"another success for Northern Ballet"
"Northern Ballet firing on all dramatic cylinders"
"Nothing short of mesmerising"
"Casanova is an impressive and exhilarating evening's ballet"
"This Casanova sets out to dazzle, and it does"
"A truly eye-catching spectacle"
"Majestic and thrilling...a modern masterpiece"
"Exciting, absorbing dance theatre enveloped in a majestic visual spectacle"
Photos Guy Farrow, Emma Kauldhar, Caroline Holden, and Justin Slee.
On Wednesday 15 February we invited audiences to look behind-the-scenes of Casanova with choreographer Kenneth Tindall, biographer Ian Kelly and Artistic Director David Nixon. Watch the event again below.
- Introduction from David Nixon OBE
- Ian Kelly, author of the biography Casanova
- Choreographer Kenneth Tindall rehearsing with dancers Giuliano Contadini and Dreda Blow
- Q&A with Northern Ballet dancers
- Sneak peek at Semenarians scene
- Sneak peek at Musicians scene
- Q&A with Kenneth Tindall, Ian Kelly, and David Nixon
- Casanova Unmasked, complete
In this original ballet, we’ll be unmasking Casanova to expose his story – with all the scandal you’d expect from a man who lived every minute in a whirlwind of excess.
- Act I – Venice
- Act II – Paris
‘Be the flame, not the moth’
Throw caution to the wind. Be led into temptation. Unmask Casanova with Northern Ballet.
Consumed by his desires, Casanova lived every minute in a whirlwind of scandal and excess. But there’s more to the man. This original ballet will expose a story so sensational you won’t believe it’s real.
This spine-tingling spectacle of 18th century decadence will flood your senses and take your breath away.
Act I – Venice
A mass in honour of the new French Ambassador Cardinal de Bernis. Among the church clerics is aspiring priest Giacomo Casanova who has arrived late with his pupils the Savorgnan sisters. In the congregation is Father Balbi who has with him a book forbidden by the church. Balbi gives the book to a curious Casanova. After the mass the Three Inquisitors accost Balbi believing him to be still in possession of the forbidden book.
Later, Casanova is seduced by the Savorgnan sisters. They are discovered, and Casanova is forced to forgo his church career. He is left with only his violin and book.
Casanova joins a group of musicians auditioning to form an orchestra for Senator Bragadin’s masquerade ball. Casanova earns a place as does Manon Balletti, a cellist. Despite the arrival of his guests, Bragadin is more interested in his attractive new violinist, Casanova. Casanova becomes increasingly intrigued by the cellist Balletti, and at the end of the evening, after the orchestra is paid, they leave together.
On their way to find a gondola, Casanova and Balletti are set upon by thieves. She escapes but Casanova is robbed of his wages – though not his book – and left for dead. Bragadin appears. He takes Casanova back to his palazzo, tends to his wounds and shows him his library of philosophical and forbidden works. Bragadin attempts to seduce Casanova but his efforts are curtailed when the senator suffers a stroke. Casanova administers basic medical aid, guided by his book. Bragadin credits Casanova with his recovery and declares him his heir. Casanova’s elevated status does not go unnoticed by the Three Inquisitors.
A mass is said in celebration of Bragadin’s recovery, presided over by Cardinal de Bernis. As Casanova leaves, a note from a nun ‘M.M’ is passed to him. Meanwhile at the prison of the Inquisition, under torture to confess who has the forbidden book, Father Balbi gives up Casanova’s name. Cardinal de Bernis’ Apartment Following the instructions on the note, Casanova arrives at Cardinal de Bernis’ luxurious private apartments. M.M. arrives and sets about a staged seduction of Casanova for the benefit of her hidden lover, the voyeur de Bernis. Suddenly they are interrupted by Bragadin who warns Casanova that the Inquisition is coming for him. Casanova tries to flee Venice but he is caught and imprisoned.
Act II – Paris
Bellino and Henriette
Two women, Bellino and Henriette are leading almost parallel lives. Bellino’s brother persuades her to dress like him so she can masquerade as a male castrato singer. Elsewhere Henriette is subjected to violent abuse by her husband. She dresses as a soldier and flees, leaving her baby.
At the Gaming Table
At a Paris gaming salon a poorly dressed hustler, Casanova, attracts attention as he tells the story of his escape from prison, moving from table to table advising the players on tactics. Madame de Pompadour arrives and in the corner a group of soldiers sit, including the disguised Henriette who intrigues Casanova but flees when her husband enters. Observing everything, Madame de Pompadour asks Casanova to be brought over where he tells her the story of his escape. Feeling they are kindred spirits she takes him to Versailles and becomes his benefactor.
Casanova, now rich, carefree and reckless, sets about the social and sexual conquest of Paris.
Dancing on the Precipice
Casanova throws a party. He auditions musicians and amongst them is his old acquaintance Balletti. Bellino too earns a place and Casanova, uncertain of her true gender, is perturbed and intrigued by her. A great party ensues but as it comes to a close, Casanova is left on his own. He picks up a book and begins to write.
Casanova poses at his desk while an artist paints his portrait. He is determined to be depicted as an intellectual.
Bellino arrives, admires Casanova’s serious intents as a writer and in turn shares her secret – that she is a woman. Liberated, she leaves. Casanova returns to his writings and works feverishly before gathering his papers to take to the printers.
Casanova stumbles into Henriette. She reveals her tragic story and moved, Casanova offers her shelter…and more. Madame de Pompadour arrives; she has arranged a meeting between Casanova and Voltaire. Suspecting Casanova is hiding someone, she and Voltaire leave. Casanova begs Henriette to wait for him and rushes off after Voltaire to whom he confidently explains his theory of cubic geometry, only to be mocked.
In Casanova’s absence Henriette’s husband arrives and convinces her to leave with him. Casanova returns to his apartment and finds Henriette has gone with only a letter left behind. Despondent, he attempts to escape into the world of sensuality.
Henriette unexpectedly returns and, finding her worst fears about Casanova confirmed, rejects him forever.
Increasingly haunted by visions of his past, Casanova goes to throw himself into the abyss.
A single page flutters down and Casanova is brought back from the brink by the simple thought of writing. Former lovers and figures from his past dance in his mind’s eye, the human touch of history to be memorialised in his History of My Life.
- Act I – Venice
- Act II – Paris
Read on to find out more about the key characters from Casanova.
- The Savorgnan Sisters - Nanetta & Marta
Outwardly innocent musicians and convent girls, they seduce Casanova while he is still a trainee priest and take his virginity.
- The Three Inquisitors
Agents of the Venetian Inquisition, helping to suppress political and religious dissent.
- Senator Bragadin
Venetian dignitary and socialite. He becomes besotted with Casanova and declares him his heir.
- Father Balbi
A renegade priest and radical.
An aristocratic nun. She is mistress to Cardinal de Bernis.
- Cardinal de Bernis
French ambassador in Venice. Voyeur. M.M. is his mistress.
- Manon Balletti
Cellist and later a courtesan. In love with Casanova and he with her.
A woman masquerading as a man in order to work as a castrato (castrated male) singer. She and Casanova fall in love.
- Madame de Pompadour
Mistress to King Louis XV and the most powerful woman in France.
Character sponsored by
Mrs Jane & Mr Alan Foale
Dressed as a soldier in order to run away from an abusive husband, she is torn between her love for Casanova and that for her children.
The French writer and philosopher. He is everything Casanova aspires to be.
Click on a character to discover more about Casanova...
Special events at the theatre for our production of Casanova this tour.
There are no events scheduled for Casanova.
Casanova will be brought to life through your headset with a live description of the movement, action and drama that takes place on stage.
Each audio described performance is preceded by a Touch Tour Insight with company dancers, which is free to visually impaired patrons and introduces elements of the production to aide in your understanding of the show.
Audio information for Leeds Grand Theatre
Audio information for Sheffield Lyceum Theatre
Audio information for Milton Keynes Theatre
Audio information for Salford, The Lowry
Audio information for London, Sadler's Wells
There are no events scheduled for Casanova.
Running time 2 hours approximately
Act 1 50 mins, 20 min interval, Act 2 55 mins
Running time subject to change
Age guidance: 12+