Ballet's Storyteller
John Neumeier

Ballet's Storyteller
John Neumeier

Overview

The National Ballet of Canada under Karen Kain has become a North American destination for the work of John Neumeier, Director and Chief Choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet. Neumeier is a gifted choreographer of narrative ballets that accentuate the drama and psychological complexity of the stories they tell. Included are excerpts from Nijinsky, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Seagull – three of his finest works, introduced by Neumeier himself.

 

Francesco Gabriele Frola and Svetlana Lunkina in Nijinsky.

Nijinsky

Things to Know
The Choreographer

Born in Milwaukee, John Neumeier is a leading international choreographer with a diverse body of work, much of it focused on preserving ballet tradition within a modern dramatic framework. He was a dancer with Stuttgart Ballet and Director of Ballett Frankfurt before joining The Hamburg Ballet as Director and Chief Choreographer in 1973.

The Composers

Romantic composer Frédéric Chopin wrote some of the greatest piano music of the 19th century. Born in Poland in 1810, he later moved to Paris where he composed almost exclusively for piano. His nocturnes for solo piano are among his most famous works.

Robert Schumann is an acclaimed composer, pianist and critic of the Romantic era whose great works include Carnaval, Symphonic Etudes and Fantasie in C. He also wrote extensively for the Neue Zeitschriift für Musik, a music journal he co-founded with his teacher and father-in-law, Friedrich Wieck.

The Russian-born composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov is renowned for his orchestral compositions and for Scheherazade, a symphonic suite indicative of his interest in the East. Rimsky-Korsakov often made use of Russian folk tales and was a member of The Five, a nationalistic group of 19th century Russian composers.

Dmitri Shostakovich was one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century. His body of work includes ballets, musical comedies and film scores in addition to classical chamber music. He endured periods of censorship and criticism in totalitarian Russia despite his success.

 

Sonia Rodriguez in A Streetcar Named Desire.

A Streetcar Named Desire

Things to Know
The Composers

Russian-born Sergei Prokofiev was one of the major composers of the 20th century, known and celebrated for his symphonies, operas, piano sonatas and ballets, notably Romeo and Juliet and Peter and the Wolf, widely considered his masterpieces.

Alfred Schnittke was a Russian composer renowned for developing the technique of “polystylism” where he juxtaposed elements from different musical periods. His vast oeuvre includes symphonies, concertos, film scores and the ballet Peer Gynt.

 

Guillaume Côté in The Seagull.

The Seagull

Things to Know
The Composers

Dmitri Shostakovich was one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century. His body of work includes ballets, musical comedies and film scores in addition to classical chamber music. He endured periods of censorship and criticism in totalitarian Russia despite his success.

Dame Evelyn Glennie is the world’s premier solo percussionist, with a worldwide following and multiple solo recordings. A double Grammy award-winner and BAFTA nominee, she is also a composer for film, theatre and television. Evelyn has received an OBE, the Polar Music Prize and the Companion of Honour.

The late 19th century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky created some of the most popular works in the classical repertoire, particularly his three full-length scores for ballet: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. His body of work includes full-length operas, symphonies and concertos.

Russian-born composer and pianist Alexander Scriabin was influenced early in his career by the piano music of Frédéric Chopin but he went on to develop an atonal style that proved influential for Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, among other 20th century composers.

 

Casting

Casting to come.

 

Credits

Nijinsky
A Ballet by John Neumeier

Choreography, Sets*, Costumes* and Lighting Design:
John Neumeier
*Based partly on original sketches by Léon Bakst and Alexandre Benois

Music:
Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Dmitri Shostakovich

Lighting reconstructed by:
Ralf Merkel

Répétiteurs:
Rex Harrington, Magdelena Popa and Peter Ottmann

Premiere: The Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, Germany, July 2, 2000
The National Ballet of Canada Premiere: March 2, 2013

Lead philanthropic support for Nijinsky is provided by The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, an anonymous friend of the National Ballet, The Volunteer Committee of The National Ballet of Canada and The Producers’ Circle.

A Streetcar Named Desire
A Ballet by John Neumeier

Choreography, Costume, Set and Lighting Design:
John Neumeier

Music:
Sergei Prokofiev and Alfred Schnittke

Piano Soloist:
Andrei Streliaev

Lighting reconstructed by:
Ralf Merkel

Répétiteurs:
Lindsay Fischer, Rex Harrington, Peter Ottmann and Mandy-Jayne Richardson

World Premiere: Stuttgart Ballet, Stuttgart, Germany, December 3, 1983
The National Ballet of Canada Premiere: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, June 3, 2017

A Streetcar Named Desire is made possible by the generous support of The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation and The Producers’ Circle.

The Seagull
A Ballet by John Neumeier after Anton Chekhov

Choreography:
John Neumeier
After the play by Anton Chekhov

Music:
Dmitri Shostakovich, Evelyn Glennie, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Alexander Scriabin

Set, Costume and Lighting Design:
John Neumeier

Répétiteurs:
Magdalena Popa, Rex Harrington, Peter Ottmann, Mandy-Jayne Richardson and Lindsay Fischer

Premiere: The Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, Germany June 16, 2002
The National Ballet of Canada Premiere: November 14, 2008

The Seagull is generously supported by an anonymous friend of the National Ballet.

Lead philanthropic support for Spotlight Series provided by The Walter Carsen New Creations Fund, with additional support from the Producers' Circle.

The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin Garland & Roger Garland, C.M., Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation, Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.

Photos:
Francesco Gabriele Frola and Svetlana Lunkina in Nijinsky. Photo by Karolina Kuras.
Sonia Rodriguez in A Streetcar Named Desire. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.
Guillaume Côté in The Seagull. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.

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