Right royal treat for ballet fans

Martha Leebolt as Cleopatra, Tobias Batley as Mark Antony, Photo by Bill Cooper.
Martha Leebolt as Cleopatra, Tobias Batley as Mark Antony, Photo by Bill Cooper.

Northern Ballet’s Cleopatra – billed the must-see ballet of 2011 – is back on tour following a critically-acclaimed eight-venue debut in spring this year.

The story of one of the world’s best-known icons - the ‘queen of the Nile’ will be visiting the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, from Tuesday, September 27, to Saturday, October 1.

This new production from Northern Ballet is choreographed by artistic director David Nixon to a score composed by celebrated composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, best known across the world for Les Misérables and Miss Saigon. Cleopatra explores the life of arguably the most powerful woman in the world at the time and her passionate love affairs with Marc Antony and Julius Caesar.

Claude-Michel Schönberg said: “From the moment, David Nixon suggested the ballet of Cleopatra, it took me five years to find an elusive spark of inspiration. I had to understand how sensuous the way of life was in Egypt, the opposite to the culture of Rome.

“I realised that the chaos of being in love with such a woman as Cleopatra put the Roman Emperor and his Empire in danger. That’s what the score is trying to reflect without falling into clichés associated with that era. The relationship between Rome and Egypt is another aspect of the Yin and the Yang: the perfect incompatibility responsible for the drama of destinies.”

An enduring icon of the ancient world and the ultimate modern woman, Cleopatra’s legend has captivated generations. A universal style and beauty icon, Cleopatra is still inspiring artists, designers and stylists today. Although not widely known as a ballet, Cleopatra gained mass popular appeal through the 1963 Hollywood film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Nixon explains: “I have been fascinated by the story of Cleopatra for a long time. I think it’s the name, it’s just so iconic. It has echoed through the centuries, and it doesn’t lose its resonance. 2,000 years later she is as popular as she ever was, in fact more so. I think the legend and the mystery of the woman grows rather than lessens.

Ticket details to see Northern Ballet Theatre are available by calling the box office on 0115 9895555.