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Vienna State Ballet - Season 2018/19 - Press Conference: May 24th, 2018

Vienna State Ballet - Season 2018/19 - Press Conference: May 24th, 2018

I am sure that, as usual, many 100% replicas, “carbon copies” (can anyone still understand THAT?) of the official press text from the State Opera will appear online and on print.

I much prefer to use my personal insights and points of view about the wonderful and very rich information that was given to us yesterday at the Vienna State Opera by Manuel Legris (Director of the Vienna State Balet), Mag. Simone Wohinz (Commercial Director) and Simona Noja-Nebyla (Director of the Ballet Academy of the State Opera).

Copyright: Ashley Taylor / Vienna State Opera

Copyright: Ashley Taylor / Vienna State Opera

Before starting, I must confess that I'll concentrate on the "artistic side" of the conference: Premières, Repertoire, Guests... not on facts and figures (with one exception) and the Ballet Academy.

“attitude-devant” (what we coud call of “looking ahead”), yes, that is the point! But we must not only consider the next Season (2018/19) but also the next five weeks before the end of this season: Incredibly enough, after a whole season of hard work, there are still six different programmes during these last weeks: “Giselle” (including Olga Smirnova’s and Semyion Chudin’s guest appearances on June 6th), the (for me so-called) “English Evening” which consists of  MacMillan’s “Concerto”, Wayne McGregor’s “Eden/Eden” and the sublime “Marguerite and Armand” by Frederick Ashton as well as “Cendrillon” by Thierry Malandain, Patrick de Bana’s Masterpiece “Marie Antoinette”, Jorma Elo’s brilliant “A midsummer Night’s Dream” and the very time-consuming, laborious and lavish “Nureyev Gala” on June 29th (this year with guest appearances in “Marguerite and Armand” and Mr. B’s “Jewels-pas de deux” by Royal Ballet’s Stars Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov, Bolshoi’s Olga Smirnova and Semion Sudin in Jean Christophe Maillot’s “The Taming of the Shrew” as well as Alexandre Riabko and Ivan Urban in “Opus 100” by John Neumeier)

Mr. Legris reminded: "This is a very important evening" (and I guess emotional). An important Gala for all concerned – and I do agree with that: This year is Rudolph Nureyev’s 25th Death Anniversary and everyone involved in it is conscious of that fact. A celebration to Art. Ballet at its best. And its continuing existence – because true Art never dies. Mr Legris will appear this time in „Le Rendez-Vous“ by Roland Petit with breathtaking, sensitive Irina Kymbal.

More about this Gala very soon…

But I have to reveal great News to all “Balletomanes” in Vienna (or from abroad because many visit Vienna just because of this marvelous yearly event): After one year injured – yes, it happened in the Nureyev Gala last year - Davide Dato is making his “Come-Back”. We wish him all the luck and success in the world!

I am also sure that the public will be delighted with the last piece of the evening. “The Nureyev Celebration” which will consist of excerpts of Raymonda and Swan Lake.


Next year’s Highlights for the Vienna State Ballet include important Premières like “Sylvia” (Manuel Legris’ second full-evening Ballet project, a piece not very known to Viennese audiences since it was last danced here in 1985), “Forsythe/Van Manen/ Kylián” ( presenting “Artifact Suite” by Forsythe, “Trois Gnossienes” and “Solo” by Hans van Manen and “Psalm Symphony” by Jiri Kylián), “Coppelia”, using young casts, not the well-known soloists… yes, one must look into the future and try to materialize it. Nothing better than “Coppelia” for this. Trying young Dancers as Swanilda and Franz. I personally like this very much! Especially because not even the Paris Opera has such a lavish production with three acts anymore (they have reduced it to just two acts) and lastly  “Peter Pan” danced by the Volksoper dancers.

In the Repertoire for the 2018/19: “Giselle”, “Peer Gynt”, Nureyev’s “The Nutcracker”, Nureyev’s “Swan Lake”, John Neumeier’s “Le Pavillon D’Armide” and “Le Sacre”, “The English Evening” (MacMillan/McGregor/Ashton”, Jorma Elo’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Roméo et Juliette” and Legris’ “Le Corsaire”.

The number of performances has been increased: the “terms” say that there should be 50 Ballet evenings in the State Opera and 30 at the Volksoper. Next year there’ll be 58 and 36… 14 more than originally planned and agreed upon.

We have reasons enough to look forward to next year’s Season.

Note: Unfortunately there were some clumsy questions about who is going to be the “next” Ballet director (Editor's comment: Monsieur Legris is leaving the company at the End of the 2019/20 Season) . These questions were adressed in fact to the wrong person, at the wrong moment, in the wrong situation and place. But he reacted as the Gentleman he is and simply said: “I do not know”. When asked about his future plans – he simply answered in the most honest, charming, continental way (with a broad smile): “I would tell you... but I do not know!”


Ricardo Leitner

May 24th, 2018


A message to young dancers...

A message to young dancers...

A short Talk with Alice Firenze, Soloist Vienna State Ballet, Feb.15th, 2018

A short Talk with Alice Firenze, Soloist Vienna State Ballet, Feb.15th, 2018