The Australian Ballet has announced that Artistic Director David Hallberg will join the Company on stage in a series of special guest appearances for their production of Kunstkamer. A landmark production for The Australian Ballet, Kunstkamer is one of the most ambitious contemporary dance productions ever undertaken by the Company.
Kunstkamer was originally developed for the pioneering dance company Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) in celebration of its 60th anniversary, by some of the most notable choreographers working today: former NDT House Choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, and NDT Associate Choreographers Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite. This will be the first time the ballet has been performed outside of The Netherlands.
David Hallberg says that “…Kunstkamer will show audiences what else is possible in dance, seen through the most modern and compelling form of expression.”
David is scheduled to appear as a guest artist in the following performances in Sydney:
Friday 29 April 7.30pm, Saturday 30 April 7.30pm, Tuesday 3 May 7.30pm, Wednesday 4 May 7.30pm, Friday 6 May 7.30pm, Saturday 7 May 7.30pm, Monday 9 May 7.30pm, Wednesday 11 May 7.30pm, Friday 13 May 7.30pm, and Saturday 14 May 7.30pm.
Tickets for the final dress rehearsal of Kunstkamer on Thursday 28 April are still available! For more information and to book, click here.
With Anna Karenina finally open in Melbourne and soon due to arrive in Sydney, here are five reasons why you need to see this not to be missed co-production from The Australian Ballet and Joffrey Ballet.
PASSION TO MOVE YOU
The story of Anna, whose life-destroying desire for the handsome and faithless Vronsky is palpable through a series of rapturous pas de deux.
Soloist Imogen Chapman who is dancing the role of Anna says “You really get taken on that journey with Anna and Vronsky. I feel like audiences will really relate to that, and go on this journey with the characters,”
Robyn Hendricks and Callum Linnane, photo Jeff Busby, courtesy of The Australian Ballet
GLAMOUR AND GRANDEUR
The costumes by veteran theatre designer Tom Pye capture the elegance of Imperial Russian society with luxurious fabrics and jewel tones.
A BALLET LIKE A MOVIE
Chicago’s PBS station, WWTW, called Possokhov’s Anna Karenina “A magnificent classical ballet in the guise of a great work of modern cinema.” Pye’s opulent yet minimal sets and projections by Finn Ross (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child) – which include footage of the dancers taken backstage in real time – conjure ballrooms, bedrooms, a race track and that fateful train station, lending a filmic scale and atmosphere to this immersive piece of theatre.
Robyn Hendricks and Callum Linnane, photo Jeff Busby, courtesy of The Australian Ballet
Teaming up with the Joffrey Ballet to co-produce Anna Karenina meant that the ballet could have specially commissioned music by multi-award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky. Inspired by Tolstoy, Demutsky has created a sweeping, textured score with all the scale and grandeur of his countrymen Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. A mezzo soprano will appear at key moments to amplify Anna’s emotion through song.
THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME
A very human heroine, Anna holds our sympathy even as she flounders into disaster. She adores, she suffers, she is torn between her life and the love of her life – no wonder actors from Greta Garbo to Vivien Leigh to Keira Knightly have been attracted to the role. We can’t wait to see our brilliant dancers embody Anna.
Robyn Hendricks as Anna, photo Jeff Busby, courtesy of The Australian Ballet
Tickets for final dress rehearsal performance of Anna Karenina on Monday 4 April at the Sydney Opera House are available now. Click here to secure yours.
Created specifically for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1994 by choreographer Angelin Preljocal, there are countless reasons why Le Parc has become a timeless classic.
When desire is part of the game, the carte du Tendre is also a card to play. Love at first sight and gambles come together in the groves of Le Parc. Marivaux like, Preljocaj’s choreography – created in 1994 for the Paris Opera Ballet – reshuffles the cards for the game of love and chance.
Female desire (Così fan tutte), debauchery (Don Giovanni) and true love (Die Zauberflöte): Mozart’s scores form the soundtrack for the century of Laclos, Sade, Crébillon and Vivant Denon. In Le Parc, Mozart is Preljocaj’s musical accomplice: concertos, quartets and symphonies give rhythm to a work that gives form to the desires of the heart and mind.
Be it the gardens of the carte du Tendre – the landscape of love charted out by Madame de Scudéry or the royal alleys at Versailles where Le Nôtre created the ideal backdrop for all things playful, the garden is above all a secret one when it comes to love.
“Divertimento”, “A Musical Joke”, “Serenade”, “A little Night Music”: the pages from Mozart selected by Angelin Preljocaj evoke hours of the day and night – moments in a sophisticated art of loving. Music and dance echo one another: in a conversation transposed into sound, a quartet of gardeners reply to a string quartet. Set to an electronic score by Goran Vejvoda, these little cupids guide the dancers along in a timeless game.
The society of the age of Enlightenment has given way to an entertainment based one: “The world parades and surges across the small screen”, says Preljocaj, “and we remain transfixed”. And yet, as the French writer Philippe Sollers says, the 18th century was a “forward” one. With Le Parc, the choreographer draws on the source of French libertinage. Dance finds new momentum that brings into perspective the games of seduction of our times.
“A masterpiece. There are dances that entertain us, and then there are a few that have the power to truly move us.” Alexandra Desvignes, BACHTRACK
Join ballet aficionado Leo Schofield for a pre-screening presentation of Le Parc on 18 July at Palace Cinemas Verona to hear why Leo thinks Le Parc is a masterpiece of dance.
The Australian Ballet School will soon be returning to Sydney to present Butterfly, their first new production in 18 years.
A modern fairy tale told through movement, Butterfly will feature 100 full-time students of The Australian Ballet School, showcasing the next generation of emerging Australian dance artists.
Choreographed by former graduate Lucas Jervies and created in the studios of The Australian Ballet School, Butterfly beautifully blends themes of realism and magic with classic and contemporary techniques. Designed to appeal to all ages, the original production will be brought to life by the extraordinary artistry of pre-professional dancers and will transport audiences to another world through the transformative sets and costumes by revered designer Hugh Colman.
Set to the joyous score Le Papillon (The Butterfly) by Jacques Offenbach, Butterfly is a tale that follows a young boy who vies for the attention of the smartest girl in school. On an excursion to the butterfly enclosure at the Zoo, they immerse themselves in the kingdom of butterflies, momentarily forgetting the world outside and embarking on a magical journey.
Butterfly will take flight at The Concourse in Chatswood for three performances on 2 – 3 July and we are thrilled to be presenting opportunities for members to engage with creatives from the School.
Join us for pre-performance drinks in The Concourse Theatre Foyer. Catch up with other members over a glass of bubbles and chat with Lucas Jervies about the process of creating Butterfly for the ABS before watching the matinee performance.
Watch half an hour of student from the ABS rehearse on stage at The Concourse before joining us for an intimate dinner hosted by Friends Chairperson Greg Khoury. While enjoying a delicious Chinese banquet in a private dining room at Mama Mulan, Greg will lead discussion with Lisa, Lucas and Hugh.
Can’t attend the next Ballet? In a different city? Ballet fans across the world can now get virtual front-row seats to the live-streamed performances by The Australian Ballet.
After the successful launch of Live on Ballet TV earlier in the year during Summertime at the Ballet, The Australian Ballet have just announced David Hallberg’s inaugural season will be available to stream and share across the globe.
Over the coming months, see the live-streamed performances of New York Dialects, Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet and Harlequinade from the comfort of your own home and enjoy bonus commentary from David Hallberg, plus live interviews and behind the scenes footage.
Tickets to individual ballets are just $25 each, or for even better value buy a season package of all four ballets for only $80.
New York Dialects unveils a new work by the American contemporary choreographer Pam Tanowitz – alongside two acclaimed masterworks, Serenade and The Four Temperaments, from George Balanchine.
Watch in real time at 7.15pm AEST Friday 11 June, or at your convenience until 5.30pm AEST Sunday 13 June.
Anna Karenina | 24 June
Leo Tolstoy’s immortal novel comes to life in this epic ballet of cinematic proportions. Heartbreak, tragedy, love, lust and betrayal are all at the centre of Anna Karenina’s undoing.
Watch in real time at 7.15pm AEST Thursday 24 June, or at your convenience until 5.30pm AEST Saturday 26 June.
Romeo and Juliet | 2 September
Experience the timeless and heart breaking classic Romeo and Juliet. John Cranko’s epic version of Shakespeare’s most heart-rending love story reaches new heights under Artistic Director, David Hallberg.
Watch in real time at 7.15pm AEST Thursday 2 September, or at your convenience until 5.30pm AEST Saturday 4 September.
Harlequinade | 16 September
Created over a century ago but lost to history, Harlequinade is a long-lost comedy from the creator of Swan Lake. Bursting with colour, madcap characters and hilarious hijinks, Alexei Ratmansky’s staging of Marius Petipa’s Harlequinade is the perfect family treat.
Watch in real time at 7.15pm AEST Thursday 16 September, or at your convenience until 5.30pm AEST Saturday 18 September.
During The Friends farewell event to David McAllister on Wednesday 28 April, David was surprised when the event took a turn and became “David McAllister: This Is Your Life”.
Celebrating David McAllister AM was a joyous occasion including many special moments. The day of tribute culminated in the Royal Academy of Dance bestowing the internationally coveted Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award upon David McAllister AM in a touching ceremony.
“David McAllister: This Is Your Life” was hosted by Elizabeth Toohey, current Ballet Mistress of The Australian Ballet and long-term dance partner and close personal friend of David’s. Elizabeth delighted David with a line-up of guests either in person or by video who recounted charming and cheeky stories from David’s extraordinary career.
They included Don McAllister (David’s father) and Dianne Morris (David’s sister); Darren Spowart (an ex-dancer of The Australian Ballet and childhood friend of David); Maina Gielgud AO (former Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet and Ballet Director); Ian McRae AO and Richard Evans (past General Managers of The Australian Ballet); Graeme Murphy AO and Janet Vernon AM (internationally renowned Australian dance choreographers); and Wesley Enoch AM (David’s partner and outgoing Director of the Sydney Festival); followed by a message of Farewell from the Company (The Australian Ballet at Sydney Opera House).
The biggest surprise of the event was the presentation to David of the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, recognised internationally as one of the most sought-after in the world of dance andthe highest honour from the Royal Academy of Dance. Bestowed in recognition of David’s dedication to The Australian Ballet for 40 years and for his wider contributions to the world of ballet including the Royal Academy of Dance where, in 2005, he was elected Vice President. Past recipients of the Award have included Sir Frederick Ashton, Dame Marie Rambert DBE, Rudolf Nureyev, Dame Gillian Lynne DBE, Sir Peter Wright CBE, Sir Matthew Bourne OBE, Maina Gielgud AO and Carlos Acosta CBE.
The Award was presented by DameDarcey Bussell DBE and Audrey Nicholls OAM FRAD on behalf of the Royal Academy of Dance. Watch Dame Darcy announce David as the recipient of the award below. Bussell is widely acclaimed as one of the great British ballerinas, having been a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet and guest artist with many leading companies around the world including The Australian Ballet. She retired from ballet in 2007, is a former judge of BBC TV dance contest Strictly Come Dancing and President of the Royal Academy of Dance. Dame Darcey said “I am absolutely thrilled that David is receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, the highest honour the Royal Academy of Dance can bestow, given in recognition of outstanding service to the art of dance.”
This joyous celebration of David also raised over $150,000 for the McAllister Fund, ensuring David’s legacy of generosity will continue well into the future.
David spoke with ABC Radio National’s Fran Kelly about the award and what it means to him. Listen here.