The Royal Ballet has announced details of its 2015-16 season, which is to include four world premieres: a full-length ballet by Liam Scarlett, new one-act ballets by Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon, and a new production of Carmen by Carlos Acosta.
The season gets underway on September 19 with the 50th anniversary revival of Kenneth MacMillan’s classic Romeo and Juliet, followed by a double bill from October 6 that sees the return of Wayne McGregor’s Ravel Girl and Alistair Marriot’s Connectone.
October 26 sees the debut of Acosta’s new production of Carmen, to be danced to a new arrangement of the Bizet score by Martin Yates. Acosta himself will dance Don José and Escamillo at some performances. Sets and designs are by Tim Hatley, and lighting by Peter Mumford. Carmen is part of a mixed programme, also to include Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun, and George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.
The November 18 programme will probably get as much attention as those including new works. Although it has been regularly performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sir Frederick Ashton’s delightful The Two Pigeons has been missing from The Royal Ballet repertory for thirty years. That evening, that is put right, when the ballet, a tale of lost love and innocence, makes a long overdue return. The ballet will share a bill with Ashton’s Monotones I and II. The Two Pigeons gets a further run from January 16 (it is sure to be a favourite) in a second all-Ashton programme, this time with Rhapsody.
Christmas sees the return of Sir Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker.
February 12 sees the arrival of Christopher Wheeldon’s new one-act ballet, alongside his After the Rain and Within the Golden Hour. For his new ballet, Wheeldon will work with a commissioned score by Mark Anthony Turnage. Designs will be by Bob Crowley, who also did those for Alice in Wonderland and A Winter’s Tale).
Peter Wright’s production of Giselle returns from February 26, followed by Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale from April 12.
Scarlett’s first full-length narrative work for the company reaches the stage on May 4, and is based on Mary Shelley’s Gothic classic, Frankenstein. It will have a new score by Lowell Liebermann, designs by John Macfarlane and lighting by David Finn.
May gets a second world premiere on 28th, when McGregor’s new ballet opens. As yet unnamed, it is to be set to Nyx, a one-movement orchestral work by Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. It will feature on a double bill with a return of MacMillan’s The Invitation.
There is plenty of interest downstairs in the Linbury Studio Theatre too, where January sees the premiere of Will Tuckett’s Elizabeth. Visitors in September are Cas Public with Symphonie Dramatique, a modern take on Romeo and Juliet; and Alessandra Ferri and American Ballet Theatre principal Herman Cornejo in Martha Clarke’s theatre/drama/dance fusion, Chéri.
November sees the welcome return to London of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, so impressive when they danced at the Barbican a few years ago. Their programme includes a new ballet by Andrew Simmons, The Anatomy of a Passing Cloud, alongside Salon Désir by Javier de Frutos and Passchendaele by Neil Ieremia, artistic director of the fabulous New Zealand contemporary company, Black Grace. Also visiting in November is Phoenix Dance Theatre.
Meanwhile, 18-year old Charlotte Edmonds is to join the company for the season as the first choreographer to participate in The Royal Ballet Young Choreographer Programme. A 12-month position, it allows her to shadow The Royal Ballet and visiting companies, and use the company resources to make work. Edmonds is presently a student at the Rambert School. Previously, while at The Royal Ballet School, she was a finalist in the Ninette de Valois Junior Choreographic Competition for three consecutive years, and won the Kenneth MacMaillan Senior Choreographic Competition in 2011 and 2012.
On the theme of mentoring and creating opportunities for young artists, the Aud Jebsen Young Dancer Programme will again support five Royal Ballet School graduates for a year to work alongside The Royal Ballet’s corps de ballet.