English National Ballet launches on-demand video platform

English National Ballet has announced that its dedicated on-demand video platform, ENB at Home, is now available to stream, giving audiences the opportunity to view a selection of the Company’s productions, with Ballet on Demand. Also available to view, by subscription, is BalletActive – a range of ballet-based classes.

Ballet on Demand currently features five productions – Akram Khan’s award-winning Giselle, Bournonville’s Romantic-era La Sylphide, the colourful and vibrant Le Corsaire, Akram Khan’s Dust – a moving reflection of the First World War – and a documentary, ENB in PARIS.

Giselle is choreographer Akram Khan’s highly acclaimed reimagination of the classic 1841 ballet in a staging which – according to the Mail on Sunday – “may well rank as a masterpiece of 21st century dance”. He places this story of love, betrayal and forgiveness in a community of migrant garment factory workers – of whom Giselle is one – who have lost their jobs following the closure of the factory. Giselle dies of grief when she discovers that the man she loves, Albrecht, is engaged to another. The Wilis and their Queen, Myrtha, are ghosts of factory workers seeking revenge for past wrongdoings against them. Once in their clutches, Giselle is briefly reunited with Albrecht, and grants him forgiveness, before she is spirited away by the Wilis.

Giselle is danced by Tamara Rojo, and Albrecht by James Streeter. The role of Myrtha is taken by Stina Quagebeur and Jeffrey Cirio is Hilarion. The score, by Vincenzo Lamagna, is adapted from the Adolphe Adam’s original, and orchestrated by Gavin Sutherland who leads the English National Ballet Philharmonic.

August Bournonville’s enchanting 1836 ballet La Sylphide is set in Scotland in the 1800s – a time during which the country was regarded as an exotic, faraway land. James, relaxing in an armchair on the morning of his wedding to Effie, has his reverie disturbed by the presence of an ethereal and alluring sylph. His pursuit of this enigmatic creature sets in train a series of events that leads to a trail of infatuation, betrayal and, finally, tragedy.

La Sylphide – one of the oldest ballets in existence – is a recreation of Bournonville’s original work, by Eva Kloborg, Frank Andersen and Anne Marie Vessel Schlüter. This performance, filmed at the Manchester Palace Theatre in 2017, during English National Ballet’s Autumn Tour that year, features Jurgita Dronina as the Sylph, Isaac Hernández as James and Anjuli Hudson as Effie.

Herman Severin Løvenskiold’s score – the oldest Romantic ballet score still being performed today – is played by the English National Ballet Philharmonic, led by Music Director, Gavin Sutherland.

Colourful, vibrant and exciting, with dazzling dance sequences, Le Corsaire was described as “hugely enjoyable” by the Telegraph, and “fabulously entertaining” by the Observer. Staged by Anna-Marie Holmes (after Marius Petipa and Konstantin Sergeyev), this production follows the libretto of the 1856 original by Jules-Henri de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier, based on Lord Byron’s 1814 poem, The Corsair. The score retains the music of the original production – by Adolphe Adam, Cesare Pugni, Grand Duke Pyotr Georgievich of Oldenburg and Léo Delibes – with additional music from Riccardo Drigo, Ludwig Minkus, Yuly Gerber, Baron Boris Fitinhof-Schnell, Albert Zabel and J Zibin. The score is edited by Lars Payne and Gavin Sutherland – who leads the English National Ballet Philharmonic.

Le Corsair tells of the dashing pirate – danced by Vadim Muntagiro – and his quest to rescue his beloved Medora (Alina Cojocaru) – from the slave trader Lankendem (Dmitri Gruzdyev). The action moves from the high seas to a busy market place, to the pirate’s cave and subsequently the Pasha’s grand palace. Costumes and decor for this extravagant production are by Hollywood’s Bob Ringwood.

English National Ballet is the only English company with Le Corsaire in its repertoire, and it has presented the work internationally, to high acclaim, in capitals such as Paris and Tokyo.

In his 2014 reflection of the First World War, Akram Khan created Dust as part of the Lest We Forget programme of ballets, presented by English National Ballet to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities. The ballet covers three themes – the trenches and the men digging and living in them; the massive social shift towards the women at home, providing the huge workforce needed to keep the war effort going; and the relationship between the soldiers and these women – the latter being aware that their menfolk could be killed at the front, yet nevertheless helping to produce the weapons which would kill other husbands, fathers and sons.

The “pounding soundtrack” is by multi-award-winning British composer Jocelyn Pook. Choreography and direction are by Akram Khan, and Fabian Reimair, Tamara Rojo and James Streeter join the artists of English National Ballet in this production.

ENB in PARIS is a documentary, by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, of the Company’s first engagement at the Paris Opera in 2016 – English National Ballet being the first UK company to perform on the stage of the Palais Garnier in 60 years. It’s an in-depth account of how the dancers prepared for their historic performances of Le Corsaire in the French capital.

Additional titles which will be available to view on demand will be announced soon. For more details, please visit the Ballet on Demand website.

Details of BalletActive can be found on this link.

Information sourced from:

English National Ballet programme notes

The Petipa Society

ArtsPreview home page

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