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Royal Ballet 2016-17 Plans

Posted on April 19, 2016


The Royal Ballet’s plans for 2016 to 2017 include new works by Crystal Pite (pictured), Liam Scarlett and Wayne McGregor and a new production of Philip Glass’ dance opera Les Enfants Terribles choreographed by Javier De Frutos. The season also marks several anniversaries, including McGregor’s tenth as resident choreographer, 70 years of the company at the Royal Opera House and the 90th birthday celebrations of Sir Peter Wright.

The season opens on September 27, 2016 with Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée. Roberta Marquez returns as a guest artist to dance two farewell performances as the heroine Lise. At the press conference, The Royal Ballet’s artistic director Kevin O’Hare spoke fondly of Fille’s “ribbons and ponies and sunshine”.

Fille is followed by a revival of Kenneth MacMillan’s three-act Anastasia, the story of Anna Anderson, who believed herself to be the only surviving member of the Russian imperial family, who were killed during the Russian revolution. Former Royal Ballet principal Viviana Durante will return to coach the ballet. The revival opens on October 26, with a live cinema screening on November 2.

Wayne McGregor is celebrated in a triple bill opening on November 10, which includes a new one-act ballet to a commissioned score by Steve Reich. This will be performed alongside McGregor’s Chromaand Carbon Life. Dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform alongside The Royal Ballet in Chroma.

The company dance Peter Wright’s production of The Nutcracker for Christmas, opening on November 23 with a live cinema screening on December 8. The Sleeping Beauty returns to the repertory on December 21, marking 70 years since the company reopened the Royal Opera House with this ballet after World War II.

Woolf Works is revived from January 21, with a live cinema screening on February 8. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor and inspired by the life and works of Virginia Woolf, the ballet has just won the Olivier award for outstanding achievement in dance. Alessandra Ferri will return to star in the ballet, with former Royal Ballet principal Mara Galeazzi also dancing some performances.

Crystal Pite’s new work for The Royal Ballet will have its premiere on March 16. It will be a large ensemble ballet to Henryk Górecki’s third symphony. O’Hare said that Pite was the first choreographer he’d offered a commission to: it’s taken five years to get the schedules to work. Pite’s ballet will be performed as part of a triple bill with David Dawson’s The Human Seasons and Christopher Wheeldon’sAfter the Rain.

Jewels, George Balanchine’s 1967 three-act ballet, is revived for its 50th anniversary, with performances from April 1 and a live cinema screening on April 11.

MacMillan’s Mayerling returns to the repertory on April 28. Leanne Benjamin will return to the company to coach the role of Mary Vetsera.

Liam Scarlett’s new ballet has its premiere on May 18. It will be performed in a mixed bill with William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Christopher Wheeldon’s Strapless and Balanchine’s virtuoso Tarantella, a new acquisition for The Royal Ballet. O’Hare said that Wheeldon would return to The Royal Ballet to work “for a month” on Strapless, which had a very mixed reception at its premiere in the current season. O’Hare said Wheeldon would look again at the production and “make it even stronger”.

The season ends with an all-Ashton triple bill of The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite and Armand. Like The Sleeping Beauty, Symphonic Variations was performed in the company’s opening season at the Royal Opera House, and returns in this 70th anniversary season. O’Hare said that it was “probably Ashton’s masterpiece”, adding that he believes that it’s important that it stays in The Royal Ballet’s repertory.

In addition to the main stage performances, The Royal Ballet has commissioned new works from young choreographers Charlotte Edmonds and Robert Binet. Both have been mentored by Wayne McGregor, and will present their works in the Clore Studio Upstairs. McGregor will also create a new work for Chance to Dance, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the education project.

ZooNation’s The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party will be revived for a Christmas season at London’s Roundhouse.

In collaboration with The Royal Opera, the company will stage a new production by Javier De Frutos of Philip Glass’s Les Enfants Terribles, opening on January 7, 2017. The cast will include The Royal Ballet’s Zenaida Yanowsky and Edward Watson, alongside guest dancers. 

Picture: Crystal Pite. Photograph courtesy of The Royal Ballet


Simon Oliver has been production editor of Dancing Times since 2010 and is highly experienced in design across print and online magazine production. Throughout his career, Simon has worked on a diverse range of subjects including music, family history, book collecting and poker.

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