Queensland Ballet begins 2019 with a bang with the world premiere of a seductive work by in-demand British choreographer Liam Scarlett, who is QB’s Artistic Associate.

Dangerous Liaisons. All photographs supplied

Scarlett will choreograph Dangerous Liaisons, a new full-length ballet based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ classic novel. The dark story about love, sexuality, innocence and betrayal, set among the aristocracy in 18th-century France, has captured the public imagination for over 200 years, and has previously been adapted for theatre and film. Co-produced with Texas Ballet Theater, the ballet “for mature audiences” will be performed to music by Camille Saint-Saëns, arranged by Martin Yates, and feature sumptuous sets and costumes by Tracy Grant Lord.

“I’m sure the whole ballet world will be watching as they always do with a new Scarlett work,” said QB Artistic Director Li Cunxin. Opening in Brisbane in March, the production will tour regional Queensland in June and July.

The Master Series in May is a triple bill featuring George Balanchine’s iconic Serenade, Jiří Kylián’s Soldier’s Mass, which explores the horrors of war through the eyes of young soldiers, and a new work created for the company by choreographer Trey McIntyre that “explores the depths of human nature”, said Li.

George Balanchine’s Serenade

In August, QB performs Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s grand production of Romeo & Juliet, last seen in Brisbane in 2014 when it played to sold out houses. Alondra de la Parra, the Music Director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, will lead the orchestra at several performances.

For the 2019 season of Bespoke, now in its third year, QB will join forces with choreographers Lucy Guerin, Amy Hollingsworth and Loughlan Prior to produce a series of new contemporary works that reimagine dance by embracing technology. Animator Glynn Urquhart will be involved, as will Verity Studios who will produce an indoor drone show system.

The 2019 season will end with perennial favourite The Nutcracker. Ben Stevenson’s classic production will return for the seventh straight year, with tickets always disappearing fast.

Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker

Meanwhile, the littlies will be delighted when the My First Ballet series returns for its second instalment in July with The Little Green Road to Fairyland, co-produced with Queensland Music Festival. Aimed at enchanting ballet’s youngest audiences, it is based on the 1922 story by Annie R. Rentoul and Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, which is set in the Australian bush. Paul Boyd’s choreography will be set to an original score by Elena Kats-Chernin, arranged by Steve Newcomb, with singer Katie Noonan joining the company for select performances.

This year, for the first time, the QB season will showcase the future of the company by bringing together Academy dancers in the Pre-Professional Program and Jette Parker Young Artist Programs with the rising stars of the company to perform a series of new contemporary and neo-classical works by emerging choreographers as part of a June/July program called Synergy. In October QB will also present the inaugural Queensland Ballet Academy Gala, which will feature works by MacMillan and Scarlett.

“It is my hope that the season inspires and moves audiences with the integrity and beauty of our season,” said Li.


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Limelight, Australia's Classical Music and Arts Magazine