Northern Ballet announces season of mermaids, butterflies, fairies and fiends
Northern Ballet starts a new season in its home city of Leeds with the UK première of David Nixon’s Ondine, which will be performed at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 8 to 15 September. This is a rare treat for classical ballet fans as the heartbreaking story is seldom performed outside of London.
Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, originally adapted this traditional favourite for Ballet du Rhin in 2005. It tells the story of a doomed romance between a beautiful mermaid and a handsome nobleman. Despite being raised by humans, Ondine retains the mysticism of her kind. When she falls deeply in love with a mortal, Brand, she is transformed from a water nymph to a woman. In time Brand grows fearful of the otherworldly creature he has married and finds himself drawn to a previous love, but he knows that should he break their bond a watery grave will seek him out.
The production features the original music of Hans Werner Henze. The stunning sets and costumes are created by Jérôme Kaplan.
The season continues with another chance to see David Nixon’s Madame Butterfly, at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre from 18 to 22 September, Manchester Palace Theatre from 25 to 29 September and Nottingham Theatre Royal from 9 to 13 October.
Madame Butterfly was Nixon’s debut work for Northern Ballet, when he joined as Artistic Director in 2001. Innocence, love and betrayal unfold in the picturesque gardens of a Japanese house, when Butterfly is deserted by handsome American, Lieutenant Pinkerton. East meets west in this tragic tale, which blends classical ballet with Japanese-style dancing and Puccini’s beautiful score, played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, is interspersed with traditional Japanese music.
Following a hugely successful spring tour, Beauty & the Beast, will be performed at a further six venues including Norwich Theatre Royal from 2 to 6 October, Bradford Alhambra Theatre from 24 to 27 October, Woking New Victoria Theatre from 30 October to 3 November, Canterbury Marlowe Theatre from 6 to 10 November, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from 13 to 17 November and Bath Theatre Royal from 27 November to 1 December.
Beauty & the Beast tells the story of a young prince who is magically transformed into a beast and cursed to live alone in his castle until the enchantment is broken by the sacrifice of true love. Audiences will be transported into an enchanting world of colour, inhabited by fairies, goblins and sprites, with an elaborate mirrored set from Duncan Hayler and haute couture-style costumes designed by David Nixon. The show is accompanied by an infectious score from Saint-Säens, Bizet, Debussy and Glazunov, played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia.
Finally, Northern Ballet returns home to Leeds for Christmas with The Nutcracker – a festive institution and one of Northern Ballet’s most popular ballets. The production will be performed at Leeds Grand Theatre from 18 to 30 December. It tells the story of Clara’s Christmas Eve adventure as she is swept away by her Nutcracker Prince to a magical winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and the famous Sugar Plum Fairy. The production is performed to Tchaikovsky’s enduring score played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia.
Northern Ballet is one of the UK’s favourite ballet companies and has carved a unique place in the cultural landscape. Renowned for its full-length narrative productions which embrace popular culture and take inspiration from literature, opera, or give a unique interpretation of classical ballets, the Leeds-based company is committed to extensive and regular touring throughout the UK and overseas, developing new audiences for dance and was voted Britain’s favourite ballet company for three consecutive years at the National Dance Awards.
Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre are based in a centre of excellence for dance in Leeds for dance artists, enthusiasts and audiences across the north of England. Their award-winning headquarters on Quarry Hill in central Leeds is the largest purpose-built space for dance outside London.
Northern Ballet Production Credits & Tour Listings
Direction and Choreography by David Nixon OBE
Costume and Set Design by Jerôme Kaplan
Lighting Design by Oliver Oudiou
Music by Hans Werner Henze
Projection Design by Tanguy Alanou
Sat 8 – Sat 15 September
Box Office 0113 213 7700
Choreography and Design Concept by David Nixon OBE
Music by Giacomo Puccini
With Orchestration by John Longstaff
Lighting Design by Peter Mumford
Scenic Design realised by Ali Allen
Tue 18 – Sat 22 September
Box Office 0114 249 6060
Tue 25 – Sat 29 September
Box Office 0844 871 3019
Tue 9 – Sat 13 October
Box Office 0115 989 5555
Beauty & the Beast
Choreography and Direction by David Nixon OBE
Set Design by Duncan Hayler
Lighting Design by Tim Mitchell
Costume Design by David Nixon assisted by Julie Anderson
Music by Georges Bizet, Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Säens and Alexander Glazunov
Tue 2 – Sat 6 October
Box Office 01603 630 000
Wed 24 – Sat 27 October
Box Office 01274 432 000
Tue 30 October – Sat 3 November
Box Office 0844 871 7645
Tue 6 – Sat 10 November
Box Office 01227 787 787
Tue 13 – Sat 17 November
Box Office 0844 871 7607
Tue 27 November – Sat 1 December
Box Office 01225 448 844
Choreography, Direction and Costumer Design by David Nixon OBE
Set Design by Charles Cusick Smith
Lighting Design by Mark Jonathan
Costume Design Assistant Christopher Giles
Music by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Tue 18 – Sun 30 December
Box Office 0844 848 2700