MacMillan’s full-length fairytale ballet is a fabulous combination of classical and modern in story, in dance and in design. The choreography is in part a tribute to the Imperial Russian ballet of Petipa, with dazzling solos, pas de deux and ensembles set in a fantasy world of myth and magic. Not staged by The Royal Ballet since 1996, there will be debuts throughout in some of the most demanding roles of the whole repertory. There is glorious choreography for the young and beautiful Princess Rose and her true-love prince. MacMillan also encapsulated the most extraordinary physical portrayals of character in the greedy and selfish Princess Épine – a wonderful variation on the wicked fairy of legend – the kings from the four corners of the earth and an especially wise Fool. The themes of the story are beautifully paired with Britten’s music, itself an orchestral tour de force of colour and atmosphere to be conducted by Barry Wordsworth with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. From the ethereal and innocent to the most visceral and sensual, this is a storybook world with adult charms. And as a bravura work to bring together the world-class talents of The Royal Ballet, it is a revival with a special magic all its own.