The National Ballet of Canada’s 2020/21 Season Fall Season
Toronto Debut San Francisco Ballet, November 11 – 15, 2020
The 2020/21 season opens with guest company San Francisco Ballet making its first appearance in Toronto. The world-renowned company will perform three acclaimed works, all from influential choreographers of today. Justin Peck’s Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes offers a fresh interpretation of Aaron Copland’s famous ballet score, dropping the western influences in favour of pure movement. Bound To by Christopher Wheeldon, the celebrated choreographer of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter’s Tale, is a poetic work that explores one of the great paradoxes of modern life – how technology and cell phones isolate and distract us rather than foster social interaction. Alexei Ratmansky’s The Seasons is an homage to the seasons with spirited dancing and whimsical, symbolic characters.
World Premiere MADDADDAM, A Ballet by Wayne McGregor, November 21 – 29, 2020
In a collaboration of international significance, Wayne McGregor, choreographer of Chroma and Genus, joins forces with one of the world’s greatest living writers, Margaret Atwood, to create MADDADDAM, a brand new full-length work co-produced and commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet in London. McGregor’s new ballet is based on Atwood’s internationally celebrated trilogy, Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam. Themes of extinction and invention, hubris and humanity are spliced together with aspects of Atwood’s activism and her deep connection to the Canadian landscape, past and present. MADDADDAM brings together the same creative team behind McGregor’s landmark 2015 ballet Woolf Works, inspired by the work of Virginia Woolf, including influential composer Max Richter, lighting designer Lucy Carter, design firm We Not I, film artist Ravi Deepres and dramaturg Uzma Hameed. MADDADDAM will have its UK premiere in 2022.
25 Magical Years The Nutcracker, December 10 – January 2, 2021
Created in 1995 by James Kudelka, The Nutcracker is a holiday favourite that has enchanted over 1.2 million children and adults alike over the past 25 years. Set in rural 19th century Russia, the ballet follows siblings Misha and Marie on a dreamy adventure with their friend Peter/The Nutcracker from their family home to the glittering winter realm of the Snow Queen and finally, the golden palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy. With glorious sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, the ballet is a feast for both the senses and the imagination.
A Streetcar Named Desire, March 3 – 7, 2021
Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, A Streetcar Named Desire, is the focus of John Neumeier’s ballet. The story follows the demise of Blanche DuBois, a southern belle transplanted into a hostile, impoverished landscape she is unable to accept. Forgoing chronology to delve deep inside the mind of the play’s tortured heroine, Neumeier starts where the play ends, with Blanche alone and staring blankly from her bed in an asylum. The score changes dramatically between the ballet’s two acts, from Sergei Prokofiev’s reflective Visions Fugitives in the first act to the postmodern music of Alfred Schnittke in the second, reflecting the breakdown of Blanche’s fragile psyche.
March Break Swan Lake, March 13 – 20, 2021
Artistic Director Karen Kain adds to her long list of achievements with her new staging of Swan Lake, created in honour of her 50th anniversary with The National Ballet of Canada. This fresh and vibrant staging draws inspiration from Erik Bruhn’s landmark production. Led by an all-female creative team, Swan Lake features fantastical sets and costumes by the renowned designer Gabriela Týlešová and evocative lighting by acclaimed designer Bonnie Beecher. Kain’s adaptation rediscovers the romance and psychological power of Swan Lake as Prince Siegfried and the white swan Odette fall in love in the shadow of Rothbart’s curse. The new production makes its world premiere in June 2020. Frame by Frame, March 24 – 28, 2021
With the creation of Frame by Frame in 2018, The National Ballet of Canada became the first classical ballet company to collaborate with the inspired Canadian playwright, director and actor, Robert Lepage. Co-created by choreographer and Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté, Frame by Frame is an inventive multidisciplinary work that pays homage to pioneering animator Norman McLaren. McLaren’s work influenced filmmakers worldwide and set new standards for animation during his illustrious career with the National Film Board of Canada. Frame by Frame opens a window into his creative and personal worlds through the use of striking visuals and beautiful movement.
North American Premiere Victoria, June 5 – 12, 2021
Victoria, created by rising star of contemporary ballet Cathy Marston, makes its North American premiere. The full-length story ballet shines the spotlight on British monarch Queen Victoria told through the eyes of her youngest daughter and closest confidante, Princess Beatrice. Famously, Beatrice heavily edited and maintained Victoria’s diaries before they were published and Marston weaves this mother/daughter relationship into the narrative of Victoria’s long reign. Marston has created more than 50 dance works steeped in history, biography and other narrative forms, many of them focused on strong female characters. Victoria, a co-production with Northern Ballet, drew praise at its 2019 world premiere in Leeds and on tour across the UK, including performances at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. Marston co-wrote the scenario for Victoria with Uzma Hameed, an accomplished writer, director and dramaturg for theatre and dance who works extensively with choreographer Wayne McGregor. Victoria features designs by Steffen Aarfing, an original, commissioned score from composer and pianist Philip Feeney and lighting by Alastair West.
Balanchine & Tchaikovsky, June 18 – 24, 2021
George Balanchine set some of his most beautiful and compelling works to the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, returning to the composer many times throughout his career. This programme revives three Balanchine ballets set to Tchaikovsky, each a visualization of music in movement. An iconic Balanchine work, Serenade was his first original ballet in the US and features Tchaikovsky’s beautiful Serenade for Strings in C, Op.48. Mozartiana, the last major work that Balanchine created before his death, is a graceful and intensely musical ballet for seven dancers set to Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 4. Diamonds is the final section of Balanchine’s triptych Jewels. Featuring Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op.29, elegant choreography and gorgeous white costumes, Diamonds translates Tchaikovsky’s music into refined ballet technique.
The Sleeping Beauty, Royal Opera House, London, UK, July 28 – August 1, 2020
The National Ballet will tour to the historic Royal Opera House in London, UK for the first time in 41 years. The company will perform one of its most treasured classics, The Sleeping Beauty from July 28 – August 1, 2020 for seven performances. Ms. Kain’s 50th anniversary with the company culminates in this tour to London. An opening night gala evening will be hosted by the UK Friends of The National Ballet of Canada.
Swan Lake, National Arts Centre, Ottawa, February 4 – 6, 2021
Swan Lake will tour to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa for the company’s annual appearance.