Dutch National Ballet presents
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QUINTESSENTIAL TRAGIC HERO
Ballet and opera together in a world premiere
Opera and ballet join forces for this new production of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. In this unique artistic collaboration, the British choreographer and director Wayne McGregor bridges the world of classical tragedy with the language of contemporary ballet and 20th- and 21st-century music. Composer Samy Moussa wrote a penetrating and poignant response to Stravinsky’s masterpiece.
Oedipus Rex is the story of the downfall of both a city and a hero. Thebes is being devastated by the plague, which the oracle prophesizes will only end when the murderer of the former king has been found. The new king, Oedipus, goes in search of the killer and discovers that he himself is his father’s murderer and his mother’s husband.
Igor Stravinsky called Oedipus Rex an ‘opera oratorio’ – the combination of a dramatic story and a large-scale vocal work in which the men’s chorus plays a prominent role. His music immediately goes to the heart of the story and continues to resonate through the body with its rhythmic power. It’s the ideal form for bringing the world of opera and ballet closer together.
'Wayne McGregor provides a striking staging'
'The physical challenges of his work, his interest in the world of ideas, his curiosity, collaborations and energy have all enriched the dancers.'
With a vibrant sound world, Moussa whirls together passionate harmonic progressions with thoughtful melodic development. Thick, powerful orchestration showcases Samy Moussa’s keen sense of temporal awareness, and sparse injections of subtle colors allow the weight to not become overbearing.
Multitalent Wayne McGregor
Wayne McGregor is a big name in the international dance, opera and film world. Dutch National Ballet previously staged his Chroma to great success, and in April Yugen is given its Dutch premiere. But the British McGregor was also responsible for the choreography of the Harry Potter films and has an impressive track record in staging operas, like recently Orpheus and Eurydice at English National Opera.
From 'Antigone': a new generation, a new story
Dutch National Opera and Dutch National Ballet commissioned a response to Stravinsky’s masterpiece from the young Canadian composer Samy Moussa. His new composition, in which the women’s chorus plays a prominent role, takes as its starting point Antigone, Oedipus’ daughter. And so, a new generation and a new story emerges: From 'Antigone'.
The production is under the musical leadership of Eric Nielsen, one of the world’s foremost specialists in contemporary repertoire. He leads the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in this DNO debut.
Wayne McGregorChoreographer / Director
Wayne McGregor CBE is a British choreographer and director. He is Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor, a creative nexus that pushes the frontiers of physical intelligence through dance, design and technology. Wayne’s work is rooted in dance, yet encompasses a variety of genres including technology, visual art, film, opera and education, as well as Company Wayne McGregor, his own touring company of dancers.
Samy Moussa is a Canadian composer and conductor, born in Montreal in 1984. He is Artist-in-Residence with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and has conducted multiple orchestras. His music for orchestra has been championed by renowned conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach and Hannu Lintu and has been performed by various orchestras in Canada and Europe.
Sung and spoken in Latin and English
Co-production with Dutch National Ballet and Den Norske Opera & Ballett (Oslo)
The new composition by Samy Moussa is commissioned by Dutch National Opera, Dutch National Ballet and Den Norske Opera & Ballett (Oslo)
Team, Cast and Chorus
- Erik Nielsen
- Choreography and stage direction
- Wayne McGregor
- Set and costume designer
- Vicki Mortimer
- Lighting designer
- Lucy Carter
- Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
- Chorus of Dutch National Opera
- Chorus master
- Ching-Lien Wu
- Ramsey Nasr
- Sean Panikkar
- Sarah Connolly
- Bastiaan Everink
- Rafał Siwek
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
ROTTERDAM PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1918, is known for the intensity of its concerts and its colourful sound. Chief conductor is Lahav Shani. His predecessors Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Valery Gergiev are honorary conductors of the orchestra. Recent DNO productions for this orchestra were the European premiere of John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West in 2019 and Carmen in 2020. In 2021 the orchestra will join us for Oedipus Rex / From ‘Antigone’.
CHORUS O F DUTCH NATIONAL OPERA
The Chorus of Dutch National Opera consists of 50 singers and is regularly supplemented by freelance chorus members for major productions. The Chorus of Dutch National Opera already has many milestones to its name, including Saint François d’Assise, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Ercole amante, Boris Godunov, La Juive, Les Troyens, Eugene Onegin, Parsifal, Guillaume Tell, The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, Faust, La forza del destino, Das Floß der Medusa, Oedipe and Tannhäuser, as well as concert performances of Der fliegende Holländer in Rotterdam, Paris and Dortmund and Daphnis et Chloé with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev. Since 1 September, 2014 Ching-Lien Wu is artistic director of the Chorus of Dutch National Opera. Earlier in the 2019- 2020 season, the chorus gave stellar performances in Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana, Nabucco and Carmen. In 2016 the Chorus was awarded the title of ‘Best Opera Chorus’ by the authoritative magazine Opernwelt. In the 2020-2021 season the Chorus will sing in Mefi stofele, Le nozze di Figaro, Aida, Der fl iegende Holländer, Die lustigeWitwe, Anna Bolena and La damnation de Faust.
Experts share their thoughts on current productions Dutch National Opera & Ballet offers an introductory talk 45 minutes before each performance. An expert will share background information, context and interesting details that can give your theatre visit more depth. The talks are in Dutch and are free to all the ticket holders. You can also find an abridged version of the introduction on our website as a podcast.
Foyer Evening - Oedipus Rex / From ‘Antigone’ | OFF
15 February 2021, 20.30 at Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Foyer
Several weeks prior to the premiere of a performance, while the process of creation is still in full throttle, we invite singers, dancers, makers and other experts to share their thrill in creating this production. Sometimes your guide will be a single speaker, at other times other participants will join the discussion; there will always be live dance or music to enjoy, making this a fine way to experience opera and ballet up close.
NB: In principle, the foyer evenings are given in Dutch, but in practice the high number of international guests means that English is often spoken as well.
Main sponsor Junior Company