Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) has released first-look production shots from their sold-out world premiere production of Black Sabbath - The Ballet which continues performances at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 30 September.
The Company were joined on opening night by legendary Black Sabbath guitarist, Tony Iommi for a special curtain call performance. Guests on the purple carpet at the opening night included Sharon Osbourne, Black Sabbath drummer Geezer Butler, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, ELO’s Bev Bevan and BRB Director, Carlos Acosta.
Following performances in Black Sabbath’s hometown of Birmingham, Black Sabbath - The Ballet then tours to Plymouth Theatre Royal 12-14 October and London’s Sadler’s Wells - 18-21 October. Tickets for all performances are sold-out, check the theatre website regularly for returns. Over 60% of tickets in Birmingham have been sold to audiences who have never attended a ballet before.
A full-length, three-act, Ballet Now commission, this brand-new work brings together a host of international creatives including lead Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidburg, Cuban designer Alexandre 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. Capsule Director Lisa Meyer is Metal Curator. See full biographies for the creative team in notes.
The 8 Black Sabbath tracks featured in the production are: 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.
Black Sabbath - The Ballet is the second Birmingham-focussed commission from Carlos Acosta. The first, City of a Thousand Trades which looked at the city’s industrial heritage and multicultural communities, premiered in 2021.
The idea of a Black Sabbath ballet has been on Carlos Acosta’s mind since he first arrived in Birmingham at the start of 2020, just before the pandemic hit. Black Sabbath played their first ever gig in The Crown pub just a stone’s throw from Birmingham Royal Ballet’s base on Thorp Street. The pub was recently saved from demolition and is deemed a heritage site by fans.