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Ballet director John Neumeier ends his last season with "Epilogue"

After 50 years, choreographer John Neumeier ends his last 2023/24 season with the Hamburg Ballet with an "epilogue".

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Ballet director John Neumeier ends his last season with "Epilogue"

After 50 years, choreographer John Neumeier ends his last 2023/24 season with the Hamburg Ballet with an "epilogue". "This additional 51st season in Hamburg was a surprise - for me too!" said Neumeier on Monday in Hamburg. The 83-year-old actually wanted to stop this summer. However, after the choreographer Demis Volpi was introduced as his successor at the end of October, Neumeier extended the contract by a 51st season. The 36-year-old director of the Ballet am Rhein in Düsseldorf will not move to the Elbe until the summer of 2024. "Of course, I couldn't abandon the ensemble that I've been building up for 50 years," said Neumeier, who came to Hamburg in 1973 as the youngest ballet director.

"I have therefore decided to regard this unplanned season as the epilogue of my Hamburg directorship," said Neumeier. The current jubilee season marking the 50th anniversary of the Hamburg Ballet will be celebrated with a retrospective of 20 full-length productions, guest performance tours, ballet workshops and the Nijinsky Gala. "This is not celebrating my personal farewell, but rather half a century of artistic activities," said the director. The next season does not want to surpass this retrospective, but to a certain extent look into the future.

The new ballet season will open on September 3rd with the free open-air gala "The World of John Neumeier" on Hamburg's Rathausmarkt. In December, Cathy Marston's ballet "Jane Eyre" based on the classic novel by Charlotte Brontë celebrates its premiere in Germany. The British choreographer is the designated ballet director of the Zurich Ballet. The very last premiere "Epilogue" in the summer of 2024 will be choreographed by John Neumeier himself. “Creativity has been at the core of my work since I started in Hamburg and should also play an important role at the end of my directorship. So I will choreograph the very last premiere myself," said Neumeier.

Revivals for the 2023/24 season include the ballet "A Streetcar Named Desire," based on the Tennessee Williams theater classic. It offers an interesting contrast and comparison to the ballet "The Glass Menagerie", which is also on the program for the coming season. The second revival is John Neumeier's "Odyssey" based on Homer - a ballet originally commissioned by the Megaron Concert Hall Athens. The music was specially created by the Greek composer George Couroupos. In addition to the popular ballet workshops, there will also be the two-week ballet days at the end of the season.

This year's Hamburg Ballet Days have been extended to four weeks and are showing the most important works by John Neumeier from June 11th to July 9th, including his first ballet for Hamburg, "Romeo and Juliet", "Illusions - like Swan Lake", " Nijinsky” and his new ballet “Dona Nobis Pacem” with music by Johann Sebastian Bach, which premiered in December. "If someone wants to see what I've done at the Hamburg Ballet in 50 years, then they have to come to Hamburg in the summer," said Neumeier with a smile. He has a very good relationship with his successor Demis Volpi. "He was already there and will definitely be there more often in the next season," said Neumeier, who would like to work as a freelance artist after his time as ballet director.

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