Scottish Ballet’s Tales of Hoffmann to be performed in Tokyo

Scottish Ballet’s Tales of Hoffmann to be performed in Tokyo

Peter Darrell CBE (1929-1987) was the founder Director of Scottish Ballet (formed by transferring Bristol’s Western Theatre Ballet to Glasgow in 1969). He was one of the most prolific choreographers of his generation pioneering a repertoire of ballets tackling subjects usually seen in films and plays, but not in the medium of dance. The first ballet to be created using modern rock music, was Mods and Rockers to Beatles music in 1963 and Houseparty in 1964 was the first ballet commissioned for television in this country. 

The Tales of Hoffmann is probably one of the finest examples of Darrell’s long narrative works, illustrating his unique approach to story-telling. It was first performed by Scottish Theatre Ballet in 1972 and has also been performed by American Ballet Theatre in New York; by the Ballet of the National Theatre, Belgrade; the Ballet of the National Theatre in Prague; the Australian Ballet; Asami Maki Ballet Company, Tokyo; Hong Kong Ballet and The National Ballet of Japan. 

Noriko Ohara OBE (ex-Principal Dancer of Scottish Ballet and Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Japan) and Kenn Burke (Former Soloist of Scottish Ballet, Artistic Director of Dance at the Dance School of Scotland) traveled to Tokyo at the end of January to oversee the remounting of Darrell’s Tales of Hoffmann which will be performed by the National Ballet of Japan at the New National Theatre, Tokyo. Tales of Hoffmann was first staged as a new production by The National Ballet of Japan in 2015.  

The Tales of Hoffmann portrays an intense human drama through the love affairs of the protagonist Hoffmann, demanding great expressiveness and artistry on the part of the dancers. The love motifs are diverse and alluring, woven throughout the performance by the various characters, from the protagonist Hoffmann, shown from adolescence through to his later years, the three seductive women who steal Hoffmann’s heart, and the devil, who appears in different forms. It is a romantic fantasy with a touch of the forlorn, complemented by beautifully flowing and variegated music by Jacques Offenbach.  

Performances of The Tales of Hoffmann will be 23-25 February at the New National Theatre, Tokyo. Tickets are available here 

Ayako Ono as Antonia, Yudai Fukuoka as Hoffmann and Takuya Wajima as Antonia’s Father in The Tales of Hoffmann, Photo credit Takashi Shikama