Dance, News & Commentary, Stage

The Australian Ballet reveals crowd-pleasing 2017 season of ‘wonderment’

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With the Australian Ballet’s Sydney home, the Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre, closed for seven months next year, the company has unveiled a program which seems designed to attract ballet lovers away from the harbour icon and into Haymarket’s Capitol Theatre.

The centrepiece of the season is the Australian premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The production was created on the Royal Ballet in 2011 and features a new, commissioned score by Joby Talbot (the first new score for the Royal Ballet in 20 years), sets and costumes by Broadway design legend Bob Crowley, as well as visual effects and digital projections.


It fits well into the company’s theme for 2017, the “year of wonderment”. That follows on from 2015’s “year of beauty” and this year’s celebration of “the power to transform”.

In its review of the premiere London season of Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandThe Observer wrote: “Alice is a work of many parts, many of them dazzling and a fair few of them magical. With its family audience appeal, it will certainly make money for the Royal Ballet and, in these straitened times, that is an important consideration.”

The work closes the 2017 season in December at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre (a substantially larger space to the Joan Sutherland Theatre) after playing Melbourne’s Arts Centre in September.

The Capitol will also play host to David McAlister’s lavish, Gabriela Tylesova-designed, sold out 2015 production of The Sleeping Beauty. The production plays Brisbane’s QPAC and the Melbourne Arts Centre earlier in the year. It’s the only main stage production to play outside of Melbourne or Sydney for 2017.

Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker – The Story of Clara returns to celebrate its 25th birthday, with seasons in Melbourne and in Sydney at the Joan Sutherland Theatre. The piece uses Tchaikovsky’s iconic score to tell a new narrative of “an elderly Russian emigrant and former prima ballerina, dreaming of the triumphs and challenges of her youth, one hot Christmas Eve in Melbourne.”

In terms of contemporary work, Melbourne will get the chance to see George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, which played Sydney earlier this year, and both Melbourne and Sydney will see Faster, a triple bill featuring David Bintley’s titular Olympics-inspired work, a new work by Wayne McGregor and a new work by Australian Ballet Resident Choreographer Tim Harbour.

See more season details at

[box]Images by Justin Ridler[/box]

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