Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012 12:12 am by M. in ,    2 comments
A new Jane Eyre ballet opens today, November 18, in Shanghai, China:
Shanghai Grand Theater Arts Center presents
简爱 (Jane Eyre )
A Contemporary Ballet
November 18-19, 19:15 h
上海大剧院大剧场 (Lyric Theatre), Shanghai, China

Choregrapher: Patrick De Bana
Playscript by Nick Rongjun Yu
Stage Designer: Jerome Kaplan
Performed by Shanghai Ballet
The summary of the ballet is a bit confusing:
Jane Eyre is world famous for the novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. SGT Arts Center has produced the contemporary ballet Jane Eyre, adapted by the novel. The SGT Ballet Jane Eyre highlights the spirit of the novel, which is classical, exquisite and elegant. The contrast between Britain and Spain, manor and metropolitan or luxurious and simple is vivid in the stage. The contemporary ballet conveys the actress Jane and actor Rochester thoughts and imagination.
Do we have to understand that Spain is used as a substitute for Jamaica???!!

Shanghai Daily has more information:
In her first appearance, governess Jane Eyre crawls out of a suitcase she takes to Edward Rochester's Thornfield Hall. In a dramatic scene representing emotional struggles, Jane Eyre, Rochester and Bertha struggle in vain to escape from a transparent glass box.
The ballet was inspired by the namesake Chinese stage version presented at the Shanghai Grand Theater last December.
"I watched the play, heard the lines and could not help picturing Jane Eyre as the heroine in ballet - elegant and graceful," says Xin Lili, president of Shanghai Ballet. "The conversations were just so suitable for pas de deux."
She discussed the idea with Shanghai Grand Theater and with Yu Rongjun, the scriptwriter of the Chinese drama "Jane Eyre." "Bana's choreography is quite modern, unique but not abstract. I think Chinese audience will like it," Xin says.
The score will be composed from existing works that will assist in telling the story of the young English governess who falls in love with her employer Rochester, who keeps his mad wife locked away in the mansion. The famous novel "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte was published in 1847 in London.
Mahler's works are strong candidates, according to Qian Shijin, artistic director of Shanghai Grand Theater.
The ballet script was written by Yu who also created the stage version. He agreed to write a very different ballet version.
"The script for a dance drama needs to be simple and condensed, but detailed as well," Yu says. "Ballet is an art on toes that requires an elegant, peaceful and calm altitude in creation. What I want to deliver is not only simple storytelling but also an atmosphere that lingers throughout the show."
In rounds of discussions with Bana, Yu created a script with a simpler structure than that of the play, one that emphasizes the three main characters - Jane Eyre, Rochester and his demented wife Bertha - and their emotional turmoil.
Bertha is almost never given a leading role in various adaptations of the work, so her appearance as a major character in this ballet is unusual.
"Jane Eyre has been popular in China for generations, but the long popularity also placed considerable restrictions on how we see the novel," playwright Yu says.
"Bertha is a mad women, but her existence is always a key to the relationship between Jane Eyre and Rochester," he says. "I did plan to have Bertha appear as major character in the previous drama, but failed. This time I will do it.
"I hope the story will be powerful rather than peaceful," Yu concludes. "I want this version of 'Jane Eyre' to slap the audience in the head, rather than just provide entertainment." (Zhang Qian)


  1. Do you know where I can find a list of the score used for this? The accompaniment to the last scene of the first act worked really well and I'd like to try and fing the music used if I can. Thanks, Alex

  2. Sadly we don't know exactly the piece that you are asking for. The reviews we have read mention several, very different, pieces from all kinds of composers: Elgar, Britten, Samuel Barber, John Dowland... even Greensleeves...