Houston Ballet Launches 45th Season
With The Company Premiere Of John Neumeiers
A Midsummer Nights Dream
September 4 – 14
Feel free to add A Midsummer Nights Dream dates to your event calendars.
At 7:30 pm on September 4, 6, 12, 13, 2014
At 2:00 pm on September 7, 13, 14, 2014
For more information on A Midsummer Nights Dream visit: http://www.houstonballet.org/Ticketing_Schedule/Season_Calendar/A_Midsummer_Nights_Dream/
Watch a preview of A Midsummer Nights Dream
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HOUSTON BALLET LAUNCHES 45TH SEASON
WITH THE COMPANY PREMIERE OF JOHN NEUMEIERS
A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM
SEPTEMBER 4 – 14
Company Begins Season-Long Celebration of William Shakespeare
on the 450th Anniversary of His Birth, Showcasing Three Productions
Inspired by His Works
Houston Ballet is the First American Company to Perform
A Midsummer Nights Dream
Houston, Texas — From September 4-14, 2014, Houston Ballet launches its 45th season with the company premiere of John Neumeiers visually stunning three-act ballet A Midsummer Nights Dream. The ballet is based on Shakespeares joyous romantic comedy of the same name and follows the hijinks and hilarity that ensues when a well-intentioned plan with a love potion goes awry. Created in 1977, A Midsummer Nights Dream has served as Mr. Neumeiers calling card, and is one of his most joyous and popular creations. Houston Ballet is the first American ballet company to perform the famous work, and it is the first piece by Mr. Neumeier to enter Houston Ballets repertoire. Houston Ballet will give seven performances of A Midsummer Nights Dream at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston. Tickets start at $20, and may be purchased at www.houstonballet.org, or by calling 713 227 2787.
During its 2014-15 season, the company celebrates the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeares birth by performing three ballets based on his most enduring tales: the company premiere of A Midsummer Nights Dream; the world premiere of Stanton Welchs Romeo and Juliet February 26 March 8, 2015; and John Crankos The Taming of the Shrew June 11 21, 2015.
On Friday, September 5, 2014 at 6:00 pm, Houston Ballet will host a free Dance Talk entitled Ballet and the Bard at Houston Ballet Center for Dance, 601 Preston Street. The discussion will focus on dance interpretations of Shakespeares work and preview the seasons three Shakespeare ballets. Featured panelists include Dr. Elizabeth Klett, Associate Professor of Literature at University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch, and members of Houston Ballet artistic staff. Dr. Klett is the author of numerous articles on adaptations of Shakespeare in theatre, film, television and dance.
John Neumeier is one of the greatest choreographers of narrative ballets in the world today, comments Mr. Welch. With his four-decade tenure as artistic director of Hamburg Ballet, he has transformed that city into a mecca for dance. A Midsummer Nights Dream is one of Neumeiers signature works, a three-act ballet that is a funny, delightful romantic comedy with many magical elements.
Houston Ballets production of A Midsummer Nights Dream is made possible through the generosity of Phoebe and Bobby Tudor. “We realize the importance of bringing works to Houston by the best choreographers in the world today, and John Neumeier is among the best of the best. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of his masterpieces and seemed a perfect work to add to the company’s repertoire, commented Mrs. Tudor. I think it will be a wonderful challenge for our dancers and I know they will perform it splendidly.
Mr. Neumeiers production skillfully weaves together the three narrative strands of Shakespeares joyous romantic comedy: the four young lovers who flee the court of Athens for the forest; the world of the fairies, presided over by Oberon, king of the fairies, and his queen Titania, and their mischievous servant Puck; and the six craftsmen who set out to perform a hilarious amateur theatrical production of the love story Pyramus and Thisbe.
Reviewing for Dance Australia, Denise Richardson called the production Faithful to the original tale . . . it sparkles with humour and a lush sensuality that is captivating. Writing in the South China Morning Post, Jason Gagliardi commented, Dream we did, swept away by John Neumeier’s ambitious staging of the Bard’s densely-layered tale. Here is a choreographer at the height of his power – his effortless ranging from classical grand pas de deux to writhing modern mayhem could easily have come over as a messy, silly hodge-podge in the hands of a lesser artist. But Neumeier – who perhaps more than any other choreographer successfully fuses the dance and literary worlds – guides us with assurance and a finely honed sense of humor through Shakespeare’s most loved comedy, from its bedroom-farce laughs to its exploration of the nature of illusion and reality…”
Particularly captivating is the set and costume design by Jürgen Rose. The opening scene is awash with shades of blue and cream, and the costumes evoke the elegance of the Regency period. When the ballet shifts to the world of the fairies, the refined human world fades away to smoky green blackness and magical trees dot the stage.
The internationally acclaimed German stage designer Jürgen Rose has enjoyed an illustrious career in design for ballet, opera, and theater in his home country and around the world. Born in Bernburg/Sale, Germany, Mr. Rose studied in Berlin at both the Kunstakademie (Academy of Arts) and the Theatre School. Mr. Roses famous collaboration with John Cranko began in 1962 when he designed the sets and costumes for the Stuttgart Ballets production of Romeo and Juliet. Since 1972, Mr. Rose has worked with John Neumeier, artistic director of the Hamburg Ballet, on many ballets. He has designed Mr. Neumeiers full-length Peer Gynt (1989) and Cinderella(1992), both for the Hamburg Ballet.
Music is pivotal to A Midsummer Nights Dream. In the play, Shakespeare created Three Worlds: the aristocratic world of Duke Theseus and his court; the fairy world of Oberon, Titania and Puck; and the world of the mechanicals Bottom and his friends. Mr. Neumeier uses different music to represent each of these worlds. Mendelssohn Bartholdys original incidental music accompanies the aristocrats. The organ music of György Ligeti establishes the ethereal world of the fairies; and the mechanicals, or craftsmen, dance to the music of a barrel organ.
Since 1973 Mr. Neumeier has been Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet; since 1996 he has been “Ballettintendant” (General Manager). He was born in 1942 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he also received his first dance training. He went on to study ballet both in Copenhagen and at the Royal Ballet School in London. He acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Theater Studies from Marquette University, Wisconsin, where he created his first choreographic works.
In 1963 he was “discovered” in London by Marcia Haydée and Ray Barra, leading John Cranko to engage him at the Stuttgart Ballet, where he progressed to solo dancer. In 1969 Ulrich Erfurth appointed Neumeier as Director of Ballet in Frankfurt, where he soon caused a sensation. This was largely due to his new interpretations of such well-known ballets as The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Daphnis and Chloe. In 1973 August Everding brought him to Hamburg. Under Mr. Neumeier’s direction The Hamburg Ballet became one of the leading ballet companies in the German dance scene and soon received international recognition. Mr. Neumeier has been particularly inspired by the works of Shakespeare, creating narrative works based upon Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Hamlet.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM FACT SHEET
WHAT: A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM (1977)
Houston Ballet Premiere
Music by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847) and Gyorgy Ligeti
Choreography by John Neumeier
Scenic and Costume design by Jurgen Rose
Stagers: Janusz Mazon, Niurka Moredo and Lloyd Riggins
Houston Ballets performances of A Midsummer Nights Dream are generously underwritten by Phoebe and Bobby Tudor. Additional support has been provided by ConocoPhillips and The Wortham Foundation, Inc.
PROGRAM: American choreographer John Neumeier, artistic director of The Hamburg Ballet since 1973, is one of Europes most highly regarded dance makers. Houston Ballet is pleased to introduce the first work by Mr. Neumeier into the companys repertoire: his 1977 staging of William Shakespeares beloved romantic comedy A Midsummer Nights Dream, acclaimed by the Hamburger Morgenpost as the jewel in John Neumeiers uvre. Featuring lavish scenery and costumes by the acclaimed German designer Jurgen Rose, the ballet brings to vivid life the magic and merriment of Shakespeares classic text.
WHEN: At 7:30 pm on September 4, 6, 12, 13, 2014
At 2:00 pm on September 7, 13, 14, 2014
WHERE: Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Avenue in downtown Houston
TICKETS: Start at $20. Call (713) 227 ARTS (2787) or 1 800 828 ARTS.
Also available at Houston Ballet Box Office at Wortham Theater Center downtown at 501 Texas at Smith Street Monday Friday 9 am 5pm
INFORMATION: Visit Houston Ballet online at www.houstonballet.org.