The Australian Ballet’s 2017 season: A year of Alice, Clara and Aurora

For both the dancers and audiences, the Australian Ballet’s big show of 2017 will be Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Commissioned in 2011 by the Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Canada, the three-act ballet’s Australian premiere will be in September next year. After a Melbourne season, the production will mark the end of the Australian Ballet’s 2017 year with a Sydney season in December.

The Australian Ballet will be the fifth company to perform Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with the Royal Swedish Ballet adding it to the repertoire last May and the Royal Danish Ballet to perform it next December.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’s wide range of characters will give the Australian Ballet’s dancers plenty of opportunties to perform many different roles including intriguing dual roles such as Jack/The Knave of Hearts and Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit.

In the Royal Ballet’s London seasons, two Australian dancers, Steven McRae and Alexander Campbell, have played another dual role as the Magician and the tap dancing Mad Hatter.

Perhaps they might guest as the Mad Hatter in Australia but then again, there’s no reason that the men of the Australian Ballet can’t step up to the challenge with their tapping talents we’ve not yet seen.

There’s yet another dual role to relish – the Mother/Queen of Hearts, danced by Zenaida Yanowsky in the world premiere.

The Queen’s big moment in Alice in Wonderland is a spoof of both the Rose Adagio of Sleeping Beauty and other Marius Petipa look-at-me moments.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has another pivotal role, the Duchess, played by the award winning actor, Simon Russell Beale, in the world premiere.

The Australian Ballet’s 2017 season will begin in Brisbane with David McAllister’s Sleeping Beauty that premiered in 2015.

An audience pleaser with sumptuous designs by Gabriela Tylesova, the production will have a Melbourne season in June and a slightly longer season in Sydney in November where it will be performed at the Capitol Theatre as the company’s usual venue, the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House, will be closed for renovations in the second half of next year.

With The Sleeping Beauty in November and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland bound to attract big audiences in the Christmas season, the Australian Ballet is making sure that the change of venues from the Opera House to the Capitol won’t mean a decline in box office revenue.

Another revival will be Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker – The Story of Clara. It’s hard to believe that 25 years will have passed since its premiere in 1992.

In collaboration with the designer, Kristian Fredrikson, Murphy created a superb production that told the story of classical ballet’s evolution in Australia from the time when de Basil’s Ballets Russes toured, to the evolution of the Borovansky Ballet and the memories of older dancers whose career spanned those years.

After a season in Sydney in May the ballet will move to Melbourne in June.

A triple bill titled Faster will open in Melbourne in March then April in Sydney.

It takes its name from David Bintley’s ballet, Faster, choreographed in 2012, the year of the London Olympics.

Inspired by the Olympics motto, Faster, Higher, Stronger, it is danced to a score by the Australian composer, Matthew Hindson.

This will be Bintley’s first work in the Australian Ballet’s repertoire.

The other two works are new, and, as yet, both are untitled. The choreographers are Wayne McGregor and Tim Harbour, one of the Australian Ballet’s resident choreographers.

Harbour’s ballet will be danced to the music of the American composer, Michael Gordon.

McGregor’s ballet, with a commissioned score by Steve Reich, is a co-production of the Royal Ballet and Australian Ballet, and will premiere in London next November.

McGregor has choreographed to Reich’s music several times, and used Reich’s Double Sextet for his work Dyad 1929, created for the Australian Ballet in 2009.

In Melbourne only, in late August, the Australian Ballet will reprise its mixed bill of Balanchine’s Symphony in C, and two pieces by the Australian Ballet dancers Alice Topp (Little Atlas) and Richard House (Scent of Love).

One Comment