Sweeney Todd (ballet)

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The ballet Sweeney Todd, Op. 68 by Malcolm Arnold was completed in 1959.

It is a one-act ballet based on the legend of Sweeney Todd. The scenario and original choreography were by John Cranko and the scenery and costumes by Alix Stone in the style of Victorian toy theatres.[1]

It was first performed by the Royal Ballet touring company on 10 December 1959, at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, with the Royal Opera House Orchestra conducted by John Lanchbery.

The dancers who created the roles in the first production were Donald Britton (Sweeney Todd), Johaar Mosaval (Tobias), Elizabeth Anderton (Johanna), Desmond Doyle (Mark Ingestre), Ian Hamilton (Colonel Jeffrey).[2]

Concert suites[edit]

In 1984, the composer David Ellis compiled a 20-minute concert suite, Op. 68a from the ballet in collaboration with the composer.[3] The suite was first performed on 19 June 1990 at Bristol University with the University Chamber Orchestra.

A shortened version of the suite was arranged for brass band by Phillip Littlemore. It had its first performance on 22 October 2006 at the Malcolm Arnold Festival, Derngate in Northampton by the Rushden Windmill Band led by Richard Graves.


  1. ^ Percival J. Theatre in my blood - a biography of John Cranko. The Herbert Press Ltd, London, 1983.
  2. ^ Bland A. The Royal Ballet – the first 50 years. Threshold Books, London, 1981.
  3. ^ Burton-Page P. Liner notes for Conifer Classics recording CDCF224 (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley), 1993.

External links[edit]