Originally composed as a symphonic work to introduce young children to the instruments of the orchestra, Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf springs to life as a children's ballet in this 30-minute BBC-TV performance. The cast features the young students of the Royal Ballet School, who offer a professional-caliber performance, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, which provides a topnotch interpretation of Prokofiev's score that sounds especially impressive in Dolby Digital 5.1. Simple staging and dramatic lighting showcase Matthew Hart's effective choreography of the familiar story of Peter and his animal friends' capture of the wolf. Fluid, graceful motions advance the plot, and every dancer's part, whether representing the water or a main character like the bird, is sculpted for maximum expression. Royal Ballet veteran Anthony Dowell, narrator and grandfather, gives a dramatic performance as well as a nice explanation of Prokoviev's use of specific instruments to represent specific animals. Adults and children, whether students of ballet, music, or the arts in general, will thoroughly enjoy this wonderful ballet presentation of Peter and the Wolf. --Tami Horiuchi
Acclaimed choreographer Matthew Hart has created a delightful ballet to accompany the ever-popular tale of "Peter and the Wolf." Prokofiev originally composed the piece as a way to introduce children to an orchestra, with each instrument or group of instruments representing a character. The studio recording features Sir Anthony Dowell as the narrator/grandfather and dancers from the prestigious Royal Ballet School. The lively score is performed by the orchestra of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.