A ballet in three acts, op. 57
Period of composition: early 1955 - autumn 1956
First performance: 1 Jan 1957 >>
Type of performance: Staged performance
Location: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Performance details:

Sadler's Wells Ballet. Svetlana Beriosova Belle Rose, Julia Farron Belle Epine, David Blair The prince, Leslie Edwards The Emperor of the middle kingdom, Pirmin Tecu The fool, Ray Powell The dwarf, Covent Garden Orchestra

John Cranko choreog, John Piper design, Desmond Heeley costumes, William Bundy lighting, Benjamin Britten cond

Genre: Stage work
Text: Scenario by John Cranko
Performing forces:

Cast and orchestra

Principals: The fool, The dwarf, The Emperor of the middle kingdom, Belle Epine, Belle Rose, The King of the north, The King of the east, The King of the west, The King of the south, The Prince of the pagodas, The moon, 2 sea horses (males), 2 fish creatures (females), male and female flames

Corps de ballet: councillors and courtiers to the Emperor, pages to the Kings, 4 frogs, stars, clouds, waves, flames, pagodas and guards

Orchestra: 3 fl (II, III = picc), 3 ob (II, III - ca), 2 cl in A and B flat, cl in E flat, alto sax, 3 bn (III = dbn) - 4 hn, 3 tpt (I, II in C, III in D), 3 trbn, tuba - timp, 7 perc (xyl, glock, vibr, t bells, trgl, small and large wb, castanets, tamb, 3 tom-toms, 2 native drums (high, low or sd and td), sd, td, bd, small timp in C sharp, small cymb (clashed, or loose cymb), susp cymb, cymb, 2 gongs (2 sizes), anvil) - harp, cel, pf (four hands) - str

On stage: 2 or more tpt

Duration: 115'

Prelude and Act I: 34 mins

Act II: 38 mins

Act III: 43 mins

Dedication: 'To Imogen Holst and Ninette de Valois'

Imogen Holst (1907-1984), English composer, conductor, teacher and writer; Britten's assistant from 1952-1964. Dame Ninette de Valois (1898-2001), Irish-born British ballerina, teacher and administrator, and artistic director of the Sadler's Wells Ballet from 1956-1963.