Commencing Friday, April 3, the Royal New Zealand Ballet will broadcast performances, originally recorded live, through Facebook Première—and you don’t even need a Facebook account to watch them.
Hansel & Gretel, which premièred in Wellington last November with the support of Ryman Healthcare, is first up, with performances taking place on Friday, April 3 at 7.30 p.m., Saturday, April 4 at 1.30 p.m. and Sunday, April 5 at 10.30 a.m. The performance runs for one hour 45 minutes, with an interval. The ballet was choreographed by Loughlan Prior (his first full-length ballet) and scored by Claire Cowan, with designs by Kate Hawley (whose cinematic credits include Suicide Squad, Edge of Tomorrow, Pacific Rim), lighting by Jon Buswell, and visual effects by POW Studios. Lucire reviewed the ballet première last year, asking rhetorically: ‘what can be made when you have every creative firing on all cylinders?’
Kirby Selchow and Shaun James Kelly are in the title roles, and Hamish McKeich conducts Orchestra Wellington.
‘Last year, audiences around New Zealand fell in love with our zany production of Hansel & Gretel,’ says RNZB artistic director Patricia Barker. ‘Being faced with so much uncertainty as we are glued to our televisions for any good news, we at the RNZB thought we could all use a little extra sweetness and pick-me-up. We are so pleased to be able to share this special ballet, 100 per cent made in New Zealand, with audiences again. Stay tuned for further announcements!’
RNZB executive director Lester McGrath adds, ‘We have an amazingly loyal following on Facebook, and they are already used to tuning in to live-streamed events such as our annual participation in World Ballet Day. However, you don’t need to have a Facebook account in order to enjoy these broadcasts. We encourage anyone and everyone with internet access to make the most of this great opportunity to connect with their national ballet company.’
The company is also putting together online resources for those isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic. RNZB Education’s NCEA resources are available, and ballet masters and dance educators are developing online classes. Vodafone is the RNZB’s telecommunications’ partner.
Full details can be found at rnzb.org.nz/live.