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The Royal Ballet | full details of the 2021/22 Season | Ballet News | Straight from the stage


SCENES DE BALLET by Ashton, , Choreography- Frederick Ashton, Music-Igor Stravinsky, Designs – André Beaurepaire, The Royal Opera House, The Royal Ballet, 2011, Credit Johan Persson/

The Royal Opera House today confirms details for its 2021/22 Season, the first full Season since 2019.

In its 90th anniversary year, The Royal Ballet presents a Season that respects the past and heralds the future. Three world premieres, including Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project, Christopher Wheeldon’s Like Water for Chocolate and a new work by American choreographer Kyle Abraham, are performed alongside much-loved 19th-century classics and heritage ballets by Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. The Linbury Theatre hosts a raft of partnerships and co-productions including with Ballet Black, Alessandra Ferri, Yorke Dance Project and a world premiere from Company WayneMcGregor. Creative opportunities for emerging talent will also feature with Draft Works and the Next Generation Festival. The Season culminates in July 2022 with The Royal Ballet making a welcome return to international touring with a three-week tour of Japan where the Company will perform Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon and Peter Wright’s Giselle.

Romeo and Juliet
5–24 October 2021 / 10 January–25 February 2022 The Royal Ballet
Main Stage
Choreography KENNETH MACMILLAN Music SERGEY PROKOFIEV
Generous philanthropic support from SUSAN and JOHN BURNS, SIR LLOYD and LADY DORFMAN, KENNETH and SUSAN GREEN, SANDRA and ANTHONY GUTMAN, the JEAN SAINSBURY ROYAL OPERA HOUSE FUND and the ROYAL OPERA HOUSE ENDOWMENT FUND
Since its 1965 premiere with The Royal Ballet, Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet has become a great modern ballet classic of the world repertory. The nuanced and detailed choreography gives dancers in the lead roles a wealth of opportunities for differing interpretations of the doomed lovers. Evocative designs by Nicholas Georgiadis bring the colour and action of Renaissance Verona, where a busy market all too quickly bursts into sword fighting and a family feud leads to tragedy for
both the Montagues and the Capulets. Prokofiev’s ravishing score sweeps this dramatic ballet towards its inevitable, emotional end.
Creative Team
Designer NICHOLAS GEORGIADIS Lighting designer JOHN B. READ
Conductors KOEN KESSELS /ALONDRA DE LA PARRA/JONATHAN LO ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

The Dante Project 14–30 October 2021 The Royal Ballet
Main Stage
Choreography WAYNE MCGREGOR Music THOMAS ADÈS
A co-production between THE ROYAL BALLET and PARIS OPERA BALLET
Music co-commission with LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC, GUSTAVO DUDAMEL, Music and Artistic Director
Generous philanthropic support from SIR LLOYD and LADY DORFMAN and THE FRIENDS OF COVENT GARDEN
Presented as part of the 700th anniversary celebrations of the poet’s death, Dante’s epic journey through the afterlife, The Divine Comedy, is realised in a major artistic collaboration between trailblazing forces of the contemporary arts scene. In an inaugural co-production with Paris Opera Ballet and music co-commission with the LA Phil, Wayne McGregor’s ground-breaking choreography comes together with a virtuoso new score by one of the most influential musicians of the 21st Century, composer conductor Thomas Adès, and designs by the acclaimed artist Tacita Dean, celebrated for her pioneering and poetic work across film and other mediums. With esteemed lighting designer Lucy Carter and dramaturg Uzma Hameed, the creative team unite in this three- part work for the full Company to illuminate the extraordinary vision of Dante. Inspired by the agony of Dante’s own exile, the poem traces his path from crisis to revelation guided by his literary hero Virgil and his lost love Beatrice, through the horrifying drama of Inferno and its damned, the lyrical mysticism of pilgrims on mount Purgatorio and the dazzling spheres of Paradiso with their endless configurations of light.
Creative Team
Design TACITA DEAN
Lighting design (part 1) LUCY CARTER/ SIMON BENNISON Lighting design (parts 2 and 3) LUCY CARTER
Dramaturgy UZMA HAMEED
Conductors THOMAS ADÈS / KOEN KESSELS ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

L’Heure exquise
Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days 15–23 October 2021
Linbury Theatre
Choreography MAURICE BÉJART
Music ANTON WEBERN/GUSTAV MAHLER/WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART/FRANZ LEHAR
ALESSANDRA FERRI and CARSTEN JUNG
Co-production with AF DANCE, RAVENNA FESTIVAL and THE ROYAL BALLET
Performed by courtesy of FOUNDATION MAURICE BÉJART Special thanks to LADY ANGELA BERNSTEIN CBE
Official pointe shoe sponsor Freed of London
Supported by Intesa Sanpaolo
World-renowned ballerina and former Royal Ballet Principal Alessandra Ferri returns to the Linbury Theatre following TRIO Concertdance and Chéri, as well as recent guest appearances with The Royal Ballet in Woolf Works and Marguerite and Armand on the Main Stage. Maurice Béjart’s L’Heure exquise (The Exquisite Hour) was inspired by Samuel Beckett’s play Oh! les beaux jours (Happy Days). Béjart created this piece for Carla Fracci and Micha Van Hoecke in 1998, after a solo piece made on Mathilde Souverbie. From its breath-taking opening, with the dancer submerged to the waist in a mountain of over 2,000 pointe shoes, to the stunning variations that capture her past in fragments, this is an unmissable opportunity to celebrate the 40th anniversary milestone of Alessandra Ferri’s association with The Royal Ballet and her remarkable artistic journey.
Creative Team
Original set designs ROGER BERNARD
Costume designer LUISA SPINATELLI
Staging MAINA GIELGUD/ MICHA VAN HOECKE

The Waiting Game / Then or Now Ballet Black
3–7 November 2021
Linbury Theatre
Choreography MTHUTHUZELI NOVEMBER (The Waiting Game), WILL TUCKETT (Then or Now) Music ETTA JAMES/WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART/MTUTUHUZELI NOVEMBER; HEINRICH IGNAZ FRANZ VON BIBER/DANIEL PIORO
Ballet Black celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Cassa Pancho’s company of Black and Asian classical ballet dancers continue their long association with the Linbury Theatre with a programme of dance very much of the here and now. Two new works by Olivier-award-winning choreographers provide a showcase for the unique character of this leading dance company: The Waiting Game by Mthuthuzeli November (supported by The Linbury Trust) and Then or Now by Will Tuckett, a co- commission with the Barbican.
Creative Team
Costume designer PETER TODD
Lighting designer DAVID PLATER
Vocal recordings BALLET BLACK Recording DANIEL PIORO
Costume designer YUKIKO TSUKAMOTO Lighting designer DAVID PLATER
Poetry ADRIENNE RICH
Poetry recordings HAFSAH BASHIR/NATASHA GORDON/MICHAEL SHAEFFER

Giselle
4 November–3 December 2021 The Royal Ballet
Main Stage
Choreography MARIUS PETIPA after JEAN CORALLI and JULES PERROT Music ADOLPHE ADAM edited by LARS PAYNE
Generous philanthropic support from the PAUL FERGUSON MEMORIAL FUND, AUD JEBSEN, SIMON AND VIRGINIA ROBERTSON, THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE ENDOWMENT FUND and the PATRONS OF COVENT GARDEN
Giselle is the classic ballet of the Romantic era – and, for the dancer performing the title role, one of the greatest challenges in the repertory. Peter Wright’s production, a classic itself, perfectly achieves the dual aspects of the ballet, moving from the naivety of young love between Giselle and Albrecht in the village setting of Act I to the ethereal Wilis in Act II’s eerie moonlit forest. Rich in vivid character detail and poignant depth of feeling, Giselle is a reminder of ballet’s power to move and thrill.
Creative Team
Scenario THÉOPHILE GAUTIER after HEINRICH HEINE Production and additional choreography PETER WRIGHT Designer JOHN MACFARLANE
Original lighting JENNIFER TIPTON re-created by DAVID FINN
Conductor BORIS GRUZIN
ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

Past Present
Yorke Dance Project 12–18 November 2021
Linbury Theatre
Choreography YOLANDE YORKE-EDGELL/ROBERT COHAN/MARTHA GRAHAM/KENNETH MACMILLAN Music NATHANIEL DETT/NILS FRAHM/NATHANIEL DETT/NILS FRAHM/ÓLAFUR ARNALDS/ZOLÁN KODÁLY/ANTON WEBERN/BOSHUSLAV MARTINU
Yorke Dance Project will juxtapose past and present with works by choreographers who have shaped dance today. Martha Graham’s iconic Lamentation is performed alongside the premiere of Robert Cohan’s final work Afternoon Conversations with Dancers, created during lockdown. Cohan trained and performed with Graham, one of the seminal forces of modern dance. Kenneth MacMillan’s Sea of Troubles follows and the programme is completed with the premiere of a new work by Artistic Director Yolande Yorke-Edgell, with music by Nathaniel Dett, sharing the company’s dedication to past and present contemporary dance.
15 November 2021
Special celebratory event in memory of SIR ROBERT COHAN with the company and guest artists performing some of his rare and cherished works.
Creative Team
Lighting designer ZEYNEP KEPEKLI
Sea of Troubles Designer DEBORAH MACMILLAN

Draft Works
The Royal Ballet 15–16 February 2021
Linbury Theatre
Generous philanthropic support from AUD JEBSEN
Draft Works gives audiences an opportunity to see new creative processes at work. Encouraging fresh thinking and giving insights into rising talent, two programmes bring together a sample of new choreographic ideas from Royal Ballet dancers and guest collaborators as well as from the newly appointed Royal Ballet Emerging Choreographer. The intimacy of the Clore Studio allows audiences to see movement at the choreographic cutting edge up close.

The Nutcracker
23 November 2021–8 January 2022 The Royal Ballet
Main Stage
Choreography PETER WRIGHT after LEV IVANOV Music PYOTR IL’YICH TCHAIKOVSKY
Generous philanthropic support from SIR LLOYD and LADY DORFMAN, KENNETH and SUSAN GREEN, LINDSAY and SARAH TOMLINSON, MELINDA and DONALD QUINTIN and THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE ENDOWMENT FUND
Production supported by Van Cleef & Arpels.
The Nutcracker has long been one of the most delightful ways to discover the enchantment of ballet and makes for a sparkling festive treat for the whole family. Tchaikovsky’s much-loved music is matched to a story of magic on Christmas Eve, and the journey of Clara and her Nutcracker to the Land of Sweets brings with it some of the most familiar of all ballet moments. Peter Wright’s gorgeous production for The Royal Ballet keeps true to the spirit of this Russian ballet classic, and the many solo roles and ensembles show the world-class skills of the Company at its best.
Creative Team
Original scenario MARIUS PETIPA after E.T.A HOFFMANN’S Nussknacker und Mausekönig Production and scenario PETER WRIGHT
Designer JULIA TREVELYAN OMAN
Lighting designer MARK HENDERSON
Production consultant ROLAND JOHN WILEY
Conductors BARRY WORDSWORTH/JONATHAN LO/KOEN KESSELS ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

Swan Lake
1–25 March 2022 / 4–28 May 2022 The Royal Ballet
Main Stage
Choreography MARIUS PETIPA and LEV IVANOV Music PYOTR IL’YICH TCHAIKOVSKY
Generous philanthropic support from DOUG and CERI KING, SUSAN and JOHN BURNS, RICKI GAIL and ROBERT CONWAY, KENNETH and SUSAN GREEN and THE J P JACOBS CHARITABLE TRUST. Supported by Boodles
The Royal Ballet’s sumptuous production of Swan Lake returns to the Royal Opera House stage after its 2020 revival was cut short by the pandemic’s closure of theatres. The reimagining of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s towering masterpiece by Liam Scarlett is testament to the late choreographer’s abiding love of classicism and innate musicality which shine through the production. With its sublime score by Tchaikovsky and glittering designs by John Macfarlane, an irresistible mix of spectacle, mystery and passion infuses this audience favourite, one of the best- loved works in the 19th-century classical ballet canon.
Creative Team
Production LIAM SCARLETT
Additional choreography LIAM SCARLETT and FREDERICK ASHTON Designer JOHN MACFARLANE
Lighting designer DAVID FINN
Conductors KOEN KESSELS/PAVEL SOROKIN ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival 9–24 March 2022
Linbury Theatre
Choreography ANNE TERESA DE KEERSMAEKER: ROSA/LYON OPERA BALLET/OLA MACIEJEWSKA Music STEVE REICH/GAVIN GORDON
Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival is an exciting new partnership with the High Jewellery Maison, a devotee of dance ever since its foundation. A showcase of modern and contemporary choreographic repertory, featuring both established and new work, aims to support dance creation today. The initiative will be inaugurated in the form of a festival in London developed in partnership with other cultural institutions. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Fase: Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich and Ola Maciejewska’s Bombyx Mori will be among the works presented.

New Kyle Abraham / Solo Echo / DGV: Danse à grande vitesse
28 March–7 April 2022 The Royal Ballet
Main Stage
Generous philanthropic support from SIR LLOYD and LADY DORFMAN and the FRIENDS OF COVENT GARDEN DGV: DANSE À GRANDE VITESSE Artistic Associate CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON generously supported by KENNETH and SUSAN GREEN
Three of the world’s most exciting contemporary choreographers come together in an extraordinary showcase of modern ballet that includes the world premiere of a new work by Kyle Abraham, an innovative new voice in ballet. Love, loss and acceptance are at the heart of Crystal Pite’s moving and melancholic Solo Echo, inspired by Mark Strand’s poem ‘Lines for Winter’, and set to Brahms’s sonatas for cello and piano. Royal Ballet Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon’s energetic DGV: Danse à grande vitesse, created for The Royal Ballet in 2006, is a mesmerising blend of movement and metaphor set to a compelling score by Michael Nyman., created for The Royal Ballet in 2006, is a mesmerising blend of movement and metaphor set to a compelling score by Michael Nyman.
Creative Team
World premiere
NEW KYLE ABRAHAM Choreography KYLE ABRAHAM
SOLO ECHO
Choreography CRYSTAL PITE
Music JOHANNES BRAHMS
Scenic design JAY GOWER TAYLOR
Costume design CRYSTAL PITE / JOKE VISSER Lighting design TOM VISSER
DGV: DANSE À GRANDE VITESSE Choreography CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON Music MICHAEL NYMAN
Designer JEAN-MARC PUISSANT
Lighting JENNIFER TIPTON
Conductor KOEN KESSELS
ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

The Dark Crystal: Odyssey 1–23 April 2022
Linbury Theatre
Director/ Choreographer Wayne McGregor Music Joel Cadbury
World premiere. A co-production between THE ROYAL BALLET and STUDIO WAYNE MCGREGOR in association with THE JIM HENSON COMPANY
The Dark Crystal: Odyssey. A thousand years ago this land was green and good. Until the crystal cracked… Based on Jim Henson’s iconic 1982 movie and featuring the startling performers of Company Wayne McGregor, this is a magical coming-of-age story – the journey of a reluctant hero who must bring healing to his world. A team of world-class collaborators, led by director and choreographer Wayne McGregor includes artists Brian and Wendy Froud, composer Joel Cadbury, digital designers kontrastmoment, lighting designer Lucy Carter, dramaturg Uzma Hameed, costume designer Philip Delamore, face- and body-artist Alex Box, and a puppet narrator from The Jim Henson Company. Together they create a breath-taking, timeless myth of courage and self-sacrifice for all generations.
Creative Team
Creative consultants BRIAN and WENDY FROUD Music JOEL CADBURY
Lighting LUCY CARTER
Dramaturg UZMA HAMEED
Animation KONTRASTMOMENT Costume PHILIP DELAMORE
Face and body design ALEX BOX Puppet JIM HENSON’S CREATURE SHOP

Scènes de ballet / A Month in the Country / Rhapsody 22 April–2 May 2022
The Royal Ballet
Main Stage
Choreography FREDERICK ASHTON
Music IGOR STRAVINSKY/FRYDERYK CHOPIN arranged JOHN LANCHBERY/SERGEY RACHMANINOFF
Generous philanthropic support from AUD JEBSEN and THE PATRONS OF COVENT GARDEN SCÈNES DE BALLET – Generous philanthropic support from LINDSAY and SARAH TOMLINSON
Frederick Ashton, The Royal Ballet’s founder choreographer, created a remarkable range of ballets. In this mixed programme, the detailed characters and heightened emotional drama of A Month in the Country are contrasted with the dazzling and chic Scènes de ballet. The programme finishes with the celebratory flourish of Rhapsody – Ashton’s tribute to virtuoso dance. This showcase of Ashton’s different styles presents the Company’s legacy, as today’s dancers take on celebrated heritage roles.
Creative Team
SCÈNES DE BALLET
Designer ANDRÉ BEAUREPAIRE Lighting designer JOHN B. READ
A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY
Designer JULIA TREVELYAN OMAN Original lighting designer WILLIAM BUNDY Lighting designer JOHN CHARLTON

RHAPSODY
Set designer FREDERICK ASHTON
Costume designs WILLIAM CHAPPELL re-created by NATALIA STEWART Lighting designer PETER TEIGEN
Conductor EMMANUEL PLASSON ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

Insight ASHTON REDISCOVERED Date TBC
Linbury Theatre
The 10th anniversary of the Frederick Ashton Foundation is marked with an unmissable Insight into the genius of Ashton. Find out more about the master choreographer’s work and legacy in an evening of live performance and specially commissioned film.

The Royal Ballet presents Next Generation Festival 1–21 June 2022
The Next Generation Festival celebrates a wealth of emerging artists from junior companies and premier dance schools drawn from the UK, across Europe and around the world. Across the festival, there will be performances by many companies to create a great occasion for both performers and audiences. Enjoy dance of today and see something of the art form’s fantastic potential and vibrant future.
Guest companies to be announced.

Like Water for Chocolate 1–17 June 2022
The Royal Ballet
Main Stage
Choreography CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON Music JOBY TALBOT
World premiere
THE ROYAL BALLET
A co-production between THE ROYAL BALLET and AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
Artistic Associate CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON generously supported by KENNETH and SUSAN GREEN Generous philanthropic support from RICHARD and DELIA BAKER, SUSAN and JOHN BURNS, SUE BUTCHER, SIR LLOYD and LADY DORFMAN, CHARLES HOLLOWAY, LINDSAY and SARAH TOMLINSON and THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE ENDOWMENT FUND

A modern Mexican classic of magic realism provides the basis for The Royal Ballet’s new full-length work, reuniting Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon with the creative team who transformed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter’s Tale into dance, composer Joby Talbot and designer Bob Crowley. Journey into Laura Esquivel’s captivating family saga where the central character’s emotions spill out through cooking to influence everyone around her in startling and dramatic ways. In this co-production with American Ballet Theatre, Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra acts as musical consultant for Talbot’s newly commissioned score, with Wheeldon working closely with Esquivel to reshape her richly layered story as an entertaining and engrossing new ballet.
Creative Team
Designer BOB CROWLEY
Lighting designer NATASHA KATZ
Video designer LUKE HALLS
Music consultant ALONDRA DE LA PARRA Inspired by the book by LAURA ESQUIVEL
Conductor ALONDRA DE LA PARRA ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

The Royal Ballet School Summer Performance 16 July
Main Stage
The Royal Ballet School’s annual matinee is an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the ballet stars of the future as these supremely talented young dancers demonstrate the skills and artistry they have learned at one of the world’s greatest ballet schools. The programme draws on choreography from across the repertory, with extracts from classical heritage and more contemporary works danced by students from all years in the School.
ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE