The company were on top form on opening night and guest conductor, Garrett Keast kept a brisk pace throughout the evening. Léon Minkus wrote some of his most dynamic music for the ballet: the rousing entrance of the toreadors, cloaks swirling or Kitri’s fiery opening to her act one solo will stir the blood of any true balletomane. Nadine Baylis’ costumes are a sumptuous display of colour and lavish decoration. This production has smartly dressed villagers and certainly the most ornately costumed Andalusian Gitanos ever.
It's a marathon of a ballet for the two principals who need to keep the energy levels at boiling point. Each act has its challenges but the grand pas in Act Three was the highlight. Woo and Zagbrebin had the authority, still with a cheeky edge, but as grand as they come. Woo’s strength and crystal clean classical finish, together with Zagbrebin’s strong support, made light of the duet. In their solos, the sparks flew while Woo’s dazzling fouettés and Zagbrebin’s flying leaps and turns added magic to the coda.