In his 20th and final year as artistic director, David McAllister has announced The Australian Ballet’s 2020 season that features Australian and world premieres alongside the works that have left an indelible mark on modern ballet – showcasing the artform’s enduring power to enchant and transform.
“It has been a pleasure and privilege to chart the artistic course of The Australian Ballet over these past 20 years, honouring the rich history and tradition of the company while also engaging with and encouraging the choreographers and artists of the moment so that ballet continues evolve as it must to meet the times and create the future,” said Artistic Director David McAllister.
“Filled with exciting new works and much-loved revivals, this 2020 season is in every sense the culmination of that process and my time with the company. I wanted it to demonstrate ballet’s continuing power to transform and enchant, and its limitless possibilities as an art form. This is my last full season with The Australian Ballet, and I hope audiences are as excited as I am to see these wonderful works unfurl across our nation.”
“David has created a wonderful season for The Australian Ballet in 2020,” said Executive Director Libby Christie. “It’s an opportunity for the company, together with our audiences across Australia, to savour both the talent David has nurtured within the company and the vital relationships he has built with some of the world’s greatest contemporary choreographers.”
“As for the theme of our 2020 season, it was a no-brainer. David embodies the limitless possibilities that dance offers and this company represents.”
It’s a year of milestones and new beginnings that celebrates the dynamism of the company and the art form, with productions that will delight, enthral and inspire. The 2020 season opens with a brand-new ballet from Australia’s greatest living choreographer, Graeme Murphy.
The Happy Prince
Oscar Wilde’s timeless tale tells the story of a beautiful golden statue with a compassionate heart, who sacrifices himself to relieve the suffering of the poor. Murphy’s imaginative contemporary interpretation of this classic is propelled by the deft storytelling and innovative movement that characterised his versions of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, confirming his peerless standing among Australian choreographers.
An all-star Australian line-up of creative collaborators includes the award-winning artist and theatre director Kim Carpenter and renowned film composer Christopher Gordon’s specially commissioned score. The Happy Prince will capture the imaginations of adults and children alike when it has its world premiere in Brisbane in February, before playing in Melbourne in August, and in Sydney in November.
Volt celebrates renowned British choreographer Wayne McGregor’s long association with The Australian Ballet, which has inspired the burgeoning career of The Australian Ballet’s newest resident choreographer, Alice Topp. Her new creation Logos will have its world premiere in this program, alongside McGregor’s seminal abstract works Dyad 1929 and Chroma. The triple bill plays in Melbourne in March, and in Sydney in April.
Leo Tolstoy’s classic tragedy Anna Karenina is brought to the stage in The Australian Ballet’s first co-production with The Joffrey Ballet. Visionary choreographer and former Bolshoi Ballet dancer Yuri Possokhov leads a decorated creative team including an original score by Ilya Demutsky, internationally acclaimed designer Tom Pye and renowned lighting designer David Finn, evoking Imperial Russia while infusing the classical ballet style with a modern sensibility. Anna Karenina opened to great acclaim in Chicago in 2019, and will make its international debut in Sydney in April, before seasons in Melbourne in June, and in Adelaide in July.
Molto brings together three very different ballet works from the past 50 years in a true testament to the versatility of the art form. Based on the play of the same name by Ivan urgenev, Frederick Ashton’s A Month in the Country charts a love triangle formed and then fragmented in a luxurious countryside drawing room over one act. Tim Harbour’s Squander and Glory propels the program into the 21st century with vigorous abstract movement exploring ideas of excess. Stephen Baynes’ Molto Vivace is a gallivanting comedic portrayal of 18th -century flirtations, punctuated by moments of utter lyricism. Molto will brighten up the Melbourne winter in June, before a spring Sydney season in November.
Slapstick, mayhem, wicked wit and outright absurdity are the irresistible ingredients of Harlequinade. Originally created in 1900 by the father of classical ballet, Marius Petipa, the ballet disappeared from the stage following the Russian Revolution but has been reconstructed and revitalised by leading choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, working from the original notation. Families will delight in the joyous dancing and eye-poppingly colourful costumes of Harlequinade when it makes its Australian debut with an exclusive Melbourne season in September.
The Australian Ballet’s 2020 activities will also include a range of audience engagement events, a regional tour to South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, the annual free outdoor event Ballet Under the Stars, a Storytime Ballet for children and an education program that will tour to schools across the country.
2020 Season Packages for Melbourne and Sydney performances are now available. For more information, visit: www.australianballet.com.au for details.
Image: Artists of The Australian Ballet (supplied)