Royal Ballet and Opera announces 2024/25 season with new works and world premieres

Madison Bailey and Calvin Richardson in Crystal Pite's 'Light of Passage'. Photo by Tristram Kenton.
Madison Bailey and Calvin Richardson in Crystal Pite's 'Light of Passage'. Photo by Tristram Kenton.

The Royal Ballet and Opera has announced its 2024/25 Season. Opening on 2 September, under a new and combined organisational name, the Season features a programme of bold new productions, alongside returning audience favourites, thrilling debuts and bright new voices.  

Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Ballet and Opera, said, “We announce a Season of extraordinary breadth and ambition – to audiences old and new, in schools and cinemas across the UK, and through streaming and digital media, right across the world. Bringing ballet into our name is long overdue – The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera have performed under the same roof since 1946 – and both companies now enjoy the prominence that they rightfully deserve. The whole of the Royal Ballet and Opera is far more than the sum of our parts. We may perform at the Royal Opera House, but three quarters of what we do is experienced by people outside this building and, as we mark 40 years of our Learning programme, the impact and influence of the Royal Ballet and Opera can be felt in every corner of the country.”   

The evolution of its name, the Royal Ballet and Opera, celebrates the institution in its entirety, recognising the whole, not just one of its parts. Together, the Royal Ballet and Opera will continue to perform at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House, with performances shown in cinemas around the world, marking an exciting new era for the two companies as they enter a thrilling 2024/25 Season. 

In an ambitious Season, eight new productions spanning three centuries are spread across the Main Stage and the Linbury Theatre, including the world premiere of the opera, Festen. Based on Academy Award-winning filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg’s 1998 cult film of the same name, Festen is composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage (GreekAnna NicoleCoraline) with a libretto by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) and will be directed by Richard Jones. Previously a hit West End play, this darkest of comedy-dramas delves into the disturbing subject of abuse and generational trauma, with a cast including Allan Clayton, Stéphane Degout, Gerald Finley, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Natalya Romaniw and more, with Edward Gardner conducting.  

Director of The Royal Opera, Oliver Mears, said, “2024/25 is set to be a thrilling Season for opera here at the Royal Opera House. With the world premiere of Festen, a brand-new commission by Mark-Anthony Turnage, we reaffirm our commitment to new opera; some of the greatest singers of our time perform alongside the most exciting voices of the future; and phenomenal creative teams bring unforgettable stories to life with eight new productions across both our stages. And as ever, our world-class Orchestra and Chorus will offer exactly the kind of intense, rich experiences that audiences are craving.”  

The 2024/25 season will also include eight new opera productions across two stages, including Eugene Onegin, The Tales of Hoffmann, Die Walküre, Semele, The Sound Voice Project and a Leonard Bernstein double bill.

In 2024/25, The Royal Ballet will present a diverse programme of works that celebrate the Company’s rich heritage while featuring groundbreaking creations by some of the world’s leading choreographers and creative teams.  

Following the landmark success of Woolf Works and The Dante Project, Wayne McGregor returns with the European premiere of MaddAddam. Combining forces of contemporary dance, music, fashion and literary worlds, Margaret Atwood’s monumental trilogy of novels (Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam) comes alive in this thrilling visceral three-act ballet. With a specially commissioned score by celebrated composer Max Richter and costume design by Gareth Pugh, it promises to be a spectacular experience. 

In October, Encounters: Four Contemporary Ballets features the work of four distinctive choreographers championed by The Royal Ballet on the Main Stage. Experience a spectrum of human emotion beginning with Kyle Abraham’s gentle meditation on love, loss and memory in The Weathering. Four characters battle for control in Crystal Pite’s gripping boardroom drama The Statement. Expanding Dispatch Duet, which received critical acclaim on its premiere in 2022, Pam Tanowitz employs her trademark style to turn the conventions of dance inside out. Joseph Toonga presents his second Main Stage work for the Company where the idioms of classical ballet and hip-hop converge. 

Masses of dancers move as a mesmerising whole in Crystal Pite’s Light of Passage which receives its first revival in February. Grappling with themes of safe passage, displacement, community and mortality, this award-winning work is set to Gorecki’s affecting Symphony of Sorrowful Songs – a reminder of the power of human connection in our turbulent times. 

Wonderland becomes wondrously real as the ballet Season opens with two Technicolor adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s popular children’s story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – both of which will be part of our Schools’ Matinee roster. On the Main Stage, The Royal Ballet’s Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon’s interpretation partners with magical music by composer Joby Talbot and whimsical designs by Bob Crowley. Powerhouse storytellers ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company return to the Linbury Theatre with The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, transforming Carroll’s Wonderland into a dysfunctional institution in this energetic hip-hop show featuring original music and family-friendly storytelling. 

Christopher Wheeldon’s versatility as a choreographer is showcased in a new mixed programme – Ballet to Broadway – where sensuous contemporary ballet meets the energy of musical theatre. Luminescent and shimmering, Fool’s Paradise marked the first of his many collaborations with composer Joby Talbot. Three works follow, new to The Royal Ballet. Recognising Wheeldon’s extraordinary success in musical theatre, the Company performs the ballet from his Tony Award-winning musical An American in Paris, set to Gershwin’s jazzy melodies. Its zesty spirit is contrasted with two duets of intimacy and yearning. The wistful songs of Joni Mitchell set the scene for The Two of Us, while the music of Keaton Henson is used in the tender duet from Us that Wheeldon created for BalletBoyz in 2017. 

When George Balanchine arrived on the shores of America, he changed the landscape of 20th-century ballet. Pushing the boundaries of the art form with extreme speed, dynamism and athleticism, he defined the American neoclassical style. With Balanchine: Three Signature Works, The Royal Ballet presents a triptych of distinctive pieces in one programme. Serenade was the first ballet he created in America, and its ethereal beauty is contrasted with the avant-garde Prodigal Son, a parable of sin and redemption. Symphony in C with its symmetrical formations and crystalline placements will bring this programme to a majestic and exhilarating close. 

The Royal Ballet brings Shakespeare’s young lovers vividly to life with the return of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, a modern classic that celebrates its 60th anniversary. Prokofiev’s glorious score feeds this epic tragedy, sweeping the ballet towards its inevitable and devastating conclusion. 

Also marking 60 years since its creation, John Cranko’s 1965 take on Pushkin’s novel Onegin returns to the Main Stage. Set to an arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s heartbreaking score, Cranko’s expressive choreography results in a sumptuous period ballet. 

For Christmas, Cinderella continues to cast its spell. This enchanting work by The Royal Ballet’s Founding Choreographer Frederick Ashton, with evocative music by Prokofiev and some spectacular stagecraft, is a rich theatrical experience not to be missed. In the Linbury Theatre, nothing says Christmas like a Greek tragedy: Ben Duke and Lost Dog’s electric and darkly hilarious work of dance theatre set to live music, Ruination, returns, turning the classic Greek myth of Medea on its head. 

In the Linbury Theatre, the Company continues its commitment to honing new and diverse choreographic and performing talent. In October, First Soloist of The Royal Ballet Joseph Sissens is the driving force behind Legacy, a celebration of Black and Brown dancers from all over the world. In the spring, International Draft Works returns, gathering burgeoning choreographers from all over the world, revealing how the art form is ever changing and evolving. Closing the Season, celebrating both national and international talent, the Next Generation Festival is a showcase for the diversity and range of global performing talent presented by a selection of junior companies and dance schools. 

Across the Season, the Linbury Theatre welcomes returning guest companies including Northern Ballet, Acosta Danza and Ballet Black. The Ballet Black: Heroes mixed programme will include a new work, If at First, by Choreographer-in-Residence at Scottish Ballet Sophie Laplane, that explores the complexity of humanity, heroism and self-acceptance.  

Director of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O’Hare, said, “An electrifying Season lies ahead as we stage thrilling works new to the Company, crafted by creatives at the forefront of choreographic innovation. The breadth of the Company’s artistry is highlighted in revivals of rich repertory favourites alongside a Linbury Season that welcomes guest collaborators and bright burgeoning talents. As ever, audiences will have the chance to witness world-class performances by our remarkable dancers. There really is something for everyone.”  

To Top