Faint starlight peeps through the dark forest canopy. It is midnight: the witching hour. Alone and lost, two hungry children stumble towards a glowing vision of warmth and comfort, heaven for any child with an empty belly and an aching heart. But all is not as it seems…
For Christmas 2019, the Royal New Zealand Ballet is proud to present a new two-act ballet by Loughlan Prior, with a specially commissioned score by Claire Cowan. This major premiere brings together many of New Zealand’s creative talents to tell a timeless tale for audiences young and old.
RNZB Choreographer in Residence Loughlan Prior has built up a significant body of work as a choreographer and filmmaker, creating works for members of the RNZB as well as for diverse New Zealand companies and creative partners, and for performances and film festivals in Australia, Germany, France, Canada and the USA. Loughlan was the winner of the RNZB’s inaugural Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award in 2015, and in 2016 received Creative New Zealand’s Tup Lang Choreographic Award. His The Long and The Short of It, inspired by Sir Jon Trimmer, enchanted New Zealand audiences during 2018’s Tutus on Tour.
Claire Cowan is at the forefront of compositional talent in New Zealand. She has received significant commissions and awards from orchestras such as the Auckland Philharmonia and the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, recently winning a prestigious Silver Scroll for her Television series soundtrack “Hillary”. Her classical concert work is unique in that it seamlessly merges art music and popular idioms, offering a strong connection to audiences. Since 2010, Claire has directed the popular Blackbird Ensemble, a theatrical orchestra dedicated to performing rarely heard music of all genres. Hansel and Gretel will be the first full length ballet score ever commissioned from a female composer in RNZB’s history, performed live by Orchestra Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra; a specially-made recording will accompany performances in other centres.
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