Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2011-2012 Season


Birmingham Royal Ballet 2011/12 Season: Geoff Read looks forward to a programme with something for everyone (GR)

Gaylene Cummerfield as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker

Having now clocked up twenty years at their Birmingham Hippodrome home, Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrated this milestone last season with many memorable productions. But ever a company to look forward, their preview for 2011/12 appears equally exciting. Although they acknowledge that things will be tough with the cuts imposed by the current economic climate, BRB have prepared themselves, determined to strengthen and augment the tradition of excellence and creativity on the world’s ballet stage. There will be another world premiere next year from their inventive and charismatic director David Bintley plus a classic mix of ‘golden oldies’ from their repertoire.

The Autumn list includes:Beauty and the Beast 28th Sept to 2nd Oct 201This gothic fairy tale comes complete with a cruel prince, a beautiful girl, a hideous beast, a golden ballroom full of animals, two outrageously haughty sisters and a grumpy grandmother worthy of Roald Dahl. It comprises some descriptive music from Canadian composer Glenn Buhr, fantastical set designs of the forest and castle by Philip Prowse, and inspired choreography from David Bintley.

Autumn Glory 6-8th Oct 2011

This compilation comprises three distinguished and contrasting ballets. Checkmate is 75 years old but retains its place in the repertory due to the music of Sir Arthur Bliss, the designs of E McKnight Kauffer and the choreography of Ninette de Valois. It prophetically anticipates the merciless savagery of World War II. The piano and orchestral score for Symphonic Variations derives from the music of César Frank. It features six dancers and is one from the incomparable output of Frederick Ashton. The best of Gilbert and Sullivan is given a comic choreographic touch by John Cranko in Pineapple Poll, a 3-D cartoon classic – guaranteed to send the audience home with a smile on their face.

The Nutcracker 25th Nov – 11th Dec

The world-famous production of Peter Wright with sets and costumes by John Macfarlane, together with Tchaikovsky’s magical score, once again occupies its rightful seasonal spot. What better treat for the family at Christmas!

Hobson’s Choice

The Spring Duo are: 22nd – 25th Feb 2012

Hobson’s Choice

If you love the 1953 film of the same name you can’t fail to be enchanted by David Bintley’s version to the music of Paul Reade. Billed as a story of boots, booze, love and laughter, it lives up to its award-winning reputation and one of which the audience never tires.

Spring Passions
29th Feb – 3rd Mar 2012

Another of BRB’s combination programmes – two uplifting stories of young love’s survival when tested to breaking point – both with choreography based upon Ashton. Daphnis and Chloë is set on an island paradise in ancient Greece and has one of Maurice Ravel’s greatest orchestral scores. It is just one of the outstanding legacy left by Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. Paired with this is The Two Pigeons; the romantic score by André Messager perfectly compliments the drama and emotion of the dance.

The summer events consist of:

Far from the Madding Crowd 20th-23rd Jun 2012

Passions run out of control in David Bintley’s balletic adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s famous novel, another evocative musical creation of Paul Reade. Adorned in stunningly detailed period costumes and sets by designer Hayden Griffin, this one is a must for all fans who love their ballet with a dramatic twist.
Summer Celebration 27th – 30th Jun 2012

Another three-parter begins with the return of The Grand Tour. Accompanied by unique orchestral renditions of Noel Coward songs, the choreography of American Joe Layton creates a genuinely funny take on the eccentric celebrities of the 1920s. Faster, Higher, Stronger is a brand-new ballet from the award-winning team behind E=mc². After winning the last-ever ITV South Bank Show Dance award in 2010, Company Director David Bintley embarks on a second collaboration with renowned Australian composer Matthew Hindson. This ballet of speed, power and athleticism will be a fitting creation for the lead up to the London Olympics. Shakespeare’s tale and Mendelssohn’s music inspired Frederick Ashton to create his ballet The Dream. The result is an elfin comedy that illustrates the enchanting blend of dance, theatre and humour.

Further information can be found on the BRB website

Geoff Read

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