The launch of the 2020 Season has formed a clear promise from The Australian Ballet; a promise from the company to transform and transcend any creative or artistic boundaries in next year’s season. The departure of much-loved Artistic Director David McAllister has resulted in the creation of an exciting season that pays homage to his dedication to continuously push and innovate The Australian Ballet over the past two decades. In a fitting manner, the theme of the 2020 Season has been named “Limitless Possibilities,” with the company promising to look within and push themselves to a realm “where the possibilities are endless.”
The Happy Prince
Headlining our 2020 Season is Graeme Murphy and Kim Carpenter’s imaginative new ballet, The Happy Prince, inspired by the classic Oscar Wilde tale of the same name. This colourful celebration of humanity with a modernised Aussie flair sends a message of kindness to all ages, a message decorated within Murphy’s innovative choreography. This all-Australian world premiere debuts an original score from the renowned composer Christopher Gordon, who has had great successes on his past projects, such as his composing of the score to the film Mao’s Last Dancer. The debut of this ballet has placed our very own Australian Ballet at the world’s centre stage, and we can promise that all eyes will be on our Opera House next summer.
The Company will be broadcasting their own innovative and artistic voice with Volt. This program features two works from the visionary Wayne McGregor and a new piece from The Australian Ballet’s Alice Topp. McGregor has built his reputation for experimentation and distinct artistry over the past decade, and continues to push all preconceived notions of how dance should be. Alice Topp, recent recipient of the Helpmann Award for her work in Aurum last year, will present her new work, Logos, a co-commission by Studio Wayne McGregor, The Australian Ballet and Dance@The Grange. Topp’s involvement will ensure Volt will embody her innovative and artistic voice, which combined with McGregor’s Chroma and DYAD, will see Volt light up a new style of expression. This dynamic duo is leaning over the edge to a new era of cunning change, promising us a performance for the books.
An ambitious crossover of cinematic drama and the poise of ballet. The 2020 Season welcomes Anna Karenina, an epic tragedy of a woman who follows her heart and desires into her demise. The performance flaunts every asset of the current Australian Ballet, with exquisite costumes, dramatic staging, stellar technique but, the impact of the beautiful story cannot be underestimated.The strict, high society of Imperial Russia looks down upon a woman who follows love, thus, Anna is heartlessly excluded as she desperately tries to escape an empty marriage, with her only respite being in a fiery affair with a handsome young officer, Vronsky. Former principal dancer of Bolshoi Ballet and San Francisco Ballet Yuri Possokhov takes a seat in the choreographer’s chair to reinvent Tolstoy’s immortal novel. Adding to the drama of the spectacle, the performance will also feature a mezzo soprano singing live on stage. The performance combines elements that have not yet been related on our stage, perfectly forming a gripping story of agony and hope.
The Australian Ballet sets the stage for a vividly light and dramatic story of Molto next season, focusing on the bright, passionate and chaotic elements of the art form. Molto offers three works, two by The Australian Ballet resident choreographers Stephen Baynes and Tim Harbour and one by Frederick Ashton. Ashton, a giant of 20th Century dance, creates a playful story of love in A Month in the Country, where Natalia seeks excitement outside of her boring marriage, encouraging the advances of an older admirer. Upon engaging, she realises her true desires are directed towards her son’s tutor, but this last pursuit is not void of competition. Chopin’s sounds and Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs set the mood for the eloquent pas de deux, framed by all the show’s beautiful elements partnering in harmony. The two works that follow consequentially are created under the keen eye of our two resident choreographers, Baynes and Harbour. Harbour’s Squander in Glory is a fast and sharp movement piece for 14 dancers, with Kelvin Ho’s elusive mirrored set creating an eye-tricking backdrop for the piece. The final act, and the namesake of the ballet, Baynes’ Molto Vivace, is a light-hearted frolic of flirting and manners, before the performance morphs into a mayhem of colour. The flavourful performance of complex emotions has brought a transformed tradition into a modern era.
The Season finishes with a bright stroke of colour in Harlequinade, a comedic peformance with commedia dell’arte characters who stylistically express themselves through steps of ballet. Harlequin and Columbine are in love, but as Columbine is set to marry an older and richer fellow, she is locked up by her father’s loyal servant, Pierrot. Pierrot’s wife, however, is sympathetic to the young couple, freeing Columbine as Harlequin is given a magical slap stick by the Good Fairy. In a extravagant spectacle of movement and colour, Harlequin aims to win Columbine’s hand through love and magic. In this Melbourne-exclusive season, Harlequinade will charm its viewers and is set to return to it’s former popularity from before the 1917 Russian Revolution.