Following its acclaimed North American premiere by the National Ballet of Canada in November, Christopher Wheeldon's The Winter's Tale has opened to positive reviews on a tour production by the company at Washington DC's Kennedy Center, with five remaining performances until Sunday 24 January. The principal cast includes NBC stars Piotr Stanczyk, Hannah Fischer, Jillian Vanstone, Naoya Ebe, Harrison James and Xiao Nan Yu.
One critic describes Joby's score — his second to be jointly commissioned for Wheeldon ballets by The Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Canada — as "rich and varied... both like an ancient discovery from a yet to be uncovered new tribe but absolutely modern" (Lisa Traiger, D.C. Metro Theater Arts); while The New York Times' Alastair Macaulay deems it "attractive".
The premiere run from 30 January of Joby's first opera, the one-act Everest, was greeted warmly by both audiences and critics, with one reviewer describing it as 'a genre-bending coup-de-théâtre'.
The work was paired with an abridged fourth act of Catalani's La Wally, with Everest following in the second half of the evening. It relates the experiences of three climbers involved in the mountaineering disaster of 1996, in which several participants died during a storm on the famous peak. Librettist Gene Scheer adapted the story using his own primary research with survivors and climbers' families. The work starred Andrew Bidlack as Rob Hall, Kevin Burdette as Beck Weathers, Craig Verm as Doug Hansen and Sasha Cooke as Jan Arnold. It was directed by Leonard Foglia and conducted by Nicole Paiement, with set design by Robert Brill.
'A breathtakingly powerful and phenomenally well-staged achievement that lingers in your mind and your heart... This is destined to become a part of the modern canon, one of the most compelling and relevant operas in a generation.'
Arnold Wayne Jones, Dallas Voice
'Everest is riveting... hugely entertaining and the music is gorgeous. It has all the ingredients of a blockbuster... If you want to see where opera is headed in the 21st-century, don’t miss this production.'
Catherine Womack, D Magazine
'A remarkable first opera... This 70-minute juggernaut makes you feel disturbingly in the moment, living—and dying—along with the characters.'
Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal
'Talbot's music is a wonder... it is almost unclassifiable. He doesn't just break the rules of opera writing; he completely ignores them. He relegates such traditions to a display case in some musical museum — archaic and useless in today's theatrical world... It is a triumph.'
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones
'A stirring score on top of a masterful libretto... It's easy to imagine Everest as a lasting work.'
David Weuste, OperaPulse
'The Dallas Opera [has] scored a mighty coup [with] Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer's Everest. A very powerful drama [that] rivals great legitimate theater in its impact.'
Olin Chism, Fort Worth Star Telegram
'Joby Talbot's orchestration in Everest was simply outstanding in its plush multilayered brilliance.'
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier, The Column
This week sees the premiere of Joby's first opera by the Dallas Opera, as well as the return to The Hague of Chamber, his 2012 collaboration with choreographer Medhi Walerski.
Everest, a one-act work, relates events surrounding the tragic deaths of several climbers on the mountain in 1996 and stars Kevin Burdette, Sasha Cooke, Andrew Bidlack and Craig Verm. Joby worked in close collaboration with librettist Gene Scheer and conductor Nicole Paiement; the production is directed by Leonard Foglia with set design by Robert Brill, costumes by David C. Woolard, lighting by Christopher Akerlind and projections by Elaine J. McCarthy. Following the premiere at the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House on 30 January will be a further four performances on 2, 4 and 7 February.
Chamber, commissioned by Nederlands Dans Theater and the Norwegian National Ballet, returns to The Hague for four performances for the first time since its 2012 premiere. The work is choreographed to Joby's Chamber Symphony and was commissioned as part of worldwide celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. It has been toured by NDT and will here be presented in a programme alongside works by Marco Goecke and Sol Léon and Paul Lightfoot. There are four performances from 28-31 January.