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Choreographer change for Les Vêpres siciliennes

Andre de Jong to work with director Stefan Herheim on new Royal Opera production.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

7 June 2013 at 4.34pm | 17 Comments

It has been necessary to rethink the inclusion of the Four Seasons ballet, in its entirety, from Act III of The Royal Opera’s new production of Les Vêpres siciliennes which opens in October. As a result of artistically differing approaches to the project between Johan Kobborg and director Stefan Herheim, Johan Kobborg and The Royal Ballet will no longer be working on this production.

Andre de Jong, who has previously worked with director Stefan Herheim on his production of Eugene Onegin in Amsterdam, is now the choreographer.

There will still be a strong element of dance in the production, however it will no longer feature Artists from The Royal Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet and students from The Royal Ballet School.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

7 June 2013 at 4.34pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Andre de Jong, by Stefan Herheim, Les Vêpres siciliennes, Production

This article has 17 comments

  1. Well, this is an unprecedented and rather unpleasant development! it doesn't sound right that ROH would choose a director, whoever he is over a collaboration with the RB :-( very sad indeed... and that the director would choose to not find a way to agree with Johan Koborg is even more sad... Not good news for a new production :-(

  2. Stephen Cutler responded on 7 June 2013 at 10:15pm Reply

    Of course, it was too much to hope that they might have told us this *before* tickets went on sale to Supporting Friends.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 8 June 2013 at 9:56am

      Dear Stephen

      We apologize for the necessary change to the creative team and cast, but we have shared this information as soon as we were able.

      Best wishes


  3. Alice Poulsen responded on 7 June 2013 at 10:35pm Reply

    I keep thinking just what on earth is happening to Covent Garden ....... !??? 3-4 extremely poor opera productions and now this - not to mention two major departures from the Ballet, and the complete lack of customer service - is it time for the house to do a complete re-think or should we??

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 8 June 2013 at 10:04am

      Hi Alice

      Sorry to hear that you are disappointed with how things are going at Covent Garden. Could you let me know where you have identified failing in our customer service?

      Best wishes


  4. David Wakefield responded on 8 June 2013 at 10:43am Reply

    How sad. I was so looking forward to this. What promised to be the most exciting collaborative enterprise between the two companies has been reduced to just another troubled production, the Royal Ballet has been thrown into crisis and we have lost artists of immense stature. For what? To placate a directorial wunderkind who is hardly noted for his collaborative commitment. He will feed off the oxygen of publicity but what we have lost is irreplaceable. Both companies have paid a high price for this failure. The Royal Opera should take a hard look at its commissioning processes!

  5. Alice Poulsen responded on 8 June 2013 at 11:01am Reply

    Dear Ellen,
    Thank you for note, but quite frankly I just cannot be bothered any more. ROH clearly has NO interest in it customer base unless they are corporate sponsors or wealthy philanthropists. The excuses and "not my job/department" attitude not to mention to arrogance in how you treat "Friends" is quite frankly staggering but seems to be the new attitude at ROH. So outside my membership and the tickets, ROH will no longer get a penny in support, you clearly do not need it - my goodwill towards the house is all but gone too. I go there to see hear the productions/artists of my choice as I do with any other house in the world - my "home house"? Not any more - sadly, it does not deserve to be.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 8 June 2013 at 11:18am

      I'm sorry to hear that you feel that way Alice. I'll pass your comments onto the Friends department.

      Best wishes


  6. Alice Poulsen responded on 8 June 2013 at 11:39am Reply

    It is NOT just about "Friends" , but several other departments including Box Office and others.

    There is a complete lack of connection between departments and responsibility is passed on in true "pass the buck" style which can rival EU administration.

    Complaining is not a "British" thing to do, but I am quite frankly fed up.

  7. Sebastian Petit responded on 8 June 2013 at 2:24pm Reply

    While I agree it is hugely disappointing that we will not get to see Johan's take on the Four Seasons ballet there are some ludicrous overreactions in the comments above! At least the decision has been taken now rather than half way through the rehearsal period.
    I shall wait till I've seen the production before I pass judgement - I usually find that I'm in a better position to give a balanced view after I've seen the show...
    As to Herheim I would only say that his Bayreuth "Parsifal" remains one of the most thrilling evenings I have spent in any opera house. I hope that his "Vespres" will be similarly enthralling.

  8. Sandra Heidecker responded on 8 June 2013 at 3:50pm Reply

    Did the RB refuse to perform in Wookiee costumes or other gimmicky treats the wunderkind had on offer?

  9. Peter Erdos responded on 8 June 2013 at 7:00pm Reply

    Thank you Alice Poulsen. My sentiments exactly! The Royal Opera went downhill in the last season reaching almost the very bottom of the hill, and now the RB is to follow suit.
    I felt there was plenty more behind the sudden departure of the Company's best choreographer and dancer and the most wonderful ballerina since the old generation (i.e Fonteyn, Sibley, Park, Seymour) Now it is all came to light., Shame on the Management! I can assure you that my contribution will also be reduced in future, and I am gladly conjure up my wonderful memories of the House which unfortunately is not any more what it used to be!

  10. Sebastian Petit responded on 9 June 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

    Good to see that nobody is rushing to pre-judge...

    • David Wakefield responded on 9 June 2013 at 7:27pm

      It's not a matter of pre-judging - in 6 months time Herheim and his production will be history; but the loss to the Royal Ballet of one of the finest and best loved ballerinas in the world at the age of 32 yrs together with a dancer and choreographer of Kobborg's stature and potential is a disaster. It's no wonder that feelings are running high! Whatever the reasons it's a major management failure. Rightly or wrongly, the suspicion is that the RB's long-term interests have been sacrificed to RO expediency. The impression given is that they are just waiting for it to blow over. It won't. Many have never forgiven Monica Mason for Sylvie Guillem's departure; Kevin O'Hare's tenure will also be mired by this if he does not find a way to put it right.

    • Joe Makin responded on 10 June 2013 at 11:36am

      Are you saying that Alina and Johan resigned because of the Vespre Sicilian production?

      Otherwise, it does sound like there is a lot of pre-judging here. It is an opera of course - with a ballet element - not the other way round. The opera must take precedence. It would be good to get the RB involved, but if they don't want to work with the other creative elements, its wrong to assume that that is director's fault

  11. CHIAKI OHASHI responded on 14 July 2013 at 6:38pm Reply

    As a fan of Verdi and fan of the Royal Opera House, I have been very much looking forward to this very first production of Les Vepres Sciliennes. It is very sad to know that the Royal Opera and indeed the Royal Ballet are not collaborating in this rather historic event. However I do respect the difficult decisions that have been made for the sake of artistic coherence, and also sincerely hope that this vanished collaboration may one day be possible. (Perhaps in some future production performed in Italian?)

  12. May responded on 2 October 2013 at 6:07pm Reply

    Disappointing not to have Mr Kobborg and the RDB dancers' involvement any more, but at least I found out before buying tickets and incurring a £2 swapping fee per ticket!

This article has 1 mention elsewhere

  1. besoindedanser:  Turmoil at Royal Opera House

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