On the opening night of ‘The Snow Queen’, waves of applause and cheers filled Tivoli Concert Hall.
It was an overwhelming triumph for the new version of the ballet, a regular Christmas feature at Tivoli.
The ballet is Queen Margrethe II’s eighth collaboration with Tivoli as a costume and set designer and the third time she has worked with Danish pop star Oh Land and award-winning choreographer Yuri Possokhov.
The experienced trio are taking a cue from popular sound-and-light shows. Animated backgrounds, which are projected onto a cinema screen at the back of the stage, follow precisely the score and the live performance.
Infused with Nordic culture
The full-length ballet is a leap into Nordic culture, in which the Snow Queen is evil, far from Disney’s interpretation.
Adapted by the Danish novelist Camilla Hübbe, the performance’s libretto concerns Gerda’s adventurous quest to free her beloved Kay from the magic spell of the icy-hearted Snow Queen. Along her initiatic journey, she encounters a friendly witch, colourful flowers, bemusing crows, fairy-tale princes and goofy robbers. Her strength grows as she advances into Europe’s northern extremes. Empowered by an indigenous tribe, the little girl evolves into a strong woman ready to confront the Snow Queen and her menacing snowflakes.
As scenographer and costume designer, the queen devoted herself to crafting spellbinding scenes and clothes. But while her creative work is certainly sublime, she does not assume the great man, HC Andersen, would approve. “Although we do not hear his words, I hope you will feel the story behind what we are doing,” she cautions.
This is the second time that the songwriter and current ‘X Factor’ judge Oh Land has scored a ballet. Having danced herself, she is aware of the needs of the performers. The result is a deep but also fun score to mirror HC Andersen’s tale. Nordic instruments and folk music take us on a distinct journey through the Nordic countries.
Presented over two acts of 45 minutes each, children as young as six can enjoy every minute of the high-tech performance. However, it’s highly recommended that they read HC Andersen’s original fairy-tale before attending.