As part of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the death of Italian poet Dante Alighieri, The Royal Ballet streams its highly acclaimed production of Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project as of Monday, 20th December.
With a score by contemporary composer-conductor Thomas Adès, The Dante Project – inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy and Vita Nuova – relates the story of a man’s journey through the afterlife – moving from the depths of Hell, to his ascent of the Mount of Purgatory and then to the heights of Paradise. It stars The Royal Ballet’s Edward Watson in his final principal role with the Company.
The Royal Ballet premiered Act I of this work, Inferno, at the Music Center of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, on 12th July 2019, during the Company’s US tour, as part of a mixed programme celebrating the collaborative works of Thomas Adès and Wayne McGregor. A co-production with the Paris Opera Ballet, the full ballet premiered in London on 14th October 2021, at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The score was co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic – Music Director Gustavo Dudamel.
The Guardian describes The Dante Project as “bold, beautiful and utterly engaging”, and theartsdesk.com writes of it as “a towering achievement”. The London Magazine says that “The breadth of Adès’ new score is masterful and expansive”, and “the scale of Tacita Dean’s stage designs are monumental”. Lighting is by Lucy Carter and Simon Bennison, and the dramaturg is Uzma Hameed.
Edward Watson, trained at The Royal Ballet School, graduated into The Royal Ballet in 1994, and was promoted to Principal in 2005. His repertoire with The Royal Ballet includes major works by Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan, and previous roles created on him by Wayne McGregor include Symbiont(s), Qualia, Chroma, Infra, Limen, Carbon Life, Raven Girl, Tetractys, Woolf Works, Obsidian Tear and Multiverse. Among other roles which he created are Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, and John Singer Sargent in Strapless. He has also appeared in works by a number of choreographers, including George Balanchine and Alexei Ratmansky.
Among the many awards which Edward Watson has received are the 2012 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance, the 2015 Benois de la danse and Critics’ Circle Awards in 2001 and 2008. He was awarded an MBE in 2015 and appointed a Répétiteur of The Royal Ballet in 2020, a role which he will continue to perform.
Music Director Koen Kessels leads the Orchestra of The Royal Opera House – Concert Master Sergey Levitin – and the London Symphony Chorus – director Simon Halsey.
A full cast list can be seen on this link.
The Royal Ballet’s production of The Dante Project – recorded live at the Royal Opera Houseon 26th October this year – will be available to watch from 7.30pm BST on 20th December 2021 to 19th January 2022, and bookings can be made via this link.
Information sourced from The Royal Ballet programme notes