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Liam Scarlett’s ‘Frankenstein’ Ballet Coming to San Francisco Next Year

By Philip Trapp on Apr 01, 2016 12:13 AM EDT
Mary Shelley circa 1830: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797 - 1851) the English novelist and second wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley, famous for her novel Frankenstein which was published in 1818. (Photo : Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Choreographer Liam Scarlett's new ballet, Frankenstein, was recently announced as part of the San Francisco Ballet's 2017 season.

The program was developed by Scarlett with composer Lowell Liebermann for the Royal Ballet, where it will make its world premiere in May at the Royal Opera House in London.

Frankenstein, based on Mary Shelley's 19th-century novel, has been a perennial source for the arts, inspiring films, TV and theater adaptations. The titular Frankenstein's monster is an infamous cultural icon and literary metaphor representing humankind and its capacity for grotesque transgression.

Scarlett is the Royal Ballet's artist in residence and has developed numerous productions for the troupe during the past 10 years. In an interview with Culture Vulture, the choreographer displayed his excitement at the San Francisco company performing his work

"San Francisco Ballet is, without a doubt, one of the leading companies in the world, with a roster of dancers to justify this. In fact, upon graduating the Royal Ballet School, this was the other company that I had wanted to dance in, if I hadn't received my contract with the Royal."

Lowell Liebermann composed the music for Scarlett's Viscera for the Miami City Ballet in 2012. He was glad to be aboard once again, telling the Royal Opera of his acclimation in Scarlett's primordial approach to the text:

"[W]hen I accepted the commission, I somehow just assumed that Liam would be updating the story, like he did with Hansel and Gretel. And then when I finally met with him and he gave me the scenario, I found that he was doing it absolutely period. So that, of course, required a total readjustment in the way that I had been thinking about it till then. A collaborative process when you have to deal with another person's input and reaction is very different from just sitting down and writing."

Frankenstein will be included in the San Francisco Ballet's "Program Three" for 2017 and will run Feb. 17-26. More information will be made available at www.sfballet.org.

Below, watch view an informative video on Scarlett's creation of the work for the Royal Ballet.

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TagsFrankenstein, San Francisco Ballet, Liam Scarlett, Lowell Liebermann