Edward Hyde, a mysterious villain, is wreaking havoc in London, leaving hatred, fear and disgust in his wake. At the same time the respected doctor Henry Jekyll is conducting experiments in his laboratory to change human character and personality. The connection between Jekyll and Hyde is stranger than anyone could ever imagine.
The case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a story about the deep contradictions of the human psyche and its capacity for both good and evil. The ballet, set in Victorian England, travels from the misty streets of London to the horrors of a mental hospital to the elegance of high society. Val Caniparoli's choreography had its world premiere at the Finnish National Ballet in 2020, and in spring 2023 the classic story will be back on stage.
A Classic Gothic Suspense Novel
The Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his classic story The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886. The novel, which shocked Victorian readers with its unusually deep forays into the human soul, had such impact that the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” has become a standard reference to the polarities within the human character.
At the time of writing, Stevenson suffered from lung haemorrhages and took hallucinogenic drugs to alleviate his pain. He completed his nightmarish novella in his sickbed in a matter of days. Stevenson's illness and the suffering it caused are profoundly embedded in the story of this new ballet.
Like the Victorian era, the story of Jekyll and Hyde is layered with multiple secrets, including promiscuity and homosexuality, which were rarely addressed openly in that morally conservative culture. These hidden longings will help inform the choreography of this world premiere.
Val Caniparoli is a highly renowned choreographer from the United States. He is most closely associated with San Francisco Ballet, where he has worked 50 years, and also served as resident choreographer. His productions have been performed by more than 50 ballet companies, for example The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Symphony and American Conservatory Theater and internationally in South Africa, Singapore, Scotland and Hong Kong, among others. His choreography has also been seen at the Finnish National Ballet in 2017 in Lady of the Camellias. Jekyll & Hyde had its world premiere at the Finnish National Ballet in 2020.