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  • Watch: Joby Talbot on creating The Winter’s Tale’s musical score – ‘The hardest thing I’ve ever had to compose’

Watch: Joby Talbot on creating The Winter’s Tale’s musical score – ‘The hardest thing I’ve ever had to compose’

Shakespeare’s problem play is notoriously difficult to stage, and scoring a ballet adaption is no different.

By Ottilie Thornhill (Winner of the Kings Cultural Challenge)

8 February 2016 at 1.23pm | 2 Comments

According to composer Joby Talbot, creating the original score for Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet adaptation of The Winter’s Tale was among the greatest challenges of his career.

Shakespeare’s play is notoriously tricky to stage, moving from the breakdown of King Leontes to a bittersweet resolution via romance bears and magical statues. Speaking prior to the premiere of the original production in 2014, Joby explained the challenges of capturing the vast differences:

‘Having finished Act I – which was far and away the hardest thing I’ve ever had to compose – I was able to take a deep breath and think “Right, it’s going to be easier now”. I then realized that at the start of Act II, I’m starting a completely different piece!’

The finished score is the culmination of two years work. ‘I’m incredibly proud of this music’, says the composer.

‘Act I has this musical language which is quite taught and troubled’, while Act II is ‘an absolute change… just a lovely, lovely experience’.

For the composer it was important that the score built to the emotional finale in the third act: ‘It’s reached some kind of equanimity and the music is freer to express itself.’

Watch more films like this on the Royal Opera House YouTube channel: 

The Winter’s Tale runs 12 April–10 June 2016. Tickets are still available.

These performances are part of the SHAKESPEARE 400 celebrations.

By Ottilie Thornhill (Winner of the Kings Cultural Challenge)

8 February 2016 at 1.23pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged Ballet, by Christopher Wheeldon, composing, Covent Garden, Dance, Joby Talbot, Music, Production, score, Shakespeare 400, The Royal Ballet, The Winter's Tale, William Shakespeare

This article has 2 comments

  1. Chandra responded on 9 February 2016 at 3:01am Reply

    When is this beautiful score (in its entirety - no "selections" please!) going to be released?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 9 February 2016 at 9:05am

      Hi Chandra,

      I'm afraid no release of the work in its entirety is planned at the present time.

      If one is confirmed, it'll be flagged via these pages and our social media accounts.

      Thanks,

      Chris

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