(Ballet Review) ‘Like Water For Chocolate’ @Royal Opera House 1pm 4th June 2022

by Miki
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I’ve been looking forward to seeing the new full length ballet production by the Royal Ballet choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon based on the Mexican novel, ‘Like Water For Chocolate’ (translated into English in the early 90s, as well as adapted into an acclaimed film)

ロイヤルバレエの最新作は、90年代に映画化もされたメキシコの小説「Like Water For Chocolate / 赤い薔薇ソースの伝説」をベースにしたクリストファー・ウィールドン振付の作品。上演をとっても楽しみにしていました。

It’s the story of Tita, who is forbidden to marry her true love Pedro due to a family tradition that forces her to look after her mother until the day she dies.


I loved all the scenes across the three-act performance, in particular the way they beautifully and artistically shape the novel into the ballet form, as well as the staging and scenery which cleverly takes some of the key motifs from the book to enhance the narrative. The music and costumes are all great! 


Because I read the novel before the show, I picked up on a few points of comparison that I would have loved to have seen emphasised more in the ballet.


I felt the core theme of the novel focused more on the family as a whole, while the ballet seemed very much to highlight the central romance between the protagonist Tita and her lover Pedro. What I particularly liked in the book is how the emotions of each of the family members are exposed in turn, eliciting your feelings for them as individuals. I especially loved Mama Elena in the book, reading about her intense struggles and how they shaped her personality.

まず、物語の中心が、原作では家族全体に置かれていたと感じたのに対し、バレエ版ではTitaとPedroのロマンスをハイライトしていると感じました。原作で私が好きだったのが、家族のメンバーそれぞれの感情がよく理解できる形で描かれていたことでした。特にMama Elenaの葛藤が、彼女の気難しい性格を形作っているのだと読みながら共感でき、好きになったキャラクターでした。

The book also portrays the close relationship between the sisters very well, which has the effect of making the story both all the more convincing, as well as tragic at times.


The ballet emphasised scenes of Tita and Pedro during their childhood to focus on the building of their relationship; their pas de deux was so beautiful and passionate. And yet I felt a little bit unsatisfied with their narrative; I wanted to see a wider spectrum of emotions from them other than their all-consuming passion! Perhaps this might have been a result of the more minimised focus on scenes of cooking on stage. In the novel, Tita’s emotions always come through strongest in the kitchen while she cooks, and these elements end up being the most intimate. 


In the ballet, I especially loved the way the two ‘ghost’ characters were depicted – Nacha and Mama Elena – they were so impactful and definitely an important element of the staging! Tita’s sister Gertrudis’s fun musical number was very cool too!


Having said all these, I really enjoyed this new production – full of exciting and beautiful dance numbers – so much so that I even booked two extra tickets to see the other casts! The main dancers I saw on the day I went included Yasmine Naghdi (Tita), Cesar Corrales (Pedro), Fumi Kaneko (Mama Elane), Claire Calvert (Rosaura), Meaghan Grace Hinkis (Gertrudis), and William Bracewell (Dr John Brown)


Yasmine Naghdi (Tita), Cesar Corrales (Pedro), Fumi Kaneko (Mama Elane), Claire Calvert (Rosaura), Meaghan Grace Hinkis (Gertrudis), and William Bracewell (Dr John Brown)

I wonder how differently the production would feel with other casts?


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