The premiere of Krzysztof Pastor’s The Tempest after William Shakespeare on 9 April will inaugurate the 8th Days of Dance at the Teatr Wielki, this year fully taken up by the Shakespeare Festival of the Polish National Ballet that marks the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.
The rendition of The Tempest has been co-produced with the Dutch National Ballet, the company where Krzysztof Pastor’s choreographic work began and whose resident choreographer he still is, while also serving as the director of the Polish National Ballet.
Less than two years after its world premiere in Amsterdam, Pastor’s The Tempest will open in Warsaw in the same visual setting (video projections: Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari, set and lightning design: Jean Kalman, costumes: Tatyana van Walsum), yet in a revived choreography performed by the Polish National Ballet.
In the leading roles on the opening night we will see: Vladimir Yaroshenko (Prospero), Yuka Ebihara (Miranda), Maksim Woitiul (Ferdinand), Patryk Walczak (Ariel), Paweł Koncewoj (Caliban), Bartosz Zyśk (Stephano), and Kurusz Wojeński (Trinculo). Accompanying the choreography will be music by the masters of English baroque (Purcell, Tallis, Johnson, Locke) and contemporary Dutch composer Michel van der Aa, performed by the Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera under British conductor Matthew Rowe. The symbollic role of Old Prospero – just like in Amsterdam – will be taken on by Iranian instrumentalist Abbas Bakhtiari, who will improvise on the daf drum in line with his country’s music traditions.
The Shakespeare Festival will see five performances of The Tempest in different casts (9, 10, 22, 23, and 24 April). On the other dates we will show productions devised by the PNB in recent years in anticipation of the major Shakespeare anniversary. These will include, successively: Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo and Juliet (13, 14, and 15 April), John Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (17, 19, and 20 April), Jacek Tyski’s Hamlet (Młynarski Hall, 21 April), and John Cranko’s The Taming of The Shrew (27 and 28 April). All of the performances will feature leading soloists of the Polish National Ballet, the audience’s favourites, in a vast array of Shakespeare creations.
The festival’s partner is the British Council as part of its programme Shakespeare Lives in 2016. (pch)