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New full-length Wheeldon planned by the Royal for 2011


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#1 bart

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 11:12 AM

DanceView (A Quarterly Review of Dance) has a long interviewChristopher Wheeldon, conducted by Michael Popkin. In response to a question about artistic collaboration in the creation of ballets, Wheeldon states:

The ideal scenario is where you can begin work on a piece with a collaborator from scratch, approaching a story together,. I haven't had a chance really to do this in a way that's allowed me to begin the process sitting around a table, chatting, but it's about to happen with the Royal Ballet as I'm doing a full length work for them for their 2011 season. I'm building the book with the playwright, and the composer is also involved. We'meeting in London and in New York in a couple of weeks, and then the designer will come into the mix.


Is there any other official information about this project? Anyone have any thoughts?

Note: DanceView is not available online.

#2 Jane Simpson

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 12:47 PM

It's his version of Alice in Wonderland - he talks a bit more about it later in the interview. I don't think the RB has announced anything about it yet but Wheeldon seems to be talking about it quite freely. (I can't say the idea makes my own heart beat faster, but maybe he'll manage to make something different out of it.)

#3 bart

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 05:30 PM

Jane, you're right. He does go on later in the interview to say that this is a

co-commision by the Royal Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada ... evening length but with two acts and only one intermission.

The librettist is Nicholas Wright and the Composer, Jody Talbot (composer of Wheeldon's Fools Paradise). Designs will be by Bob Crowley

DanceView: The idea of Alice in Wonderland reminds me a little of your Carnival of the Animals where the boy ws trapped in the museum and saw one room after another, but without a lot of character development or the kind of plot development you'd see in a ballet like Manon or Swan Lake. Does dramatizing Alice imply a similar structure?

Wheeldon: Well, it is what it is and though I'm working with Nick to tie the whole thing together so it doesn't feel completely episodic, it's the nature of the story. Lewis Carroll wrote an episodic story where Alice has adventures and wanders from one crazy character to the next and comes out of it at the end relatively unchanged, so we're working on giving it a little more sense of story line. But no, it's not Manon, it's not about the development or demise of a single character; it's much more about the opportunity to craete a lively and bright evening of dances.



#4 Michael

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:44 AM

"[A] lively and bright evening of dances," beautifully composed, should be a beautiful thing. I am biased, of course, having conducted the interview, but I think it's an ideal project in the range of things he can do. I think for instance of the Prokofiev piece he staged for City Center.

Ballets built upon a series of thematically linked entrances have been a distinct and powerful arm of the repertory historically from the beginning. Divertisements also could be called "lively and bright [series] of dances." I look forward to seeing what he does with it.

Carnaval of the Animals was one of his more successful pieces here; I wish they'd revive it. Taking that bit of dialogue about "this not being Manon" from his interview out of its context distorts the meaning a little: I think we should probably be pleased he's not doing the equivalent of Manon 2. The point about the new project not being "plot or character driven" (paraphrase) is, in the context of the interview, a segue to further discussion of how he feels about narrative ballets and in particular to details about The Nightingale and the Rose.

MP

#5 sandik

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 05:05 PM

I'd be thrilled with a "bright and lively evening of dances" as well! I'm curious to see what happens with this -- I think Wheeldon could do a lovely job with it.

Pacific Northwest Ballet used to do the Glen Tetley Alice in the early 90s, and I seem to remember that it was in the National B of C repertory, but now I can't find a reference. Does anyone else remember this, or am I hallucinating?

#6 volcanohunter

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 05:20 PM

Pacific Northwest Ballet used to do the Glen Tetley Alice in the early 90s, and I seem to remember that it was in the National B of C repertory, but now I can't find a reference. Does anyone else remember this, or am I hallucinating?

Scroll down to 1985/86.
http://www.ballet.ca...s/1981-1990.php

It was also filmed by the CBC, but never released commercially. If I'm not mistaken, the cast consisted of Kimberly Glasco as Young Alice, Karen Kain as Alice Hargreaves, Rex Harrington as Lewis Carroll, Peter Ottmann as Reginald Hargreaves and Owen Montague as the White Rabbit.

[Edited to add:]
I found an old program note.

Glen Tetley's Alice, the choreographer's first created work for The National Ballet of Canada, is steeped in romantic nostalgia--evocative, mysterious and poignant.

Tetley was inspired by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici's rich symphonic score, Child Alice, Part I: In Memory of a Summer Day--a setting of a prefatory poem which author Lewis Carroll wrote for his famous Alice stories. Picking up on Carroll's reflective poem, Tetley has created a multi-layered ballet which, while it presents many of the famous antic characters from the Alice books--the White Rabbit, the March Hare, the Mad Hatter--also speculates on the relationship between Carroll and his real-life inspiration, the 10-year-old Alice Liddell. The ballet moves back and forth through time, from reality to fantasy, to show us the profound impact Lewis Carroll had on the emotional life of Alice.

Critically acclaimed as one of Tetley's finest works, the ballet has been a popular hit with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, attractive equally to seasoned ballet-goers and to young audience members for whom designer Nadine Baylis' re-creation of Wonderland has strong appeal.



#7 sandik

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 11:16 PM

Pacific Northwest Ballet used to do the Glen Tetley Alice in the early 90s, and I seem to remember that it was in the National B of C repertory, but now I can't find a reference. Does anyone else remember this, or am I hallucinating?

Scroll down to 1985/86.
http://www.ballet.ca...s/1981-1990.php

It was also filmed by the CBC, but never released commercially. If I'm not mistaken, the cast consisted of Kimberly Glasco as Young Alice, Karen Kain as Alice Hargreaves, Rex Harrington as Lewis Carroll, Peter Ottmann as Reginald Hargreaves and Owen Montague as the White Rabbit.


Thanks so much for finding the link! When Patricia Barker was retiring, she did a number of interviews around town and spoke about working with Tetley on this and on his Rite of Spring.

#8 Helene

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:44 AM

I think it's interesting that Karen Kain is co-commisioning another version, as she was the original "Alice". National Ballet of Canada brought "Alice" to NYC in the mid-80's, and I loved it so much I ran around NYC to find a place where I could get a money order in CAD so I could make a small donation to the company.

I wish I could have seen Barker in the Tetley.


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