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22 Aug 2012

Finnish National Ballet’s spring performance at Bolshoi Theatre

The Finnish National Ballet will give guest performances at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre in the spring of 2013.

This is the first time in history that the whole company visits Bolshoi Theatre. The dancers will perform two triple bills from the season's current repertoire. The first is Bella Figura, a series of dance performances set to premiere at the FNO in February 2013 and featuring Jiří Kylián's Bella Figura, William Forsythe's In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and George Balanchine's Four Temperaments. The second triple bill is an evening includes the revival of The Rite of Spring ballet, Jorma Elo's recent work entitled Double Evil, and Johan Inger's Walking Mad.

In honour of the century anniversary of The Rite of Spring, the Bolshoi Theatre is arranging a mini-festival entitled "100 Years Anniversary of the Rite of Spring - 100 Years Anniversary of the New Art", scheduled for April 15-21. Reconstructed by dance historian Millicent Hodson and art historian Kenneth Archer, The Rite of Spring was performed by the Finnish National Ballet first in 1994 and now returns again to the FNO season repertoire in March of 2013.

In Moscow the Finnish National Ballet's performance of The Rite of Spring will be accompanied by three other versions of the same ballet: Maurice Béjart's choreography as presented by the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Pina Bausch's version for Tanztheater Wuppertal, and a new rendition by Wayne MacGregor for the Bolshoi Ballet itself.

Highlights from Mikko Franck's last season include Verdi, French opera and  something from the twentieth-century.

The 2012-2013 season is Mikko Franck's last as the FNO's Artistic Director of the Opera and General Music Director. Franck's choice of programme for the season includes Verdi, French opera and twentieth-century opera. The season showcases five new premieres: it begins with Leoš Janáček's opera The Makropulos Affair starring Karita Mattila, and peaks in the spring with a production of one of the landmarks in the history of opera, Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. In between these two works falls an enticing mix of productions: Giuseppe Verdi's darkly emotive drama Don Carlos, Jules Massenet's incandescent and exotic Thaïs, Béla Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

A joint production with the San Francisco Opera, The Makropulos Affair is directed by Olivier Tambosi. The Makropulos Affair premieres on 31 August 2012, conducted by Mikko Franck. The brooding story of love, politics and power that is Don Carlos is given a new untamed interpretation in the hands of director Manfred Schweigkofler. The FNO premiere will take place on 19 October 2012, after which the opera moves to the Prague State Opera in the spring of 2013. Pietro Rizzo will conduct.

On 25 January 2013 the Finnish National Opera will premiere a new production of Massenet's opera Thäis, last performed by the FNO in the 1930s. This Nicola Raab production, shown previously at The Göteborg Opera, transfers the events from ancient Alexandria to the decadent theatre world of 1890's France, where Thäis is portrayed as a famous theatre actress. Mikko Franck will conduct the incandescently colourful score..On 12 April 2013, the FNO will premiere a rare double bill of operas when Leoncavallo's Pagliacci is paired with Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle. Both productions are directed by the Finnish director Vilppu Kiljunen, who emphasizes the element of illusion, playing on the fluid interface between art and reality.

The impassioned ecstasy of love and music is on offer on 17 May 2013 when the premiere of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, directed by Elisabeth Linton, hits the FNO stage. The lead roles are sung by Marion Ammann, Robert Dean Smith, Lilli Paasikivi and Matti Salminen, among others. Pinchas Steinberg is scheduled to conduct.

The season's opera selection also contains revivals of four different Verdi productions, including Aida, Rigoletto, La Traviata, and Un ballo in maschera, as well as Mozart's Magic Flute and Le nozze di Figaro, Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Puccini's Tosca, Britten's Albert Herring, and Jukka Linkola's Robin Hood.

Finnish National Ballet's anniversary year culminates in Kenneth Greve's Snow Queen

The Finnish National Ballet continues the celebration of its 90th anniversary in the year 2012. The autumn season's first premiere is Ivan Liška's Le Corsaire. Ivan Liška based his version on Petipa's original choreography, for the Bavarian State Ballet in 2006. The anniversary year culminates on 23 November 2012 when the Artistic Director of the Ballet Kenneth Greve presents the premiere of his new choreography, The Snow Queen; a work for the whole family based on the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen and set to music by the Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen. The season's third premiere features an ensemble of contemporary dance, including Jiří Kylián's work Bella Figura, George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments and William Forsythe's In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated.

The season programme also includes John Cranko's beloved Romeo and Juliet, Sir Kenneth MacMillan's sensual Manon, Kenneth Greve's Swan Lake and Javier Torres' The Sleeping Beauty. The triple bill includes The Rite of Spring, Jorma Elo's Double Evil, and Johan Inger's Walking Mad. The autumn also contains the popular Dance with Dancers club event, a workshop presenting the dancers' choreography skills, and the contemporary dance festival I Love NYKY, featuring Finland's most intriguing contemporary choreography.

Visit by Boston Ballet

The Finnish National Ballet has invited Boston Ballet, one of the most prominent ballet companies in North America, to visit Finland for the first time. Led by Finnish-born Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen since 2001, Boston Ballet will present three performances on the main stage of a quadruple bill featuring neo-classical ballet and contemporary dance. The programme includes Plan to B by Finnish-born Jorma Elo, Boston Ballet Resident Choreographer since 2005, Polyphonia by Christopher Wheeldon, Tsukiyo by Helen Pickett, and The Second Detail by William Forsythe. Boston Ballet visit is sponsored by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.