Shakespeare Dances © Kiran West

Scenes from Shakespeare Ballet by John Neumeier
Hamburg Ballett

Premiere: Monday, 9 May 2016, 7 pm

Performances: 10. / 11. Mai 2016, 7 pm

Conductor: Garrett Keast
Wiener Kammerorchester
Hamburg Ballett

Ballet in ten themes by John Neumeier based on William Shakespeare
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Choreography & Director: John Neumeier
Set & costume design: Klaus Hellenstein
Premiere: Hamburg Ballett, Hamburg, 13. July 1985

Ballet by John Neumeier
based on Saxo Grammaticus and William Shakespeare
Music by Michael Tippett
Choreography & Director: John Neumeier
Set & costume design: Klaus Hellenstein
Premiere: Königlich Dänisches Ballett, Kopenhagen,
2 November 1985 as Amleth
New version: Hamburg Ballett, Hamburg, 4 May 1997

Ballet by John Neumeier based on William Shakespeare
Music by Antonio Vivaldi
Choreography & Director: John Neumeier
Set design: Hans-Martin Scholder
Costume design: Christina Engstrand
Premiere: Hamburg Ballett, Hamburg, 22. Dezember 1996


I believe that Shakespeare is the greatest fount of inspiration for a choreographer. He is the most humane of all poets. He sees things, speaks of things, that have a dimension far more powerful than his own words. But that does not mean that I wish in any way to detract from his language. Some critic or other said that you cannot understand Shakespeare unless you bring your own humanity along. I think that is the crux. He had such a deep understanding of people, his descriptions of his characters and their relationships were so tremendously complex and forceful that we understand them on the dance stage as well, even without words, as paradoxical as that may sound.
John Neumeier

John Neumeier has created a large number of choreographies based on plays by William Shakespeare. He has revised some of them many times over and shifted their perspectives. For the 40th anniversary of the Hamburg Ballett, Neumeier has extracted material from three originally concert-length Shakespeare choreographies and distilled them into a single evening that will serve as a representative overview of his long years of work with the English dramatist’s plays. Neumeier’s latest version of Hamlet forms the core of the evening, bookended by the two comedies As You Like It and Twelfth Night. In all three abridged versions, Neumeier brings what he regards as the essential aspects more clearly to the fore. One character appears throughout the whole evening to hold it all together: Jaques from As You Like It. Neumeier explains his role: “In Shakespeare, Jaques speaks his monologue as an observer of human nature and its vicissitudes. He is referring to the exposure of human existence when he says ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players’. Hovering between amusement and seriousness, energy and the will to live become visible even when life and death are switched. And so it could be said that at the theatre the strength prevails from which every beginning originates.”



Garrett Keast


Wiener KammerOrchester

Choreographer & director

John Neumeier

Solo violin

Joanna Kamenarska

Set & costume designer

Klaus Hellenstein

Set designer

Hans-Peter Scholder

Costume designer

Christina Engstrand

ballet company

Solisten und Corps de Ballet HAMBURG BALLETT


Photos Gallery

Shakespeare Dances 2015/16

Ballet from John Neumeier
Cooperation with the Hamburg Ballet
Images: © Kiran West / ©Holger Badekow