Anna Karenina Dress Rehearsal
Wednesday 29 April | 7pm
Sydney Opera House
Love doesn’t play by the rules
Leo Tolstoy’s immortal novel becomes an epic ballet. Cinematic staging, Hollywood-worthy costumes and Yuri Possokhov’s mesmerising choreography illuminate the tragedy of Anna Karenina, whose desire brings about her ruin.
In the high society of Imperial Russia, a woman must not follow her heart. When Anna meets Vronsky, a handsome young officer, the instant connection between them flames into an affair – with disastrous consequences. Her husband, her relations and her social circle judge Anna ruthlessly, and when Vronsky’s passion cools she takes desperate action.
Yuri Possokhov, formerly a principal dancer with Bolshoi Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, has choreographed works on major companies around the world. His Anna Karenina, faithful to Tolstoy’s novel, features Finn Ross’ projections (including real-time film of the dancers taken during the performance) and Tom Pye’s set and costume designs, which conjure the opulence of the era with modern style. The specially commissioned orchestral score by Ilya Demutsky gestures towards the rich grandeur of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, and includes a mezzo soprano singing live on stage.
The agonies and ecstasies of Anna’s turbulent life are powerfully evoked in the centrepiece of our 2020 season.
Approximately 130 minutes with 1 interval
Choreography Yuri Possokhov
Composer Ilya Demutsky
Libretto Valeriy Pecheykin based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy
Costume and set design Tom Pye
Lighting design David Finn
Projection design Finn Ross
With Opera Australia Orchestra
Anna Karenina is a co-production of Joffrey Ballet and The Australian Ballet.
The Australian Ballet’s seasons of Anna Karenina are generously supported by The K.M. Christiensen & A.E. Bond Bequest and the Barry Kay Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Tickets on sale Monday 2 March
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Volt Dress Rehearsal
Thursday 2 April | 1pm + 7pm
Sydney Opera House
Modern dance at the speed of light!
Is it possible to understand the dormant demons within us? How do people connect through extreme emotion? Alice Topp and Wayne McGregor return to our stages this season with Volt, an intense exploration of the human condition. Within Volt, Topp premieres her new piece Logos, which physically embodies the struggles of demons and fears with the human mind, while we explore two pieces from McGregor, Britain’s leading light in modern dance.
As the first female resident choreographer of the Australian Ballet and recent 2019 Helpmann Award winner for her piece, Aurum, Topp is set to change the future landscape of Australian dance.
Showing alongside Topp’s works is McGregor’s brilliantly raw experimentation with the human body in his works Chroma and Dyad 1929. The performances stand at the edge of technological and artistic innovation, promising to shake convention to the core.
Tickets go on sale now
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We are excited to introduce Friends in Conversation, a series of talks for 2020, our first being with Libby Christie, Executive Director of The Australian Ballet.
Libby will provide insight into the funding, costs, logistics and operations of how the Company, along with its strategic aspirations, providing you with a true behind-the-scenes experience of The Australian Ballet.
Libby was appointed as Executive Director of The Australian Ballet in 2013. Prior to this appointment she had eleven years’ experience in Australia’s arts sector, including with the Australian Government’s arts funding and advocacy body, the Australia Council for the Arts (2009 – 2013) as acting CEO and Executive Director of Arts Funding, and as the Managing Director of the Sydney Symphony (2003 – 2009). Before joining the arts sector, Libby held senior national and international executive roles in the technology and telecommunications sector in companies including Optus, Telstra, TMP Worldwide and Computer Power Group. She has also worked in Australia’s tertiary education sector in the field of adult education.
Libby has current and prior experience as a non-executive director on not for profit and for profit boards. She is a graduate of Sydney University and the University of Canberra and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Join us to hear Libby Christie provide a rare behind the scenes glimpse of the operations and logistics of The Australian Ballet.
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If you were at the dress rehearsal for The Australian Ballet’s production of Sylvia you might have noticed a few guest artists on stage – and we’re not just talking about Misty Copeland. Alexander Phoon, a young dance student, was cast as one of the adorable, scene-stealing cherubs. Alexander, and his mum Catherine, are both members of the Friends and we are beyond thrilled that we got to see him on stage with The Australian Ballet for the first time.
We asked Alexander a few questions about ballet and how he got involved with Sylvia.
When did you start dancing and where do you currently learn?
I started dance at the age of eight and I currently dance at The McDonald College.
What made you want to start dancing? Why do you love it?
I started dancing because I have always been inspired by performing arts, although after watching The Australian Ballet I immediately knew that one day I would be a ballet dancer.
How did you get involved with Sylvia and The Australian Ballet?
Through The McDonald College – I was lucky enough to be able to apply for the show and the next day I was informed that I had successfully been accepted.
How long were you rehearsing for Sylvia?
I was rehearsing for Sylvia for around just a week.
What is your favourite part of Sylvia? Is there a particular dance or movement you love? And favourite character?
My favourite part of Sylvia is the feeling when get to go on stage and the experience of being able to work alongside the company. My favourite character would have to be Eros as he does an amazing solo and is a very energetic character.
Who’s your male principle dancer with The Australian Ballet?
My favourite male dancer in the company is definitely Chengwu Guo because of his outstanding athleticism, ability and determination.
What’s your favourite ballet and why?
My all time favourite ballet is definitely Alices’ Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon as it has a lot of excitement and interesting characters. The choreography for the ballet is amazing too.
As 2019 draws to a close, we are looking to 2020 and are thrilled to be sharing The Australian Ballet’s Year of Limitless Possibilities with our Friends.
The launch of the 2020 Season has formed a clear promise from The Australian Ballet; a promise to transform and transcend any creative or artistic boundaries and we are happy to accompany you as we explore this transformative season. The season is an ode to the fantastic service of David McAllister, but also a confirmation that the company shows no sign of slowing down.
The Australian Ballet has grown immensely under David’s leadership, with the 2020 season featuring strong collaborations with international companies such as the Joffrey Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre in the performances of Anna Karenina and Harlequinade.
Anna Karenina pushes the traditional format for ballets, becoming an epic ballad of love, drama and loss. The company has pushed the envelope with modernized Hollywood-style costumes and mesmerizing choreography created by former Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer, Yuri Possokhov.
Anna Karenina, photo Justin Ridler
In an all-exclusive Melbourne run, Harlequinade will bring plenty of colour and fun to our Australian stages in the 2020 season. This cheeky, bubbly ballet is a classic story of forbidden love, with a twist of mischief and magic as Harlequin fights with an enchanted slap stick for Columbine’s hand in marriage.
Harlequinade, photo Justin Ridler
Volt will have The Company broadcasting their innovation and artistic voice. Alongside two works from the visionary Wayne McGregor, this program features a new work from The Australian Ballet’s Alice Topp, who delighted us this year with the Helpmann Award-winning Aurum. McGregor and Topp will see Volt light up a new style of expression and push all notions of how dance should be to the edge.
Volt, photo Justin Ridler
Molto revives a trio of the most bold and adventurous performances from the last 50 years, satisfying all your needs and desires from a quick trip to the ballet. In a crash-course performance of recent greats, Molto celebrates the successes of the modern ballet world, sparking excitement for the future of dance.
Molto, photo Justin Ridler
David’s tenure as Artistic Director began by commissioning Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake, and it seems fitting that The Happy Prince, Murphy’s new ballet, will open David’s final season in 2020. The international premiere of The Happy Prince has placed our Opera House at the center of global attention, proving that our company has once again, soared over our expectations in this year of Limitless Possibilities.
The Happy Prince, photo Justin Ridler
Like always, we will keep you updated with all details throughout the season. Join us in a pivotal year at The Australian Ballet, as we relish on our past successes and turn towards a bright future.