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The Tempest Magical ballet adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in collaboration with Shirin Neshat

This show was to been seen in June 2014

World premiere at the 2014 Holland Festival

This is a world premiere by resident choreographer Krzysztof Pastor, freely inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest. For this performance, Pastor collaborates with the celebrated Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, known for her work in film, video and photography. For this performance, Pastor collaborates with the celebrated Iranian visual artists Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari.

In short

For the 2014 Holland Festival, Dutch National Ballet will present a new, full-length production made by resident choreographer Krzysztof Pastor. For this performance, Pastor works together with the celebrated Iranian visual artists Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari. Shirin Neshat is renown worldwide for her poetic depictions with which she calls attention to the isolated position of women within Islamic societies. She was named “Artist of the Decade” by The Huffington Post in 2010.



Shakespeare’s magic
It’s been 450 years since Shakespeare’s day of birth. One of the many plays he wrote is The Tempest. Choreographer Krzysztof Pastor makes an adaption of the play about Prospero. He will use elements and characters from the story, but for him it is more about the magic hidden within the theatrical text. 

For this special production, Krzysztof Pastor will work with film and video artist Shirin Neshat. Krzysztof Pastor sees a relationship between her way of working and dance: “You can say so much with both, without shouting it from the rooftops.’’ For this new work Shirin Neshat collaborates with Shoja Azari.

The story
The Tempest was first performed in 1611. The title refers to the storm caused by Prospero, the Duke of Milan. He is seeking to use the storm to get revenge – on the one side against his brother Antonio, and on the other hand against Alonso, the King of Naples. The two have banished him to an island, expecting him to be lost at sea. During the twelve long years on the island, Prospero devotes himself to perfecting the art of magic. Then he takes control like a powerful director who’s pulling all the strings – the other characters are nothing more than marionettes under his power. 


For The Tempest, Pastor and Neshat will use compositions by Henry Purcell, Thomas Tallis, Robert Johnson, Matthew Locke and Michel van der Aa, as well as traditional Iranian music. The musical accompaniment is provided by Holland Symfonia, conducted by Matthew Rowe. With: Dave ten Kate (countertenor) and daf-player and actor Abbas Bakhtiari.

Artistic team
Choreography: Krzysztof Pastor
Video: Shirin Neshat en Shoja Azari
Dramaturgie: Willem Bruls
Set- and lighting design: Jean Kalman
Costume design: Tatyana van Walsum
Musical advice: Jan Pieter Koch

The Tempest is een coproductie met Polish National Ballet, Teatr Wielki - Opera Narodowa.


Every performance of National Opera & Ballet is preceded by an introductory talk. Learn more, enjoy more.

The introduction begins 45 minutes before curtain and is held in the foyer of the second balcony. The introduction is free of charge to everyone attending the performance, and amplification is used to enhance audibility. Several days prior to the premiere, the introduction will be made available digitally as a podcast. Check the performance page of the production in question to see if the podcast has already been made available.


Program book

View the printed programme (in Dutch, with an English summary) for The Tempest here (PDF, 6 MB):

program book

    Mon 27 Jan de Volkskrant

    ‘For more than two hours, Krzysztof Pastor offers his public a lovely balance between serenity and theatricality’

    Sun 16 Feb Trouw, writing about Bolero (2012)

    ‘Bolero from resident choreographer Krzystof Pastor is much more sensuous and alluring. (…) the dancers move in an organic and sensuous way in front of a large square backdrop that changes colour. Their bodies seem to be made of liquid, they effortlessly enchant the hall.’

    Mon 16 Jun The Spectator (about Pastor's Romeo & Juliette)

    Enticingly rich and it never loses momentum

    Mon 16 Jun Sunday Herald (about Pastor's Romeo & Juliette)

    ***** Breathtaking – a triumph.

    Mon 16 Jun The Telegraph (about Pastor's Romeo & Juliette)

    **** Stunning... Genuinely beautiful and touching.