The Australian Ballet’s Free 2020 Digital Season
Watch Spartacus until August 6 … Next, The Merry Widow
Like many cultural organisations around the world who have suddenly had to cancel all live performances due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Australian Ballet has setup an online schedule of full length ballet performances and tutorials via their website, under the title of At Home with Ballet TV, which can be accessed for free.
The 2020 Digital Season delivers free cinema-quality, full-length performances to Australians at home. The season was launched on Sunday 5th April.
While the theatres are closed, the newly launched At Home with Ballet TV Digital Season brings the joy and wonderment of dance to our audiences in the comfort of their own home, delivering some much needed ballet magic via the Ballet TV channel on The Australian Ballet website. This five-month digital season of quality production recordings, danced by The Australian Ballet, draws from a carefully curated selection of our treasured works, including all-time classics and ballet’s finest romantic productions.
To open the new Digital Season, David McAllister’s lavish production of The Sleeping Beauty will stream for two weeks from April 5. McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty is a visual extravaganza for all ages with swoon-worthy costumes and staging, Tchaikovsky’s dreamy score, a captivating love story and bewitching fairies. Home viewers will be whisked away from reality with this ultimate escapist indulgence.
The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David McAllister says: “We are thrilled to be able to continue to share the spirit-lifting joy of ballet with our At Home with Ballet TV Digital Season. These are challenging times for the world and ballet is something that people can turn to for escapism, fantasy and a sense of hope. Looking through the repertoire The Australian Ballet has performed, we are confident that we have hand-picked a stunning selection of works and we can’t wait to share these with our home audience through Ballet TV.
“In addition to our Digital Season, audiences will be able to join me on our social channels to learn some ballet steps in a special five-part series, Dancing with David, and we’re working with our wonderful dancers to bring you as much behind-the-scenes ballet content as possible.”
The second and third productions to launch on At Home with Ballet TV featuring the dancers of The Australian Ballet, continue the theme of great Russian composers with the great Prokofiev ballets, with Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella (17 to 1 May), followed by Graeme Murphy’s Romeo & Juliet (1 to 15 May).
Later in the season will be Coppélia, Manon, Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake and more will keep home dwellers entertained. This is free for Australian audiences, but international fans can watch the program via iTunes.
This 2016 production of Coppélia features dancers Ako Kondo and Chengwu Guo. This filmed version was originally devised and directed by George Ogilvie with Arthur Saint-Léon‘s original choreography. It was reproduced by Peggy van Praagh, and she also contributed additional choreography. It is a tribute to George Ogilvie, who died this year. His spirit lives on through his works. As an extra treat, viewers can also watch the 1990 version of Coppélia starring all stars Lisa Pavane and Greg Horsman.
First love, betrayal, heartache and forgiveness … we’ve all been through them, and that’s what makes Giselle resonate so deeply in our hearts. This iconic Romantic ballet has stood the test of time, not just because of the otherworldly beauty, with its ethereal ghosts floating through the forest, but because of the universal passion and drama of its storyline. A young girl falls madly in love with a nobleman in disguise. When she realises his deception, the shock sends her mad and she dies. Raised from her grave by the vengeful Queen of the Wilis, she must forgive her lover and save him from death.
We’ve dipped into our archives to bring you Maina Gielgud’s celebrated production, filmed at the Adelaide Festival Centre in 1990 and starring Christine Walsh and Kelvin Coe.
Next in the Ballet At Home program is László Seregi’s Spartacus, with revised choreography by Lucas Jervies in the 2018 production being shown online from July 23.
Spartacus, based on a true story, focuses on a gladiator who led a slaves’ rebellion against the Roman empire. Charting the journey of a man finding passionate love, his mission and his freedom, the ballet showcases our male dancers at their spirited and athletic best as the slaves who rise against the tyranny of their rulers.
The Australian Ballet brings two versions of Spartacus to your screens during this At Home season. The 1990 production stars Steven Heathcote as Spartacus and Lisa Pavane as Flavia, while the 2018 production stars Kevin Jackson as Spartacus and Robyn Hendricks as his wife Flavia. They were both filmed at the Arts Centre Melbourne with Orchestra Victoria.
The 2018 production of Spartacus traces the journey of a hero who fights for freedom from oppression. Choreographer Lucas Jervies, a NIDA-trained director and a former dancer with The Australian Ballet, breathed new life into one of The Australian Ballet’s most popular works. Inspired by Steven Heathcote’s fierce 1990 portrayal of the Thracian warrior and transported by Khachaturian’s music, he was determined to reimagine Spartacus for the 21st century.