Liaoning Ballet’s exquisite balletic retelling of The Last Emperor, based on the astonishing life of China’s Last Emperor Puyi and choreographed by Ivan Cavallari, is touring Australia throughout June and July this year.
The Last Emperor chronicles the incredible tale of China’s last emperor Puyi. Born behind the gates of the Forbidden City into the imperial dynasty, Puyi started his life with a royal upbringing. At the age of 3 he was bestowed Emperor of China. The Emperor was ousted during the tumultuous period of the early Chinese Republic which resulted in his exile and he was then returned to China as puppet emperor Manchukuo under the Japanese.
Puyi was married to The Empress Wan Rong and then remarried later in life to civilian, Li Shuxian. After being granted an official pardon, Puyi lived the remainder of his life in China as an ordinary civilian under Mao Zedong until his death in 1967. Puyi led an astonishing life and his story was adapted into a hugely successful biopic in 1987, starring John Lone as Puyi and with Joan Chen and Peter O’Toole.
“A ballet across the Chinese and Western Culture… The ballet is based on Neville John Jrons book and inspired by the Bertolucci movie. During the initial working process I have been listening to a lot of Chinese music and had long discussions with Mr Jongky Goei, who made this collaboration possible. It was clear that the dramaturgy of the ballet had to be based on the human aspect of the emperor and the important people in his life… the story tells us about his particular friendship with the Johnstons, the frustration of his two wives and the love he had for his first concubine. The emperor was a person who had to wear a mask his whole life and could never be himself, not even at the end. In a way I wanted to free him through dancing” said Choreographer, Ivan Cavallari.
Established in 1980, Liaoning Ballet aims is at the forefront of adopting renowned modern ballets with Chinese character. Liaoning Ballet has made an outstanding contribution to ballet in China performing Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, La Fille mal gardée, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Giselle, Raymonda and Neapolitan. In2005, Liaoning Ballet toured Europe and was part of China-France Culture Year held in France and the local art festival in Vittoria, Spain.
The Last Emperor, choreographed by Ivan Cavallari is a European-orientated modern ballet. The ballet won first-prize at the Third National Dance Drama Tour Performance and six individual awards as well as a Bronze Award at the Fourth China Dance Lotus Prize.
Italian born Choreographer, Ivan Cavallari trained at Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow under scholarship. His repertoire also includes leading roles in choreographies by Balanchine, Ashton, Fokine, Béjart, Tetley, Kylián, Forsythe, van Manen, Scholz and Neumeier. He has worked as a dancer, choreographer and director in ballets across the world. Cavallari staged Cranko’s Onegin (Sweden) with the State Opera in Vienna and regularly works as a guest teacher for the Stephan Thoss Company (Germany), The Czech National Ballet and the Stuttgart Ballet (Germany). Cavallari’s The Nutcracker, a collaboration with La Scala’s renowned set designer Edoardo Sanchi for West Australian Ballet, achieved critical acclaim for its brilliant and innovative take on this classic. Since 2008, Cavallari has held the position of Artistic Director of West Australian Ballet. His creative vision and determination has driven the Company to new heights, vastly expanding the repertoire and successfully increasing the profile of the Company locally, nationally and internationally.
Princess Theatre
Saturday 18 June
Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Saturday 25 June
Newcastle NSW
Civic Theatre Newcastle
Wednesday 29 June
To be in the chance to win a double pass to the show please email with your name, state and phone number before 5pm 14 June.