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Press Release: The Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi Theatre announce first co-production

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The Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia announce their first co-production. Christopher Wheeldon’s new ballet Strapless will receive its world premiere in London tonight and is part of an all Wheeldon mixed programme which includes After the Rain and Within the Golden Hour. The Bolshoi will stage the same programme in 2017. Strapless is inspired by the book by Deborah Davis. 


Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet said, ‘Given our close association with the Bolshoi, we are delighted to be partnering on this new production of Strapless by our Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon. It is very exciting to be combining forces and a rich opportunity for two historic organisations to meld with some of the most extraordinary creative talents working in dance, music and design today in a fascinating exploration of the 19th-century European art scene.’


Vladimir Urin, General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre adds, ‘This new chapter in our long-term relationship with the legendary Royal Ballet of Covent Garden is extremely important for the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia. We have been collaborating for many years but tonight is the pivotal moment as we premiere our first coproduction, Strapless, the world premiere of the new ballet by Christopher Wheeldon, the leading choreographer of his generation. Our collaboration is a perfect proof that the art of ballet has no boundaries and can only develop through joint efforts and the creation of new original production.’


The co-production of Strapless is part of an ongoing collaboration between The Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia with recent activities including the annual World Ballet Day, a live digital stream behind the scenes of the world’s-leading ballet companies, and The Royal Ballet’s critically acclaimed tour to the Bolshoi Theatre in 2014.  The Bolshoi Ballets returns to the Royal Opera House in July for a three week residency marking the 60th anniversary of their first visit in 1956.




World Ballet Day is an annual collaboration of world leading ballet companies offering exclusive behind the scenes access to rehearsal, insight and performances via a live 24 hour stream. For more information visit worldballetday.com


The Bolshoi Ballet returns to the Royal Opera House Monday 25 July to Saturday 13 August with the Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre for a three week season of Don Quixote, Swan Lake, The Taming of the Shrew, Flames of Paris and Le Corsaire presented by Victor Hochhauser.


Don Quixote                                      25/ 26 / 27 / 28 July at 7.30pm


Swan Lake                                          29 / 30 July 1 / 2 / 8 / 9 / 10 Aug at 7.30pm 30 July at 2pm


The Taming of the Shrew                 3 / 4/ August at 7.30pm


Flames of Paris                                  5/ 6 / August at 7.30pm 6 August at 2pm


Le Corsaire                                         11 / 12 / 13 / August at 7.30pm 13 August at 2pm


Tickets £10 - £135 


Public booking opens Tuesday 12 April

Box Office – Telephone 0207 304 4000 / www.roh.org.uk




Choreography             Christopher Wheeldon

Scenario                      Christopher Wheeldon and Charlotte Westenra inspired by the book by Deborah Davis

Music                           Mark-Anthony Turnage        

Designer                      Bob Crowley

Lighting Designer       Natasha Chivers


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I have to admit to being rather surprised when I read this: firstly because it's a "short" work, so that in itself seems rather unusual, and also because I couldn't see any obvious link between the subject-matter and the Bolshoi - unless of course the link is Osipova herself. On the other hand, it does have a commissioned score from a major composer, and I have no idea what the sets and costumes are like (I presume photos are embargoed at present), so it could be quite expensive, and the tickets are relatively cheap.

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I have to admit to being rather surprised when I read this

Funnily enough I wasn't Alison - but not for any obvious reason (nor am I psychic). I went to the dress rehearsal yesterday (and will keep my mouth shut until the show has opened tonight, and probably also until I have seen it again as well) As everyone knows this ballet has been built around Osipova, who is now guesting at the Bolshoi. And very late last night I caught this note on Twitter from Ismene Brown:-


>>12/02/2016, 02:41

Bolshoi anno on eve of @wheeldondance's new Strapless @TheRoyalBallet tt they'll acquire it in Moscow in 2017. Presume Osipova's influence.


As RB didn't announce until today, which seems very late, one can't help speculating that the "co-production" was only decided on after someone from the Bolshoi checked out the dress rehearsal. But no idea of any facts, just a guess.

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What happens financially with 'co-productions'?  Is there a sharing of production costs?  If so, might we have expected to see an announcement like this somewhat earlier?  In truth I can't recall quite how it went, but I'm sure we knew that Wheeldon's Alice and Winter's Tale were co-productions with National Ballet of Canada well before their first nights, just as we know now that Liam Scarlett's Frankenstein is a co-production with San Francisco Ballet.

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The following is, however, printed on the cast sheets for both the General Rehearsal and tonight: 

"Strapless is a co-production between the Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia"


Edited to add that I've just checked and it does appear on the individual page for Strapless


Edited by Bluebird
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