This morning all 27 pages of press announcement landed through the door together with a neat box, covered in classy b&w photographs, about the 2000/2001 ROH season. The box contains a substantial booklet about the new season (the front cover appears above) and a CD sampler of some of the music associated with the next season.
The ballets on next season, and their performance dates, have been available for a week or two now, both here and on the ROH site, but much in the press release I don't believe is available electronically yet and I've quickly scanned it in - do forgive typos etc.
There is useful stuff about the Linbury and Clore Studio Theatres, Revised pricing and booking (togther with price comparisons), Education and an introduction to the season by Anthony Dowell. The only thing omitted from the information below are the pages specifically about opera - that's for another site to sort.
This is a long posting, so long I have had to slit it into two - and to respond to it will make it even more unwieldy: so I'm setting up another thread for discussion of what is in here.
I now need to go off and read it for myself!
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE
THE ROYAL BALLET AND THE ROYAL OPERA
THE ROYAL BALLET 2000-2001
An Introduction to The Royal Ballet 2000/2001 Season
by Anthony Dowell, Director of The Royal Ballet
This is my last season as Director of The Royal Ballet and I am privileged to include in it some of the works with which I have been most closely associated as both dancer and Director.
The season opens with Swan Lake, perhaps the best known of all the great 19th-century classics which are the cornerstone of any classical company’s repertory. The production, with designs by Yolanda Sonnabend, was the first I undertook as Director of the Company in 1987. It is one of the five full-length ballets in the 2000/2001 Season, which will also include Ondine, The Nutcracker, La FilIe mal gardée, Romeo and Juliet and Giselle.
The two most important creative influences during my career with the Company, which spans over 40 years, have undoubtedly been Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. I have included in this season several of their ballets that hold a particular significance for me: the roles of Oberon in The Dream and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet represent my first close association with both ballets’ choreographers. I am also very pleased to revive, after a long absence, MacMillan’s Triad, a ballet he created in 1972 for me with Wayne Eagling and Antoinette Sibley.
Other works by Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan for this season include further performances of MacMillan’s Gloria and Ashton’s Marguerite and A rmand, which made such a welcome return to the repertory in March 2000 while, La Va/se, not seen at Covent Garden since 1996, joins Symphonic Variations in a mixed programme in December. Finally Ashton’s The Dream will form part of a double bill in May, with MacMillan’s Song of the Earth in its first revival for ten years.
I have also included two works by Antony Tudor: Lilac Garden, which Tudor revived for the Company in 1968, and Shadowplay, which he created a year earlier with myself, Derek Rencher and Merle Parke in the central roles.
The two new works this season will come from Michael Corder, using music by Richard Rodney Bennett, and Ashley Page, who has created 14 works for the Company during my time as Director, ‘with a commissioned score from Orlando Gough.
Also represented are two other great masters who have created indelible images for world ballet: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. During my career I had the great good fortune to be rehearsed by both of them, and it gives me great pleasure to include their work in the season: Robbins’s The Concert and, as part of ‘Stravinsky Staged’, a programme of ballets set to music by Stravinsky, Balanchine’s Agon. This programme will also include Fokine’s The Firebird and Bronislava Nijinska’s L es Noces, a true masterpiece from the Diaghilev era.
Guest conductors for the 2000/200 1 Season include Alexander Polianichko, Graham Bond, John Lanchbery, Emmanuel Plasson, Evgenii Svetlanov, Valeri Ovsianikov, and John Carewe. Andrea Quinn, Royal Ballet Music Director, will conduct all other performances.
Guest Artists appearing with The Royal Ballet during the 2000/200 1 Season will include Principal Guest Artist Sylvie Guillem, and Roberto Bolle, Nicolas Le Riche, Ethan Stiefel, Irek Mukhamedov and Igor Zelensky. Tamara Rojo joins The Royal Ballet from English National Ballet as a Principal dancer and Johan Persson joins the Company from the National Ballet of Canada as a First Soloist.
In June 2001 the Company will undertake a tour to the East Coast of the USA, returning to the Royal Opera House for a two-week summer season in July, presented once again by Victor Hochhauser, this brings my final season to a close.
In the 15 years I have been Director, I have had the great pleasure of working with many wonderful and inspirational people, both on stage and behind the scenes. I would like to thank them all for the support they have given me and to extend a warm welcome to Ross Stretton, who succeeds me as Director in 2001. I wish him every possible success as he prepares to lead this great Company forward through the next phase of its history.
THE ROYAL BALLET
Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
20, 23, 25, 26, 27 October,
1, 4, 8, 21, 22 November at 7.3Opm / 11 November,
2 December at 2pm and 7pm
Sponsored (1987) by The Linbury Trust
The season opens on 20 October with Swan Lake. The dramatic love story, of a princess turned into a swan by an evil magician, is danced to one of Tchaikovsky’s most memorable scores with timeless choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov and Fabergé-inspired designs by Yolanda Sonnabend.. Anthony Dowell’s production, set in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, was last performed at Covent Garden in 1997. Conductors Alexander Polianichko and Aalrea Quinn will share the performances.
SHADOWPLAY, NEW CORDER BALLET, MARGUERITE AND ARMAN
Antony Tudor, Michael Corder, Frederick Ashton
28 October at 7pm / 31 October,
2, 6, 13 November at 7.3Opm
Programme supported (2000) by Mr and Mrs Thomas G. Lynch
Additional support to the Michael Corder ballet from The Drogheda Circle
A new ballet by Michael Corder will form the centrepiece for the first of five mixed programmes this season. Corder’s production of Cinderella for English National Ballet won him both the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards when it was first staged in 1996. In 1999 his other Prokofiev staging, Romeo and Juliet, was performed by the Norwegian National Ballet, and his one-act work Masquerade formed part of The Royal Ballet’s ‘Dance Bites’ tour. His new work for 2000 has music by Richard Rodney Bennett with designs by Anthony Ward and lighting by John B. Read.
The programme also features a revival of Antony Tudor’s Shadouplay, set to music by Charles Koechlin its first revival since 1984. Strongly influenced by the choreographer’s fascination with eastern philosophy, the ballet has as its major figure the Boy with Matted Hair, originally created for Anthony Dowell, and has its origins in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. This progranime will be completed by further performances of Ashton’s celebrated Marguerite and A rmand, an adaptation of Dumas’ La Dame aux came’lias, the story of the doomed, turbulent passion between a courtesan and her young, idealistic lover. Graham Bond conducts this programme.
15, 16, 23, 28, November,
6, 7, 11 December at 7.3Opm / 9 December at 1pm
Revival sponsored (1988) by The Jean Sainsbury Royal Opera House Fund
The Royal Ballet begins the 75th birthday celebrations of composer Hans Werner Henze with Ondine, successfully revived at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in July 1999 and now in its first performances at Covent Garden for over ten years. Frederick Ashton, on the recommendation of William Walton, commissioned Henze in 1956 and he, Ashton and the designer Lila de Nobili worked closely over a two-year period to bring Ashton’s last full-length ballet to fruition. This love story is set in a mythical, medieval kingdom by the sea. Imbued with the supernatural, the ballet tells the story of the playful and mischievous water sprite Ondine, who falls in love with a mortal and, finally, at the command of the Lord of the Sea, is sent to destroy him. Andrea Quinn conducts.
LA VALSE, SYMPHONIC VARIATIONS, LILAC GARDEN, GLORIA
Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, Kenneth MacMillan
1, 4, 12, 14, 15, 20 December at 7.3Opm
Programme sponsored (2000) by The Friends of Covent Garden
This programme includes two works by Frederick Ashton. La Va/se was created in 1958 and last performed by The Royal Ballet in 1997. Set to Ravel’s score originally commissioned for the Ballets Russes in 1919, La Va/se is a celebration of corps de ballet virtuosity. It is complemented by one of Ashton’s greatest masterpieces, Symphonic Variations with music by César Franck and luminous designs by Sophie Fedorovitch.
Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden receives its first revival since 1968. Set to music by Ernest Chausson, Lilac Garden was created by Tudor for Ballet Rambert in 1936. This intimate work reveals Tudor’s increasing interest in developing a choreographic language that shows the psychological motivation for his protagonists’ actions through the story of a young woman who must say farewell to her lover on the eve of her arranged marriage to a man she does not love.
Completing the programme is Kenneth MacMillan’s profoundly moving Gloria, set to Francis Poulenc’s Gloria in D major. This powerful yet elegiac work mourns the waste of young lives in the trenches during the First World War. Emmanuel Plasson conducts.
Lev Ivanov and Peter Wright
2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, 15, 16, 19, 20 January at 7.3Opm / 13 January at 7pm / 23, 27, 28,
29 December, 6 January at 2pm and 7pm
Revival sponsored (1999) by The Friends of Covent Garden
Peter Wright’s revised staging of The Nutcracker returns to the repertory for the Christmas season. The story, based on Hoffmann’s tale, tells how Drosselmeyer, a mysterious magician who makes clocks and mechanical toys, breaks the spell which has turned his nephew into a wooden nutcracker doll. Tchaikovsky’s sparkling score will be conducted by Evgenii Svetlanov and Andrea Quinn.
A FILLE MAL GARDE
18, 23, 26 January, 13, 21, 24 February, 5 March at 7.3Opm / 10 February at 2pm and 7pm/ 3
March at 2pm / 10 March at 7pm
First performed in 1960, Frederick Ashton’s version of La Fille mal gardée receives its first performances in the reopened Royal Opera House. This charming romantic comedy, danced to a magical score by Ferdinand Hérold arranged by John Lanchbery, combines some of Ashton ‘s wittiest choreography with an equal measure of his most radiant writing in the pas de deux for the lovers Lise and Colas and clever references to traditional English dances. Performances of the ballet at the Royal Festival Hall in 1998/99 introduced five new dancers to the role of Lise. The classic designs are by Osbert Lancaster. John Lanchbery conducts.
ROMEO AND ULIE
2, 7, 15, 23, 26 February, 1, 27 March, 10 April at 7.3Opm / 16 April at 2.3Opm and 7.3Opm / 17
February, 24 March at 2pm and 7pm
Revival sponsored (2001) by The Friends of Covent Garden
Danced to Sergey Prokofiev’s passionate, brooding score, Kenneth MacMillan’s first full-length ballet, Romeo and Juliet, receives its first revival at Covent Garden since 1996. Based on Shakespeare’s great tragedy, the ballet is a haunting and provocative study of the nature of love in a world governed by factionalism and division. Designs are by Nicholas Georgiadis and lighting by John B. Read. Andrea Quinn conducts.
TRIAD, NEW PAGE BALLET, THE CONCERT
Kenneth MacMillan, Ashley Page, Jerome Robbins
7, 8, 21, 22, 28, 30 March at 7.3Opm
Kenneth MacMillan’s Triac4 receiving its first revival since 1976 ,is set to Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto and has designs by Peter Unsworth. A disturbing study of sexual psychology, it portrays the rivalry and interplay between two close, possibly incestuous, brothers and a woman who enters their lives.
Central to the evening will be a new ballet by Ashley Page, set to music by Page’s frequent collaborator Orlando Gough. Page’s Fearful Symmetries won the 1995 Laurence Olivier Award for Choreography and his Hidden Variables was the first new work presented in the reopened Royal Opera House.
The evening will be completed by Jerome Robbins’s delightfully humorous The Concert, which portrays with satirical glee the thoughts and fantasies of the members of an audience listening to a recital of Chopin’s piano music. The costumes are designed by Irene Sharaff. Andrea Quinn conducts.
Marius Petipa after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot
6, 7, 11, 17, 23, 30 April, 7, 10 May at 7.3Opm / 14 April at 2pm and 7pm /
5 May at 7pm
First produced in 1841 at the Paris Opéra, Giselle is one of the most famous and poignant ballets of the Romantic era. Set in a medieval Rhineland village, the story tells of Giselle, a gentle peasant girl who is driven to her death when deceived by her aristocratic lover Albrecht. Filled with remorse, Albrecht visits her moonlit grave where he is condemned to death by ghostly spirits. However, Giselle’s love transcends death and protects Albrecht until the safety of the dawn. This production, sensitively staged by Peter Wright with evocative designs by John F. MacFarlane, captures both the folldoric and supernatural aspects of the ballet. Valeri Ovsianikov conducts.
Mikhail Fokine, George Balanchine, Bronislava Nijinska
25, 26, April, 2, 8, 9 May at 7.3Opm / 28 April at 2pm and 7pm
Few composers exerted quite such an influence on 20th century dance as Igor Stravinsky, and this mixed bill celebrates his achievement by presenting three seminal works to his epoch-making scores. The Firebird, was commissioned by Serge Diaghilev and choreographed by Mikhail Fokine. Agon, a product of the composer’s long-standing collaboration with George Balanchine, receives its first revival for ten years. To finish the evening Bronislava Nijinska’s 1923 masterpiece L es No ces, combines Igor Stravinsky’s exhilarating score with Nijinska’s depiction of the rituals that take place at a Russian peasant wedding. John Carewe conducts this programme.
THE DREAM, SONG OF THE EARTH
Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan
19, 23, 25 May at 7pm / 26 May at 2pm and 7pm / 27 May at 3pm
Last performed at Covent Garden in 1990, MacMillan’s Song of the Earth will form a double bill with Ashton’s The Dream. Song cf the Earth is set to Mahler’s great song cycle Das Lied von der Erc4 the composer’s poignant farewell to the joy and beauty of the world, which uses setting of ancient Chinese poems. In this ballet, music, poetry and choreography combine to show that whilst our individual lives are short, the earth is an eternal process of renewal. MacMillan’s imagery captures the essence and atmosphere of the poems and matches the elegiac beauty of Mahler’s score. In distinct contrast, The Dream is a narrative ballet based on Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set to Mendelssohn’s much-loved incidental music arranged by John Lanchbery.
(opera season pages omitted)