KIM BRANDSTRUP’S FIRST MAINSTAGE WORK FOR
THE ROYAL BALLET USES ‘LOST’ PROKOFIEV SCORE
Rushes – Nine fragments of a lost story (working title)
World Premiere: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 (part of Royal Ballet Triple-Bill)
The British-based Danish choreographer Kim Brandstrup is to use a previously unperformed film score by Prokofiev to explore dark Dostoyevskian themes in his new one-act work for The Royal Ballet. The Prokofiev music has been orchestrated by the British composer Michael Berkeley.
The ballet, Rushes - Nine fragments of a lost story (working title), receives its World Premiere at the Royal Opera House on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 as part of a triple-bill.
In an unusual approach, Brandstrup will create subtly different choreography for the three Principal dancers in his two alternate casts: Carlos Acosta, Zenaida Yanovsky and Alina Cojocaru and (name tbc), Leanne Benjamin and Tamara Rojo
The ballet is designed by Richard Hudson with lighting by Jean Kalman.
Six performances of the ballet are scheduled: April 23, 24 and May 8, 9, 10, 14, 2008.
This is Kim Brandstrup’s first main-stage commission from The Royal Ballet although in recent years he has worked regularly with some of the Company’s finest dancers. His Two Footnotes to Ashton for Johan Kobborg, Alina Cojocaru and Zenaida Yanowsky, created in 2005 for an Ashton celebration evening, was hailed as an instant classic.
The working title for Brandstrup’s new ballet is Rushes - Nine fragments of a lost story - its subtitle evoking Dostoyevsky’s preliminary character studies for his great novel, The Idiot. It also refers to the cinematic structure of the choreography, and the sweep of Prokofiev’s score, written originally for film.
Dostoyevsky’s psychological narratives have proved an enduring source of inspiration for Brandstrup; White Nights, created for English National Ballet in 1994 from a short story and two ballets for his own company, Arc - Elegy (2001) and Brothers (2002) - were both inspired by characters from Dostoyevsky’s novels.
Brandstrup is well known for the strong narrative quality of his choreography but he emphasises that Rushes - Nine fragments of a lost story will be no ‘story ballet ‘– rather a series of ‘implied narratives’.
Brandstrup is also known for the strong bond he makes with dancers, building on the individual strengths and characteristics of each performer with whom he works. So he will make subtly different choreography for each of the three Principal dancers that lead the alternate casts - giving audiences a quite different experience on each night.
The ballet has a cast of fifteen – six couples common to both casts and two sets of three Principal dancers. Carlos Acosta, Zanaida Yanowsky and Alina Cojocaru will perform on the opening night and (name tbc), Leanne Benjamin and Tamara Rojo are cast for the following performance.
KIM BRANDSTRUP FINDS ‘LOST’ PROKOFIEV SCORE FOR HIS NEW BALLET
A Prokofiev film score which has been languishing in a Moscow archive for the past 70 years is the music which Brandstrup has chosen for his new ballet Rushes - Nine fragments of a lost story.
The music, originally written for a film version of The Queen of Spades, and which never reached the screen, will receive its first public performance at the Royal Opera House on April 23 when the ballet is premiered. The fragmentary score has been arranged and elaborated by the British composer Michael Berkeley, working closely with Brandstrup.
Kim Brandstrup was first alerted to the existence of the music in a Moscow archive in a footnote to an article by American Prokofiev scholar Simon Morrison. Sensing that the fragmentary score might have potential for his new ballet, Brandstrup tracked down a photocopy of the music in the Prokofiev Archive at Goldsmith’s College in South London and obtained permission from the composer’s Estate to use it.
Brandstrup was immediately taken by the music’s energy and rhythm and its obsessive quality.
Prokofiev was originally commissioned in 1936 to write the music for a planned film, The Queen of Spades, to be made by Mikhail Romm, the noted Russian director. When the film was called off, the music was left in its fragmentary state. Two years later Prokofiev wrote his best-known film music, for Sergei Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky and later for his Ivan the Terrible.