Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2014 autumn season At Birmingham Hippodrome

Birmingham Royal Ballet is delighted to return to the Birmingham Hippodrome stage from 30 September to 11 October. The Company will perform its Autumn season in its home city with two productions.

First up is David Bintley’s full length gothic fairy tale ballet, the ever-popular Beauty and the Beast. This will be followed by Shadows of War, a triple bill of ballets which have all in some way been touched by war.

Beauty and the Beast 30 September to 4 October

In this towering gothic fairy tale from the creator of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s smash-hit Cinderella, a cruel Prince, cursed to spend his life as a Beast, finds salvation in the heart of a beautiful girl. 

Caught stealing a single rose, Belle’s desperate father exchanges his life for his youngest daughter’s freedom. In his distant castle the Beast, stripped of his handsome features and his very humanity, must win her heart, or spend the rest of his life in bitter solitude.

A beautiful girl, a hideous beast, a golden ballroom full of animals, two haughty sisters and a grumpy grandmother dance through the unfolding pages of Philip Prowse’s stunning storybook set, while David Bintley’s rich choreography  brings to life magical transformations, wild waltzes, and a relationship between Belle and the Beast that is at first terrifying, but ultimately beautiful.

Accompanying Birmingham Royal Ballet will be the Company’s full-time orchestra the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under the Musical Directorship of Koen Kessels. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia is Britain’s busiest ballet orchestra, playing for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s wide-ranging programme in the UK and abroad.

Shadows of War  8 to 11 October                                                                           

(La Fin Du Jour / Miracle in the Gorbals / Flowers of the Forest)  

Kenneth MacMillan’s La Fin du jour captures the glamorous ‘la plage’ lifestyle of the Depression era. A group of trendy, bright young things while away their days with swimming, golf and new-fangled aeroplanes. They studiously ignore the looming threat of war which will eventually call time on their careless enjoyment and high spirits.  

Robert Helpmann’s (Royal Ballet dancer and the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) 1944 Miracle in the Gorbals was a great leap forward for British ballet. Set in a run-down and dangerous Glasgow suburb, it dispensed with all the frippery of traditional ballets, replacing it with a gritty realism that proved an enormous success. After the shock of a girl’s suicide, the arrival of a mysterious stranger who is able to bring her back to life creates waves amongst the violent inhabitants of the tenements. This ground-breaking dance drama is being re-created by Dame Gillian Lynne (a member of the original cast), using original set designs by Edward Burra, a leading 20th century British artist.      

David Bintley’s Flowers of the Forest is a ballet in two parts. Set to music by Malcolm Arnold, ‘Four Scottish Dances’ presents a light hearted and nostalgic ‘picture postcard’ view of Scotland, whist ‘Scottish Ballad’ strikes a more serious note, and is danced to a folk-inspired score by the young Benjamin Britten. The composer’s pacifist views found voice in this piece, which takes its title from the famous ballad for the flower of Scottish youth slain on Flodden Field.

Performance diary for the 2014 Birmingham Hippodrome autumn season

Beauty and the Beast

Birmingham Hippodrome: Tuesday 30 September – Saturday 4 October

Tuesday 30 September– 7.30pm

Wednesday 1 October –7.30pm

Thursday 2 October –2pm and 7.30pm

Friday 3 October – 6.30pm

Saturday 4 October- 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Shadows of War

(La Fin Du Jour / Miracle in the Gorbals / Flowers of the Forest)

Birmingham Hippodrome: Wednesday 8 to Saturday 11 October

Wednesday 8 October – 7.30pm

Thursday 9 October – 2pm and 7.30pm

Friday 10 October – 7.30pm

Saturday 11 October – 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Venue and booking information:

Birmingham Hippodrome: Tickets: 0844 338 5000    www.birminghamhippodrome.com

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