In June 2024 the National Ballet of Japan will present Carl Davis’ Aladdin with the Tokyo Philharmonic at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, conducted by Paul Murphy, and choreographed by Sir David Bintley. Davis’ evocative score, which incorporates elements from both Indian and Chinese classical traditions, was first created for Robert Cohan and Scottish Ballet in 2000.

Bintley created this new version of Aladdin to launch his first season in Tokyo as Artistic Director, where it played to packed houses, sparking another Japanese revival in 2011. It received its UK premiere with Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2013, followed by a US tour with Houston Ballet and a Tokyo revival in 2016. Davis described his 126-minute score for large orchestra, recorded by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017, as follows:

Every aspect of the story suggested a dance. The strong characters, the roguish but ambitious Aladdin, the power crazed and sinister Magician and the dreamy Princess who will reveal great courage…there are extended pure dance sequences: the cave of jewels is a set of virtually independent solos, the Court entertainment and several soli and pas de deux and the Princess. The Chinese and Near-Eastern elements can be suggested by, on the one hand, melodies based on the Chinese pentatonic scale and on the other, the drone and modes of the Indian Raga.

Ballet was a major creative preoccupation of the last decade of Davis’ career when he created four full-length works: Nijinsky (2016) Chaplin, The Tramp (2019), The Great Gatsby (2019) and, finally, Le Fantôme et Christine with Derek Deane, which premiered at the Shanghai Ballet in May 2023. In December 2023 De Dutch Don’t Dance Division revived Thom Stuart and Rinus Sprong’s Escher-inspired production of Alice in Wonderland in The Hague – his 1995 ballet ‘after Tchaikovsky’ that has received over 150 performances worldwide. 

‘A full-blown piece of three-act splendour, originally choreographed by BRB director David Bintley in Japan in 2008, it looks absolutely astonishing; in fact its real star is set designer Dick Bird, who creates scene after scene of retina-ravishing beauty… Carl Davis’s supple, fluid score resonates with Eastern influence.’

The Telegraph (Laura Thompson), 19 February 2013


‘Carl Davis’ score has cinematic sweep and touches of Ravel, with lots of scope for dancing.’

The Independent (Zoë Anderson), 18 February 2013


‘It tells the story from the Arabian Nights with gusto, packed with incident and full of dancing. The music, by Carl Davis, is reworked from a score he wrote in 2011 for Scottish ballet. It sounds big-scale, filmie and is never short of a resounding climax…;

The Sunday Times (David Dougill), 3 March 2013


‘…[the score] has a richness that suits the fullness of movement, and is suggestive of the Orient without hammering the point home.’

Dance Europe (Diarmaid O’Meara), 1 March 2013


‘…Carl Davis has produced a tub-thumping, full-blooded score…’

Sunday Express (Jeffrey Taylor), 24 March 2013


‘David Bintley’s Aladdin is a magic carpet ride to a world of Oriental enchantment; a ballet of vivid escapism where every aspect of dance jigsaws together in a piece of well-honed perfection. Choreographed to Carl Davis’ celebrated score, it is a dazzle of delights.’

The Plymouth Herald (Roger Malone), 8 March 2013


‘…a magnificent and magical production…Carl Davis really does use every section of BRB’s orchestra in a sweeping score packed with beautiful themes… The score is simply a modern classic and as I listened I could envisage it being use as themes for other shows – maybe film or television – because of its rich content and melodic variety.’

Western Morning News (Su Carroll), 8 March 2013


‘….[with] Davis’s vibrant score, it turns into an engrossing delight.’

The Newcastle Journal (Dick Godfrey), 16 March 2013