INTERVIEW | Septime Webre

Interview

Septime Webre is the artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet. He was kind enough to talk to us about Hong Kong Ballet’s new, upcoming production of The Nutcracker.

What made you decide it’s time for a new production of The Nutcracker?

The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition – the Christmas season just wouldn’t be the same without it! Our current production is almost ten years old, and it seemed like the right time for a make-over. The new production is set in early twentieth century Hong Kong, and is a celebration of Hong Kong’s culture, history and natural beauty – I think it will resonate with Hong Kong people.

What about all those audiences who still love the old production of The Nutcracker?

The essence of the previous production is to be found in the majestic Tchaikovsky score, and that remains intact. In fact, the music is the heart of The Nutcracker, and this new production provides the roadmap: it’s very much a return to the original ballet’s concepts, a charming story of a young girl’s marvellous journey to magical new lands.

What have been your major aims for Hong Kong Ballet, since taking on the role of artistic director in 2017?

We have long been one of Asia’s premier ballet companies—our goal is also to be its most forward-looking, with a focus on being cherished locally and respected globally.  We’ve endeavoured to reflect Hong Kong more thoroughly, while simultaneously raising the classical standards of the company. And we’re achieving our goals!

What’s next for Hong Kong Ballet?

So much exciting new work!  A major residency at M+, Hong Kong’s new signature contemporary art museum; the return of Yuri Ng’s lively Ballet Classics for Children: Swan Lake; a mixed bill which celebrates the rule-breakers of ballet; a new full-length ballet about the life of Coco Chanel, and more!

Playing 11 – 26 December 2021 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.

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HK BALLET SEASON 2020/2021 | Hong Kong

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Don Quixote | Li Lin and Hong Kong Ballet Dancers | Photographer: Conrad Dy-Liacco | Courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet

We could not be more thrilled that Hong Kong Ballet, Asia’s premier ballet company, is pirouetting, glissading and jetéing back into live performance starting 30 October 2020.

This new season is bursting with classics, including: Don Quixote (30 October 2020); The Nutcracker (18 December 2020); Artistic Director Septime Webre’s Ballet Classics for Children: Cinderella, featuring a stripped-down and narrated version of Prokofiev’s score (30 January 2021); Balanchine’s Jewels (21 May 2021); and Septime Webre’s new Romeo + Juliet, with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta on Prokofiev’s iconic score (18 June 2021).

In addition, Hong Kong Ballet will be running turn(it)out festival for two weeks at West Kowloon Cultural District’s Freespace, kicking off with an opening gala on 29 January 2021. The Vivaldi / Handel Project follows on 5 February 2021, along with a ton of interactive, family-friendly activities and events throughout the two weeks.

Artistic Director Septime Webre says that the central theme for the new season is, quite simply, love: “The word “love” infuses absolutely everything at Hong Kong Ballet: love of being a dance artist, and love for our amazing city, which has seen and experienced so much this past year. Love fuels the dedicated work we do, and drives the innovative ways we engage with the community. Love is not about getting – it’s about giving.” Well, we certainly cannot wait to celebrate this love for ballet in Hong Kong again.

Read Hong Kong Ballet’s new brochure and get booking.

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PÉLLEAS ET MÉLISANDE | London, Playground Theatre

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Debussy’s celebrated 1902 opera, Pélleas et Mélisande, is the only opera he ever finished. Normally running (with intervals) at three hours, Opera on the Move’s new production has cut it down to 90 minutes straight through, with a cast of just six: three men, three women. Edited and rescored for two pianos by Peter Brook and Marius Constant, this is a dark tale, in which things are rarely as they seem.

Based on Maeterlinck’s inscrutable 1893 symbolist play, a stranger arrives in a strange land. Golaud (Benjamin Schilperoort) discovers Mélisande (Emilie Cavallo) in the forest. Enraptured and obsessed, he brings her home to be his wife. In this home of dying patriarchs, jealous minds and hopeless futures, it is not Golaud she sees, but his brother – Pélleas (Ben Thapa).

Directed by up-and-coming director Gareth Mattey, this new production embraces the surrealism of this fin-de-siècle masterpiece. True to the original, this scaled-down production will be performed in French with English surtitles.

London’s Playground Theatre in Latimer Road is the perfect place for Opera on the Move’s first fully staged opera, bringing together an international cast of singers and performers. Founded in 2018, Opera on the Move is a touring company based in London, who believe that opera is an exciting, engaging, and accessible art form, dedicated to bringing it to places it’s never been before.

Playing 8th and 10th May only. Book tickets online.

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