Virginia Woolf ballet: Royal Opera House to stage piece based on novels Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves
Virginia Woolf may be portrayed in the new ballet, to be staged by the Royal Opera House
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Monday 31 March 2014
A radical ballet based on the life and works of Virginia Woolf that aims to evoke her “elegiac” writing style is to be the centrepiece of a new season at the Royal Opera House (ROH).
Woolf Works, which is inspired by the novels Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves, will adopt a “non-linear narrative” familiar to readers of the English modernist.
Wayne McGregor, resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet, who is behind the new production, said: “At the end of the day it’s about the language. It is so evocative and elegiac. That sensorial feel lends itself so well to the body.”
While the life of a depressive and ultimately suicidal novelist may not be an obvious topic for a ballet, Woolf experts said the idea had merit.
“The style McGregor is talking about would be very much in keeping with the way Woolf wrote,” said Susan Sellers, Professor of English at St Andrews University
“One of the reasons why she continues to be so important to writers and scholars was she was constantly breaking the rules of narrative. She would approve such a radical approach,” she added.
Alice Wood, lecturer in English literature at the University of Portsmouth, said there was “a lyricism to Woolf’s writing style which may lend itself to dance. There’s a range of emotions built into the text.”
Sarah Hall, of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, said: “Often you find high art in one sphere transfers nicely to another. We’re waiting for the opera next.”
Kevin O’Hare, director of the Royal Ballet, said: “Sometimes you wonder about adapting the works of a writer, where the words are so important, but when you read how Woolf writes there’s a sense of movement. Someone like Wayne can really bring that out, and bring out those feelings and senses.”
It is not clear whether Woolf herself will be portrayed on stage, with the Royal Ballet director saying there “may be someone on stage who represents aspects of her character”.
Woolf, who died in 1941 at the age of 59, was one of the most significant modernist writers of the 20th century.
Woolf Works is to be performed in the summer of next year and leads off the ROH’s 2014/15 season, which was announced yesterday.
Also in the season is the first revival of Carlos Acosta’s production of Don Quixote, and new ballets from Hofesh Shechter and Liam Scarlett. The Christmas production this year will be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Downton Abbey season 5 episode 6 - review: Thomas and Lady Edith show sad signs of the times
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd