THE TEMPEST Program Announcement

From May 25 – June 4, Houston Ballet presents the North American premiere of David Bintley’s The Tempest. Adapted from Shakespeare’s iconic tragicomedy, Bintley’s The Tempest is a spectacular ballet production that defines the power of love and magic of forgiveness, featuring a commissioned score by acclaimed British composer Sally Beamish and extraordinary designs by Rae Smith (War Horse).

Rhys Kawasaki as Neptune in David Bintley’s The Tempest, c. May 2017, ph. Amitava Sarkar

Tickets can be purchased through our website. Final casting will be announced online before the premiere.

In our second co-production with Birmingham Royal Ballet, David Bintley’s The Tempest conjures up exhilarating new magic from William Shakespeare’s late masterpiece. The Tempest is a powerful story of one man’s determined to right past wrongs by all means and the consequences of his actions. Set on an enchanted island, magic and mayhem run wild with a cast of colorful characters. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s performances and the creation of this production were made in remembrance of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Don’t miss tonight’s (5/16) Dance Talk at 7pm at our Center for Dance. Join us as discuss how a ballet based on the bard’s words comes to life on stage for ballet. All of our Dance Talks are free and open to the public!

UH’s Associate Professor of Literature and Shakespearean researcher Dr. Elizabeth Klett speaks with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Artistic Director and Tempest choreographer David Bintley and composer Sally Beamish about the creation of our newest co-production.

Shakespeare’s play The Tempest is most commonly thought to have first been performed sometime between 1610 – 1614. It did not receive much attention until adapted versions of the play surfaced after the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660. In the mid-19th century, theater productions began reinstating the full-length of Shakespeare’s words to the work, which lead to a reexamination of the play by critics and scholars.

Hayden Stark as Ariel in David Bintely’s The Tempest, c. May 2017, ph. Amitava Sarkar

Now the play is considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest works and serves as a stunning example of the bard’s ability to juggle the struggle between the light and romantic and darker, more compelling themes. This critical acclaim has inspired artists over the years and The Tempest has been adapted numerous times in a variety of art forms: operas, orchestral works, paintings, poetry, and films.

More recently in ballet, The Tempest has been recreated over the years with productions by Rudolf Nureyev in 1982 for the Royal Ballet, Alexei Ratmansky’s co-production for American Ballet Theatre and National Ballet of Canada in 2013, and as contemporary dance works by Cathy Marston in 2004 and Crystal Pite in 2011.

Artists of Houston Ballet in David Bintley’s The Tempest, c. May 2017, ph. Amitava Sarkar

Although this our first full-length production based on this play, we do have a thread connecting us to The Tempest here at Houston Ballet with former Artistic Director James Clouser’s Caliban (1976), a one-act modern ballet focusing on Caliban, Ariel, Miranda, and Sycorax.

Bintley’s The Tempest also joins our rich repertory of Shakespearean-based ballets with John Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew, and our two world premiere productions of Romeo and Juliet created for the company by Ben Stevenson in 1987 and Stanton Welch in 2015. With thrilling roles for the company across the ranks, The Tempest is a spectacle not to be missed.

We’re excited to share this magical new production with everyone! Catch The Tempest at the Wortham on May 25, 27, June 2, 3 at 7:30pm and May 28, June 3, 4 at 2pm. 

Take a peak at some of the storytelling and characters in our videos below!



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