Excitement is building for the world’s first ever Black Sabbath: The Ballet coming to Birmingham Hippodrome later this month.
We caught up with dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) who are starring in the groundbreaking production - which has been created with guitarist Tony Iommi. They were at New Street, meeting our beloved Brummie bull unveiled earlier this summer by Ozzy’s wife Sharon.
Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) gave BirminghamWorld a sneak peek at what to expect from the world’s first heavy metal ballet. Dressed in black clothes, tutus, and pointe shoes, the members of the cast looked more than ready for the show, including Riku Ito (Soloist), Lucy Waine (First Artist), Lachlan Monaghan (Principal), Beatrice Parma (First Solist), Kit Holder (First Soloist), Rosanna Ely (First Artist), Ryan Felix (Artist)Regan Hutsell (Artist).
BRB is currently continuing their rehearsals, which began in April. The ballet will be at the Hippodrome until September 27 before touring theatres in Plymouth and London. Toni Iommi has been working with the orchestra for the ballet.
What to expect at Black Sabbath the Ballet?
The full-length, three-act ballet is a brand-new work which brings together a host of international creatives including lead Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidburg, Cuban designer Alexandra Arrechea, Tony Award winning composer Christopher Austin with additional choreographers Raúl Reinoso and Cassi Abranches and composers Marko Nyberg and Sun Keting. Richard Thomas is dramaturg for the project and lighting design is by Kieron Johnson.
The ballet will feature eight tracks of Black Sabbath: Paranoid (Paranoid, 1970); Ironman (Paranoid, 1970); War Pigs (Paranoid, 1970); Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath, 1970); Solitude (Master of Reality, 1971); Orchid (Master of Reality, 1971); Laguna Sunrise (Vol 4, 1972) and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973). The music will be re-orchestrated for the Royal Ballet Sinfonia with new compositions inspired by Black Sabbath also performed live by the orchestra. On the stage guitars and drums will be integrated into the performance.
What Tony Iommi and Carlos Acosta said about Black Sabbath the Ballet
Black Sabbath the Ballet is the second Birmingham-focussed commission from Carlos Acosta - director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. The first, City of a Thousand Trades which looked at the city’s industrial heritage and multicultural communities, premiered in 2021.
The idea for this ballet has been on Carlos Acosta’s mind since he first arrived in Birmingham at the start of 2020, just before the pandemic hit.
Carlos Acosta previously said: “Black Sabbath is probably Birmingham’s biggest export, the most famous (and infamous) cultural entity to ever emerge from the city - so I was naturally drawn to the idea of a collaboration between what most people might think are the most unlikely of partners.
“The band’s enthusiasm for the project is a huge endorsement. They are putting their trust in us to deliver something completely new and original, and that’s quite a responsibility but one that we are beyond excited to take on. Everyone in the BRB company is thrilled to be involved and we cannot wait to share the vision for the show in more detail in the coming months.I have hand picked the creative team and will work closely with them to make a spectacular show.”
Black Sabbath co-founder, lead guitarist, co-songwriter and local resident Tony Iommi previously said: “I’m looking forward to seeing how this all develops! Black Sabbath have always been innovators and never been predictable, and it doesn’t come any more unpredictable than this!
“I’d never imagined pairing Black Sabbath with Ballet but it’s got a nice ring to it! I’ve met with Carlos several times and his enthusiasm is infectious. I performed alongside some of the dancers at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony and they had an incredible energy, so I’m happy to go along for the ride with them and see you on the other side!”
How to get tickets for Black Sabbath the Ballet?
You can find tickets on the Birmingham Hippodrome website. Ticket are from £18 but there’s limited availability on all days of performances.