Wednesday February 21, 2024
Dickens's A Christmas Carol sees world premiere at Finnish National Ballet
Published : 03 Nov 2023, 04:25
The Finnish National Ballet will unveil a brand-new Christmas ballet on December 1, inspired by the timeless tale of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, said an official press release on Thursday.
Behind this full-length ballet production are the British choreographer David Bintley and the composer Sally Beamish, both well-versed in Dickens’s literary legacy.
While A Christmas Carol has long been a traditional holiday play in theatres across Britain and around the world, it has seen only a handful of adaptations into dance works.
In recent decades, A Christmas Carol has also become a popular fixture in the festive season repertoire of many Finnish theatres. Now, for the very first time in Finland, the story will be interpreted as a ballet.
David Bintley, who served as the Artistic Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet for several decades, has contemplated turning A Christmas Carol into a ballet for more than 40 years.
"A Christmas Carol is a company piece, as it has countless small characters. Every little role has an impact on Scrooge – they all contribute to his recognition of what he is and what he has done," Bintley said.
The ballet's large group scenes depicting Christmas parties will also feature dance numbers inspired by traditional British folk dances. Prior to this, Bintley has choreographed Cinderella for the Finnish National Ballet in 2018.
The score of the production is by Sally Beamish, a London-born composer and musician, who draws inspiration from various musical genres, including jazz and Scottish folk music. A Christmas Carol marks Beamish's third ballet composition. The first ballet she composed was The Tempest, also choreographed by David Bintley.
The creative team for A Christmas Carol has gained extensive experience in the UK theatre scene. Anna Fleischle, responsible for the set design, costumes, and projections, has built her career in London. In addition to opera and theatre productions, she has contributed to set and costume designs for dance productions at venues such as the Scottish Dance Theatre, Royal Opera House, Sadler's Wells, and the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. During his career spanning more than 40 years, lighting designer Mark Henderson has worked on numerous theatre, dance, and opera productions for leading British companies, as well as West End and Broadway musicals. Both designers have received accolades, such as the Tony Award and the Laurence Olivier Award.
In the Finnish National Ballet's production, Scrooge will be portrayed by Johan Pakkanen, Antti Keinänen and Sergei Popov.
The role of young Scrooge will be danced by Michal Krčmář, Florian Modan, Clark Eselgroth and Jun Xia, while Abigail Sheppard, Violetta Keller, Eun-Ji Ha and Yuka Masumoto will be seen as his fiancée, Bella. The Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera will be led by the British conductor Paul Murphy, who also serves as the Principal Conductor of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
The performance of the Finnish National Ballet at the Opera House in Helsinki will be broadcast as a recording in Germany, France, Switzerland, and Belgium on the ARTE TV channel on 23 December 2023. It will be available on the arte.tv platform for three months.