Posted on March 13, 2013
The Royal Ballet has announced its plans for the 2013-14 season, with two new full-length productions and four world premieres, including Christopher Wheeldon’s new ballet The Winter’s Tale. You can read artistic director Kevin O’Hare’s exclusive introduction to the season here.
The season opens on September 30 with Carlos Acosta’s new production of Don Quixote, with set and costumes by award-winning designer Tim Hatley and lighting by Hugh Vanstone. Martin Yates has prepared a new orchestration of the Minkus score, and will conduct all performances. As well as creating the production, Acosta will dance the leading role of Basilio.
Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet returns on October 19, followed by a Triple Bill of Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, a new work by David Dawson and MacMillan’s The Rite of Spring. Dawson’s new ballet is set to a new score by composer Greg Haines, with designs by Eno Henze and Yiemiko Takeshima.
From October 17, The Royal Ballet will collaborate with the Royal Opera, dancing in the ballet scene of a new production of Verdi’s opera Les Vêpres Siciliennes. Directed by Stefan Herheim and conducted by Antonio Pappano, this co-production with the Royal Danish Opera and Ballet will include 32 dancers, with four principals from The Royal Ballet and four from The Royal Danish Ballet, plus members of The Royal Ballet Upper School. The choreography will be by Royal Ballet principal Johan Kobborg. Herheim’s production relocates the opera from 13th-century Sicily to Paris in 1855, the place and time that the opera was written.
The Nutcracker and George Balanchine’s Jewels both return for Christmas, followed by Giselle from January 18, 2014. American Ballet Theatre principal and former Royal Ballet student Cory Stearns will make dance in The Nutcracker, partnering Lauren Cuthbertson. His guest appearances follow Royal Ballet principal’s visit to dance in Le Corsaire with ABT this June. Liam Scarlett’s Hansel and Gretel returns to the Linbury Studio Theatre from January 23 to 28.
Back on the main stage, from February 7, 2014, the company dance a Triple Bill of Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody, a new work by Wayne McGregor and MacMillan’s Gloria, which marks the centenary of the start of World War I. McGregor’s new work is set to Bach’s The Art of Fugue, with designs by Tauba Auerbach. The Sleeping Beauty returns on February 22.
Christopher Wheeldon’s new evening-length ballet The Winter’s Tale, based on Shakespeare’s play, has its premiere on April 10. The production reunites the team from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with choreography by Wheeldon, a new score by Joby Talbot, designs by Bob Crowley and lighting design by Natasha Katz. The ballet is a coproduction with the National Ballet of Canada.
From May 14, the company dance a programme of Balanchine’s Serenade, Scarlett’s Sweet Violets and Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse. The season ends with another Triple Bill, featuring a world premiere by Alastair Marriott, Jerome Robbins’ The Concert and Ashton’s The Dream.
Over summer 2014, The Royal Ballet will tour to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. During the 2013-14 season, five ballets will be screened as part of the Royal Opera House live cinema season.
At the press conference announcing the season, Kevin O’Hare said that the 2012-13 season has achieved ticket sales of 98 per cent, with strong sales for Mixed Bills as well as full-length productions. He had hoped to include Ashton’s Symphonic Variations in the 2013-14 season, but had to postpone it due to scheduling difficulties with the Ashton experts who would stage the ballet. He hopes to revive more Ashton one-act and full-length ballets in future.
Tony Hall’s successor as Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House will be announced in late March.
Picture: Brian Maloney and Melissa Hamilton in Wayne McGregor’s Chroma. Photograph: Bill Cooper, courtesy of The Royal Opera House