Wayne McGregor’s new Virginia Woolf ballet leads ROH season

Wayne McGregor. Photo: Anne Deniau
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Wayne McGregor is to create a new full length ballet based on Virginia Woolf texts as part of Royal Opera House’s 2014/15 season.

Called Woolf Works, McGregor’s piece will be based on Orlando, The Waves and Mrs Dalloway. It will be staged in summer 2015 with a newly commissioned score by Max Richter and sees former Royal Ballet principal Alessandra Ferri return to perform with the company.

Meanwhile Hofesh Schechter will make his Royal Ballet debut by choreographing a new piece for the company as part of a triple bill in March. His work will be staged alongside George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth.

The Royal Ballet will also revive Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as its Christmas show on the main stage, alongside the first revival of Carlos Acosta’s production of Don Quixote.

At the same time hip hop dance company ZooNation will perform a new commission in the Linbury Studio Theatre called The Mad Hatter’s T Party.

Other productions include a new work by Liam Scarlett inspired by WH Lauden’s 1946 poem The Age of Anxiety as part of a triple bill in November. Other shows in this programme will be Wheeldon’s Aeturnum and Kim Brandstrup’s Ceremony of Innocence.

There will be a Frederick Ashton mixed bill in October and Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon opening the season in September, both on the main stage. The Linbury will also stage world premieres by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company and Royal Ballet first artist Ludovic Ondiviela

Kevin O Hare, director of Royal Ballet, said: “This season is very much about the contrasts and the range of the repertoire and choreographers we have and also the versatility of the dancers because we want to show the range of work they can tackle.”

Meanwhile, the Royal Opera has revealed its opening main stage performance of the season in September - the first revival of its 2011 production Anna Nicole – will see all tickets sold to students, costing from £1 to £25.

Royal Opera director Kasper Holten said this pricing strategy was not a financial risk because the scheme was being supported by philanthropic donations.

“To turn over the whole house – let alone the opening of a season on such a prestigious night – that is something I’ve never heard any opera house in the world do before,” said Holten.

When asked if this new strategy might be off-putting to older patrons of the Royal Opera House, Holten said: “If our patrons don't understand the necessity of opera moving forward and keeping new audiences interested and making sure it is seen for future generations then I would be very surprised.”

Anna Nicole is conducted by the Royal Opera’s music director Antonio Pappano, who has confirmed he will continue to work at the organisation until at least the end of 2017.

Pappano will also conduct Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chenier - with Jonas Kaufmann making his role debut as Chenier – and will work with Holten for the first time in a new production of Szymanowski’s Krol Roger.

Other productions include the world premiere of Philp Glass’s The Trial, based on Franz Kafka’s novella of the same name, in October, and a new production of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany, which will be conducted by English National Opera’s music director Mark Wigglesworth from March.

There will also be three Verdi revivals – Rigoletto, La Traviata and Falstaff – and two Rossini revivals – Il Turco in Italia and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, while Holten’s Don Giovanni will also return in 2015.