27 April – 15 May // Dress Rehearsal 26 April Sydney Opera House
In an exploration of movement, and a new, sensual language of ports de bras, this elegant 19th century classic Raymonda is combined with the fierce attack of Artifact Suite by William Forsythe is set to spark innovation through a study of tradition.
Artifact Suite From the strict, prim-and-proper depths of traditional European Dance, Forsythe challenges dances through extended shapes and reimagined technique. Cut-throat speed, dynamic directions and extensions of human physical capabilities will characterise our stages, set to the contrasting musical partnership of Bach’s smooth Chaconne and the heart-kicking thrills of composer Eva Crossman-Hecht.
Raymonda (Act III) Raymonda depicts the traditional wedding of the hero and heroine, showcasing sparkling technique and classical expression, held strongly by Hungarian character dance styles. The performance continuously builds to one of the most famous solos for leading ballerina’s, staged by our Artistic Director himself, David Hallberg.
Hallberg’s Thoughts “Raymonda adheres to tradition and pageantry; Forsythe took this history and ‘imitated’ it, creating a work that overwhelms both dancers and audience with gestural references given new meaning.”
5 – 24 November // Dress Rehearsal 4 November Sydney Opera House
In Shakespeare’s own words, the company elicits a warning…
“These violent delights have violent ends.”
With Principal Artist Ako Kondo debuting her dream role alongside her real-life Romeo, Principal Artist Chengwu Guo, we can almost taste the beginnings of something special! Cranko’s choreography has synthesised drama, dance, design and young, ferocious love in this gorgeous take on the timeless story. With both Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet and The Australian Ballet debuting in 1962, we know that this collaboration is the dawn of greatness!
Although Stalin and various Bolshoi dancers pronounced the music as “undanceable,” Prokofiev’s score has not only endured, but is celebrated amongst modern audiences globally. Enhancing the story is Jürgen Rose’s designs of a grandeur, aristocratic, medieval Verona, ensuring a night that will surely whisk us away!
Hallberg’s Thoughts “I have danced performances of Romeo where the audience was with us in every scene; they become a part of the ballet.”
30 November – 18 December // Dress Rehearsal 29 November Sydney Opera House
The 19th-century choreographer Marius Petipa made classical ballet’s most enduring works, including Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Alexei Ratmansky, former director of the Bolshoi Ballet and artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre, has immersed himself in the original notation of Petipa’s oeuvre, producing meticulously researched revivals. His latest is the 1900 ballet Harlequinade, a lively romp based on commedia dell’arte.
He hath been stirred, and Harlequinade returns after eluding stages for over a century! This commedia dell’arte-inspired act is a lively comedy, which was reported to be held dearly by early 20th Century Tsar and Tsarina’s themselves! Through meticulous research and original notation of Petipa’s oeuvre, the timeless ballet has been revived in the original form, ready to be re-received by the world.
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.
Hallberg’s Thoughts “To resurrect from the archives a ballet by one of dance’s greatest creators was something I cherished, and I look forward to passing the experience on to the artists who will perform the role here in Australia.”
On Tuesday 29 September 2020, David McAllister, in conversation with co-hosts Catriona Rowntree and Amanda Dunn, celebrated the publication of his memoir, Soar: A Life Freed by Dance. Re-watch the recording of the virtual book launch and re-live the intimate reading of one of David’s favourite excerpts and interactive Q&A session.
The Friends joined Kim Carpenter in his studio to learn more about how he became involved in production design, discuss his love for Oscar Wilde’s love story, and take a look at the paintings he has made during lockdown that will be shown as part of his upcoming exhibition, The Happy Prince.
“It has been a joy to harness all my visual references from Wilde’s book and the process of creating and designing the ballet in order to reinvent them so as to tell the story in a purely visual form to be experienced in an art gallery. So the lockdown has allowed me an absorbing, driven creative period.”
– Kim Carpenter
Kim is exhibiting The Happy Prince from 13 to 25 October at ARO Gallery in Sydney.
Acclaimed theatre devisor/director/designer Kim Carpenter AM will exhibit 26 major artworks in response to Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince – the classic story of The Prince and The Little Swallow.
Carpenter recently adapted The Happy Prince for The Australian Ballet in collaboration with renowned choreographer Graeme Murphy. He also designed the sets and costumes. The production opened at The Queensland Performing Arts Centre on 25th of February. Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic The Australian Ballet cancelled the August season at The Arts Centre, Melbourne and the November-December season at The Sydney Opera House.
Wilde’s immortal tale of love and sacrifice, tenderness and joy – combined with the creative journey of making a new full-length ballet with collaborators – choreographer, Graeme Murphy, and composer Christopher Gordon – fuelled Carpenter’s inspiration to create a suite of exquisite paintings.
Carpenter’s images are imaginative and whimsical, playful and atmospheric. They reflect Wilde’s wit, poetry and social commentary. The Happy Prince’s observations of struggle and survival, the disparity between the rich and the poor, are equally relevant today. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the divisions in society that Wilde wrote about in his story in 1888.
The Happy Prince
Tue 13 to Sun 25 October
11am – 6pm
51 William St, Sydney