Updated to the present day, Cinderella dispenses with magic and pumpkin carriages
The Finnish National Ballet's autumn premiere is also the world premiere of Cinderella - A Tragic Tale by Australian-born choreographer Terence Kohler.
Although young, Kohler has an extensive output and several awards to his credit. In addition to several shorter dance works, he has created a full-length ballet based on Anna Karenina and his own version of the classic ballet La bayadère, named The Temple Dancer. Cinderella - A Tragic Tale is his fourth full-length ballet. Kohler, at present a freelancer, has created dance works for companies in Germany, Australia and Belgium. In the 2009-2010 season, he was Choreographer in Residence at the Bavarian State Opera Ballet.
Kohler does not approach the story of Cinderella like a storyteller; instead, he creates compelling and intense dance theatre for adult viewers and employing a movement language combining elements from classical ballet and contemporary dance. The sets and impressive costumes for the production were created by Jordi Roig, and the music selected by Kohler includes music by contemporary composer Lera Auerbach (her First Symphony and First Violin Concerto). Auerbach's music has previously been used for choreographic purposes by John Neumeier, director of the Hamburg Ballet. The lighting designer in this production is David Bofarull.
Kohler wrote the libretto for his ballet on the basis of the original tale of Cinderella by Charles Perrault. "I was initially inspired by the moral of Charles Perrault's version: Beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless. Without it, nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything," says Kohler. "We value fairy tales for their morals, but generally they are regarded as children's stories that contain many fantastic things, miracles and impossibilities like pumpkin carriages and fairy godmothers. I wanted to develop a concept that an audience of the 21st century might find more in common with - as opposed to a fairytale that portrays idealistic and beautified notions," he continues. Kohler does not simply tell the story in chronological order; the final act of the ballet reveals the motives of the various characters, the impacts of their choices and the development of the characters.
The principal roles in Cinderella - A Tragic Tale will be taken by Eun-Ji Ha / Maki Nakagawa, Ilja Bolotov / Samuli Poutanen, Minna Tervamäki / Nicholas Ziegler, Henrik Burman / Kare Länsivuori, Tiina Myllymäki / Johanna Nuutinen, Petia Ilieva / Claire Voss and Anastasia Dunets / Terhi Räsänen. The Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera will be conducted by guest conductor Luke Dollman.