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Click each title for notes on the individual ballet
Daphnis and Chloë
Nine Sinatra Songs
The Orpheus Suite
The Shakespeare Suite
Le Baiser de la fée
Changing Seasons (part two)
Sir Peter Wright's magical version of the festive favourite The Nutcracker is back for a fortnight in early December. It has been performed virtually every year since its 1990 premiere although Bintley believes the secret of its freshness is to rest it every so often. 'Nutcracker is always better when it has had a little rest. It was one of the reasons I gave us another Christmas ballet in Beauty and the Beast, which we performed in 2003 and 2005. Then, when Nutcracker came back last Christmas there were a lot of new people in the Company and the roles had shuffled round and it not only looked spectacular it had its best-ever selling season, taking over £1 million.'
The 2008 season launches with a Bintley jazz triple of The Shakespeare Suite, The Orpheus Suite and Take Five, a brand-new piece set to the music of the legendary Dave Brubeck. Bintley has already begun working with the five men and five women needed for the work which will be seen first on the Company's tour to the South West this summer.
To Bintley, Take Five evokes memories of his childhood and his father's music collection and the piece was a strong choice when he decided to craft a new jazz work that would sit more happily with Orpheus and Shakespeare than The Nutcracker Sweeties. 'When I did those three for the Duke Ellington centenary programme I felt it was too full-on; like three finishing pieces and it made for too rich an evening,' he explains. 'Shakespeare is big band and Orpheus very big band into rock, Take Five is written for a quartet and much more simple and the dance will reflect that. It will, I hope, be a more balanced programme.'
The Shakespeare Suite, for which Bintley used the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, begins and ends with Hamlet, a role created on the retiring Parker. Bintley is reluctant to reveal whom he has in mind to take on Hamlet's mantle, saying only: 'Bob's are big shoes to fill. Oh yes.'
Besides the feigned madness of Hamlet, the suite takes in the tragic pairings of Othello and Desdemona, Romeo and Juliet and the Macbeths as well as Shakespeare's other unlikely couples, Richard III and Lady Anne, Titania and Bottom and the squabbling Kate and Petruchio.
The Orpheus Suite was premiered in 2004 and is very much a ballet for the men, a showpiece for all those impressive jumps, turns and steps in the male dancer's armoury. In retelling the ancient myth of Orpheus, Bintley and composer Colin Towns drew on parallels with Ellington's own life and the darker side of the jazz world.
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