An incredibly verbose press release has just landed from the corporate wing of the ROH.
It tells us that an expeditionary party is heading up the Amazon to develop a long-term ‘releationship’ (sic) with the ‘Theatro Municipal’ in Rio de Janeiro. The idea is to create an ‘education, audience engagement and skills programme’. (We read these meaningless things so you don’t have to.) It appears that Covent Garden is spreading its wings and wants a front seat at the carnival. End of.
Here’s a bit of blurb.
13 February 2013
THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE HEADS TO BRAZIL TO DEVELOP NEW LONG TERM RELEATIONSHIP WITH THE THEATRO MUNICIPAL IN RIO DE JANEIRO AND TO OPEN ITS NEW SEASON WITH THREE GALA PERFORMANCES WITH ARTISTS FROM THE ROYAL BALLET AND THE JETTE PARKER YOUNG ARTISTS PROGRAMME
Thursday 21 and Friday 22 February Education Symposium
Friday 1, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 March Gala Performances
The Royal Opera House is expanding its international links, creating a long term education, audience engagement and skills programme in Rio de Janeiro designed to strengthen and develop links between the ROH, Theatro Municipal and the arts education communities in both countries. This work follows the established memorandum of understanding between the Royal Opera House and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, a model of best practice in the international exchange of ideas and knowledge.
Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said “This is a very exciting initiative between Brazil and the UK. I’m particularly thrilled that we are sharing skills, training and development between the two countries. This is also a fantastic opportunity to build on our audiences already established in Brazil through our cinema screenings, and seems entirely fitting that the two countries are working together more closely across culture, inspired partly by the creativity that was so prominent during the London 2012 Olympics and London 2012 Festival.”
A two day Symposium, developed in partnership with the Theatro Municipal and the British Council’s TRANSFORM Festival brings together dance teachers and practitioners from a wide variety of Rio dance schools, social organisations and professional dance companies which currently offer training programmes for children. Together with representatives from the Royal Opera House and Theatro Municipal, they will investigate approaches to ballet teaching and how to use dance as an educational tool to develop the individual.
The aim is to stimulate discussion around the theme of developing life skills in children through participation in ballet, to create a forum for the exchange of ideas and skills, and to establish new relationships that can lead to longer term dialogue and professional development.
The Symposium also aims to celebrate the strong local practice in creating access to art and culture in the city’s favelas and disadvantaged communities, and will provide an invaluable opportunity for knowledge exchange and mutual learning.
Paul Reeve, Director of Learning and Engagement, Clare Thurman, Ballet Education Manager and David Pickering, Dance Practitioner (and dancer with The Royal Ballet), will lead talks and discussions at the Symposium alongside representatives of the ROH’s Chance to Dance programme which offers free ballet training to primary school children in two inner London boroughs and in Thurrock. The Symposium also includes practical sessions led by teachers from both countries.
In addition to the Symposium, ROH’s team will lead participatory ballet sessions on the stage of Theatro Municipal with groups of children and young people drawn from community dance projects in Rio.
The educational activity is followed by three Gala Performances with eight Royal Ballet Principals and three Jette Parker Young Artists which will open the Theatro Municipal 2013 Season.
Oak Foundation, supporters of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme since 2005, has generously made an additional grant in support of this programme of activity, which also includes a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by former Young Artist André Heller-Lopes
Brazilians Roberta Marquez and Thiago Soares, together with Leanne Benjamin, Federico Bonelli, Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae, Marianela Nunez and Edward Watson, will dance a variety of pas de deux from some of the best loved ballets in The Royal Ballet repertory including the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, the pas de deux from Ashton’s Thais and the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake. There will also be works from Wayne McGregor, Resident Choreographer and Christopher Wheeldon.
One of the pas de deux, In the Hothouse by choreographer Alastair Marriott, features mezzo-soprano Justina Gringyte, who will also join soprano Dušica Bijelić and tenor Pablo Bemsch to sing arias and duets from some of great operatic and operetta repertory: Saint-Saëns Samson et Dalila, Mascagni L’amico Fritz, Donizetti L’elisir d’amore, Lehar Giuditta and Johan Strauss Die Fledermaus. Former Young Artist Dominic Grier conducts and the Programme’s Artistic Director David Gowland will accompany some pieces on the piano.
The Royal Opera House’s relationship with Brazil will continue to strengthen over the next few years leading up to a proposed tour by The Royal Ballet in 2015. Ongoing Royal Opera House education and community projects are in development with the Theatro Municipal.
Brazil is a key audience for the Royal Opera House Cinema Season, being the fourth largest audience out of the 32 countries currently screening ROH opera and ballet. In addition, Brazilians are the second largest cohort which interacts with the Royal Opera House through social media after the UK, following the US.