill
What makes Jewels, as shown now, a new production is Jean-Marc Puissant’s commissioned decor. The bold, bright, art-deco Odeon-style set, with a red curtain tinged with black and fluorescent-light columns, goes down a treat with the razzmatazz of Rubies.