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An ultimate icon steps out in style


Cleopatra: Northern Ballet

Cleopatra: Northern Ballet

Cleopatra: Northern Ballet

Grand Opera House, Belfast, Wednesday-Saturday, May 11-14, 7.30pm

In a world ruled by men, it’s always comforting to be reminded that it wasn’t always thus — that occasionally history turns up women who are courageous and compulsive; women who overturned convention and changed the course of history without ever using the word ‘cupcake’.

I mean Cleopatra, of course — who else?

Northern Ballet’s artistic director David Nixon has again collaborated with composer Claude-Michel Scholberg to retell the story of the woman who has fascinated him for years: “I think the legend and the mystery of Cleopatra grows rather than lessens,” he says.

“I'm portraying her as a woman, a queen, a mother, a lover.

“I want the audience to understand her as a human as much as someone going to lead a country.

“She possessed a quality that could engage men, and hold them, and I'm hoping to somehow create that kind of charisma.”

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We meet this Cleopatra when she is a young woman, married to her brother Ptolemy, and again in her prime as the seductress of Julius Caesar.

Her great love, Mark Antony, does not appear until much later — although when they do meet sparks fly.

“This was someone who thought several times in her life that she had achieved her goal, only to be left running for her life,” says Nixon.

“There's an incredible woman in there.”

Composer and writer have brought an enduring icon of the ancient world back to life — a life filled with intrigue and passion, beauty and brutality.

She may have reigned 2,000 years ago but, as this Northern Ballet production sets out to demonstrate, Cleopatra is, in very many ways, the ultimate modern woman.

See www.goh.co.uk for details.

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