Stage Door News
Toronto: National Ballet of Canada announces its 2019/2020 season
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Today the National Ballet of Canada announced its 2019/2020 season:
November 6-10, 2019
Created during the great Romantic era of ballet, Giselle premiered at Paris Opéra Ballet on June 28, 1841. A haunting tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness, that encapsulates the sensibility of Romanticism. Giselle is the story is of a young peasant girl who is overcome with grief and madness by her lover’s deception. Upon her death, she is transported into the ghostly world of the Wilis, the spirits of betrayed young women.
The title role has always been a touchstone and a proving ground for the world’s greatest prima ballerinas, not simply for the enormous technical demands the choreography poses, but for the intensity and depth of emotional commitment that it requires. The work also affords the Corps de Ballet the opportunity to shine, with the ghostly diagonal procession of the Willis remaining one of the most haunting moodily evocative images in all of ballet.
Choreography and Production:
Sir Peter Wright after the choreography of Jean Coralli and Marius Petipa
Adolphe Adam, revised by Joseph Horovitz
Set and Costume Design:
ORPHEUS ALIVE & CHACONNE
November 15-21, 2019
The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has long fascinated artists of all disciplines. The story of a gifted musician who, against all odds, travels to the underworld to bring his beloved wife back to life only to lose her again because of a moment of doubt. Robert Binet has created a rich body of work characterized by an instinctive elegance, poetic phrasing and conceptual strength. In his latest work, Orpheus Alive, the acclaimed choreographer gives us a fresh re-telling of this tragic tale by casting Orpheus as a woman. We are enveloped in a narrative at once familiar and unsettling, but which is at its heart, a story of first love and first loss. Orpheus Alive also features a commissioned score by acclaimed American composer Missy Mazzoli.
Chaconne is pure dance. Based on the choreography George Balanchine created for a 1963 Hamburg State Opera production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. Chaconne contains some of Balanchine’s most beautiful passages for both pas de deux and ensemble and is an absolute statement of his neo-classical aesthetic, beginning with a dreamy prologue and ending with an opulent series of classical dances.
Orpheus Alive World Premiere
Librettist and Dramaturge:
Set and Costume Design:
ETUDES & PIANO CONCERTO #1 & PETITE MORT
November 27-December 1, 2019
Harald Lander’s Etudes is an exhilarating tribute to the art form of classical dance that traces the development of a ballet class. Beginning with a simple warm-up, the dancers perform a progressively more complex and technically difficult series of exercises. A veritable encyclopedia of ballet technique, each movement, turn, jump, and even foot position in Etudes is carefully revealed for the audience.
Originally created for The Royal Danish Ballet, Lander’s beautifully choreographed sequences mount with excitement culminating in a spectacular display of pure virtuosity. From adagio and pas de deux to the sheer virtuosity of allegro, the ballet culminates in a riveting finale with the entire company on stage.
Piano Concerto #1 is the final section of Alexei Ratmansky’s magisterial Shostakovich Trilogy, a work that premiered in 2013. The ballet as a whole is an homage to the life and work of the renowned Soviet composer and his ceaseless struggles against the dictates of Stalinist ideology. The final section stands on its own as perhaps the most abstract and hopeful of the three segments, with some of the most dynamic and exuberant choreography Ratmansky has yet created.
Jiří Kylián originally created Petite Mort for the 1991 Salzburg Festival to mark the second centenary of the death of Mozart. The work, for six men and six women, is in many ways the quintessence of the great Czech choreographer’s style. Using movements from two of Mozart’s most famous piano concertos, the work masterfully evokes both the intense yearning and the latent eroticism of the music, with the cast dramatizing with both passion and vulnerability the famously ambiguous implications of the work’s title.
Carl Czerny, arranged and orchestrated by Knudäge Riisager
Piano Concerto #1
Petite Mort Company Premiere
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Jiří Kylián, Joop Caboort (Realisation)
December 12, 2019-January 4, 2020
James Kudelka’s vibrant, entertaining, touching and spectacular re-imagining of the timeless Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, has been an indispensible part of the rituals and pleasures of the holiday season since its premiere in 1995. In Kudelka’s re-telling of the well-known story, events are situated in 19th century Russia, where the rhythms of the natural world and rural life provide the backdrop for the wondrous dream journey of Misha and Marie, the brother and sister at the heart of the narrative. As the pair move through an astonishing landscape of ever more fantastic visions, finally arriving at the magical palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy, we come to understand that the dream journey they have been on is also a journey of growth, maturation and the attainment of wisdom.
Choreography and Libretto:
James Kudelka, O.C.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Set and Costume Design:
NEW WORK BY CRYSTAL PITE & CHROMA & MARGUERITE AND ARMAND
February 29-March 1 & March 18-21, 2020
Crystal Pite, the choreographer of Emergence, creates a brand-new work for The National Ballet of Canada to premiere in March 2020. One of the world’s most in-demand dance artists, the British Columbia-born choreographer has astonished and enthralled audiences both at home and abroad with her nuanced, thematically provocative and often haunting work. A world premiere by this enormously gifted artist will be one of the most highly-anticipated events of the 2019/20 season.
Wayne McGregor has created some of the most intellectually challenging and visually ravishing dance works of recent decades. Chroma is a stunning example of his artistry, questioning the very nature of choreographed movement and infusing each moment with an utterly unique and surprising gestural vocabulary.
Frederick Ashton created Marguerite and Armand for Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn in 1963 as a celebration of their unique dance partnership. Set to Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor, the narrative was inspired by the famous novel La Dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils. In his ballet, Ashton concentrates on the tragic life of Parisian courtesan Marguerite and her ill-fated love for the young Armand. Nureyev and Fonteyn last danced the celebrated work in 1973 and it was not danced again until 2000. Rarely performed, the ballet features two of the most dramatically intense roles in the ballet canon and has been danced by some of the world’s most celebrated dancers.
New Work by Crystal Pite World Premiere
Jay Gower Taylor
Joby Talbot and Jack White, The White Stripes
Chroma is produced in association with The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.
Marguerite and Armand Company Premiere
Set and Costume Design:
Original Lighting Design:
John B. Read
ROMEO AND JULIET
March 5-15, 2020
Created to celebrate The National Ballet of Canada’s 60th anniversary in 2011, Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet is a brilliantly imagined interpretation of Shakespeare’s tender and tragic tale of two young lovers and the warring households that keep them apart.
Known especially for his mastery of the classical idiom, Ratmansky is equally adept at employing that idiom for fresh, contemporary effects. Full of bold and emotionally vivid characterization and taking full advantage of the play’s rich theatrical possibilities, Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet finds a natural home in Prokofiev’s famous and achingly affecting score, a work that provides the perfect underpinning for this landmark version of Shakespeare’s timeless, universal tale of youthful, ill-starred love.
Set, Costume and Properties Design:
June 5-21, 2020
To mark her 50th anniversary with The National Ballet of Canada, Artistic Director Karen Kain directs and stages a new production of one of classical ballet’s most seminal and revered works, Swan Lake. Basing her new approach on Erik Bruhn’s landmark version of the ballet, a version she performed to unforgettable acclaim as a dancer, Kain accentuates the romantic core of the ballet and the love story that provides it with its powerful emotional life and which has made the work the enduring classic that it has been for generations of audiences.
With stunning new sets and costumes by renowned designer Gabriela Týlešová and lighting by multi-Tony Award winner Natasha Katz, this fresh and vibrant staging of Swan Lake retains all of the mystery, tragic feeling and rich psychological undercurrents that form such an inextricable part of the ballet’s thematic texture. It also brings its symbolic elements to fuller dramatic life through attentive characterization and an unerring evocation of the inner power and radiance of its narrative and choreography. A fitting celebration of a great ballet and a tribute to and from one of Canadian ballet’s greatest artists.
Directed and Staged by:
Karen Kain, C.C., LL.D., D.Litt., O.Ont. after Erik Bruhn, Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Set, Property and Costume Design:
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