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A season of mermaids, butterflies, fairies and fiends

Press release date 
Wed 27 Jun 2012

For immediate release - 27 June 2012

Northern Ballet starts a new season in its home city of Leeds with the UK première of David Nixon’s Ondine, which will be performed at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 8 to 15 September.  This is a rare treat for classical ballet fans as the heartbreaking story is seldom performed outside of London.

Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, originally adapted this traditional favourite for Ballet du Rhin in 2005. It tells the story of a doomed romance between a beautiful mermaid and a handsome nobleman. Despite being raised by humans, Ondine retains the mysticism of her kind. When she falls deeply in love with a mortal, Brand, she is transformed from a water nymph to a woman.  In time Brand grows fearful of the otherworldly creature he has married and finds himself drawn to a previous love, but he knows that should he break their bond a watery grave will seek him out.

The production features the original music of Hans Werner Henze. The stunning sets and costumes are created by Jérôme Kaplan.

The season continues with another chance to see David Nixon’s Madame Butterfly, at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre from 18 to 22 September, Manchester Palace Theatre from 25 to 29 September and Nottingham Theatre Royal from 9 to 13 October.

Madame Butterfly was Nixon’s debut work for Northern Ballet, when he joined as Artistic Director in 2001. Innocence, love and betrayal unfold in the picturesque gardens of a Japanese house, when Butterfly is deserted by handsome American, Lieutenant Pinkerton.  East meets west in this tragic tale, which blends classical ballet with Japanese-style dancing and Puccini’s beautiful score, played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, is interspersed with traditional Japanese music.

Following a hugely successful spring tour, Beauty & the Beast, will be performed at a further six venues including Norwich Theatre Royal from 2 to 6 October, Bradford Alhambra Theatre from 24 to 27 October, Woking New Victoria Theatre from 30 October to 3 November, Canterbury Marlowe Theatre from 6 to 10 November, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from 13 to 17 November and Bath Theatre Royal from 27 November to 1 December.

Beauty & the Beast tells the story of a young prince who is magically transformed into a beast and cursed to live alone in his castle until the enchantment is broken by the sacrifice of true love. Audiences will be transported into an enchanting world of colour, inhabited by fairies, goblins and sprites, with an elaborate mirrored set from Duncan Hayler and haute couture-style costumes designed by David Nixon. The show is accompanied by an infectious score from Saint-Säens, Bizet, Debussy and Glazunov, played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

Finally, Northern Ballet returns home to Leeds for Christmas with The Nutcracker – a festive institution and one of Northern Ballet’s most popular ballets. The production will be performed at Leeds Grand Theatre from 18 to 30 December. It tells the story of Clara’s Christmas Eve adventure as she is swept away by her Nutcracker Prince to a magical winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and the famous Sugar Plum Fairy. The production is performed to Tchaikovsky’s enduring score played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

Northern Ballet is one of the UK’s favourite ballet companies and has carved a unique place in the cultural landscape. Renowned for its full-length narrative productions which embrace popular culture and take inspiration from literature, opera, or give a unique interpretation of classical ballets, the Leeds-based company is committed to extensive and regular touring throughout the UK and overseas, developing new audiences for dance.