By Jeremy Brick
Choreographic mastery, cinematic vision and New Zealand’s pioneering spirit define the national ballet company’s 65th anniversary year announced today. 2018 promises audience favourites and landmark repertoire from New Zealand, Europe and America alongside expanded choreographic opportunities and continued commitment to education as the company tours to 16 centres nationally.
RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker is honoured to lead the company as the second female director in its history. “My vision is for the Royal New Zealand Ballet is to be celebrated for commissioning works by the brightest young choreographers, while meticulously maintaining the highest standards of traditional classics. The RNZB will continue to embody the elegance, grandeur, grace and strength that I have already seen in New Zealand’s landscapes and the people that I have met. We are a cultural ambassador and an important artistic export, sharing the spirit and creativity of our country at home and beyond our borders.”
The Piano: The Ballet: The 2018 season begins with the world premiere of a work inspired by Jane Campion’s award-winning quintessentially New Zealand film that captured audiences worldwide. This newly re-imagined full length work by Jiří Bubeníček, is presented in association with the New Zealand Festival and the Auckland Arts Festival. Ada’s story is given a powerful new voice in dance and is accompanied by musical excerpts from Michael Nyman’s iconic film score and works by classical music masters.
Dancing with Mozart: Choreographic titans George Balanchine and Jiří Kylián find inspiration in the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as the RNZB presents the first New Zealand performances of Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15 and Kylián’s Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze, alongside a new commission by Christchurch-born, UK-based choreographer Corey Baker.
Strength and Grace: Women: To mark the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand and the RNZB’s own 65th birthday the company looks to the future of dance, with a series of new commissions from female choreographers, curated by RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker.
The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Nutcracker brings a rich offering of seasonal cheer and fabulous music to audiences of all ages as the RNZB tours a new, traditional staging of the work nationally for the first time since 2010.
RNZB Executive Director Frances Turner says “We are thrilled to present such diverse programming of works that will be a choreographic feast for our dancers and a visual feast for our audience.”
Outside the three main stage seasons, the RNZB will continue its much-loved and popular Tutus on Tour and Ballet in a Box programme planned for seven centres throughout the year: Gore, Tauranga, Oamaru, Hamilton, Taupo, Whanganui and Kerikeri. The RNZB will also present the Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award with the support of the Ballet Foundation of New Zealand Trust, to provide opportunities for emerging choreographers to create short works for studio performance by dancers of the RNZB.
The Piano: the ballet:
Inspired by the film The Piano with permission kindly granted by Jane Campion, Jan Chapman and Saddleback Productions.
22 February – 7 April
Touring to Wellington, Napier, Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Rotorua
Choreography: Jiří Bubeníček, Set and Video Design: Otto Bubeníček, Costume Design: Elsa Pavanel
Music: Otto Bubeníček, Michael Nyman, Debussy, Arensky, Stravinsky, Schnittke, Brahms and Shostakovich arranged by Otto Bubeníček, Staging: Jiří Bubeníček and Otto Bubeníček
Lighting Designer: Jeremy Fern
Dancing with Mozart: Balanchine – Kylián – Baker
31 May – 8 July
Touring to Wellington, Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Blenheim, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Napier, Auckland.
- Petite Mort: Choreography: Jiří Kylián, Assistant to the choreographer: Stefan Zeromski, Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Piano Concertos K488 and K467, Costume design: Joke Visser, Set design: Jiří Kylián, Light design: Jiří Kylián (concept), Joop Caboort (realisation),Video registration: Hans Knill, Technical adaptation (lights/set): Joost Biegelaar
- Sechs Tänze: Choreography: Jiří Kylián, Assistant to the choreographer: Stefan Zeromski, Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Deutsche Tänze K571, Costume and set design: Jiří Kylián, Light design: Jiří Kylián (concept), Joop Caboort (realisation), Video registration: Hans Knill, Technical adaptation (lights/set): Joost Biegelaar
- Divertimento No. 15: Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust, Repetiteur: Francia Russell, Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Divertimento No. 15 in B flat major, K287, Design: Barbara Karinska, Orchestras: Orchestra Wellington, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Conductors: Marc Taddei (Wellington), Hamish McKeich (Christchurch and Auckland)
- New work: Choreography/Design: Corey Baker, Music: Duncan Grimley, after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Requiem in D minor K626, Lighting Design: Paul O’Brien
Strength and Grace: Women: New commissions curated by RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker
17 – 18 August
Opera House, Wellington
To mark the 125th Anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand we look to the future of dance, with a series of new commissions curated by RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker.
The Ryman Healthcare season of The Nutcracker
31 October – 20 December
Touring to Wellington, Blenheim, Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Napier, Auckland (Auckland City and Takapuna), Rotorua
Choreography: Val Caniparoli, Music: Pyotr IlyichTchaikovsky, Set design: Michael Auer and Andrew Lees, Costume design: Assisted by Patricia Barker, Lighting Design: tbc, Orchestras: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Conductor: Hamish McKeich
Tutus on Tour with Ballet in a Box
Gore 15 March, Tauranga 4 April, Oamaru 17 June, Hamilton 9 July, Taupo 11 July, Whanganui 13 July, Kerikeri 12 December.
Repertoire may vary from centre to centre and will be announced in advance of each mini tour.
On sale dates for 2018 shows:
Renewing subscribers 2 October 2018; New subscribers 16 October 2017; Public 1 November 2017.
For booking info see www.rnzb.org.nz
The Royal New Zealand Ballet
The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) was founded in 1953 by Danish dancer Poul Gnatt, as a touring professional ballet company for all New Zealanders. Now based at Wellington’s St James Theatre, the Royal New Zealand Ballet is an intrinsic part of New Zealand’s national heritage, and has the largest following of all New Zealand performing arts companies. The Royal New Zealand Ballet continues to invest in live music, performing with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra. The RNZB enjoys a reputation for strong and unique interpretations of full-length dramatic works. To this base the RNZB have added many masterworks and major ballets of the 20th century, such as Balanchine’s works and the Stravinsky ballets. The company has an enviable track record in commissioning new works from New Zealand and international choreographers. The RNZB regularly represents New Zealand on the international stage, with recent tours to the UK, Australia, China, USA, Italy and Hong Kong.