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Varna International Ballet and Orchestra to Present Debut UK Tour Featuring SWAN LAKE, GISELLE & More

Varna International Ballet and Orchestra to Present Debut UK Tour Featuring SWAN LAKE, GISELLE & More

The season will open at St David’s Hall Cardiff 17 – 31 December 2022.

Raymond Gubbay Limited has announced details for the international soloists who'll be coming to the UK to dance with the Varna International Ballet and Orchestra as the company visits the UK for the very first time in their 75-year history. The season will open at St David's Hall Cardiff 17 - 31 December 2022 with classical performances of THE NUTCRACKER, SWAN LAKE, COPPÉLIA and GISELLE.

British dancers Perdita-Jayne Lancaster, Claire Gillard, and Megan Reid will perform alongside Italy's Marco di Salvo, Giulia Visalli, Frederico Farina, Marcello Pelizzoni and Vittorio Scole, France's Pauline Clemence Faget and Pierre Gaston, Spain's Francesca Busqets, Nahia Barcena and Xavier Lara Gill, Germany's Julianna Correia Dreyssig, and Ukraine's Anastasia Lebedyk.

The company - comprised of 40 dancers and 30 musicians - will visit Basingstoke, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Buxton, Darlington, Edinburgh, High Wycombe, Hull, Ipswich, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Reading, Southend, Wimbledon and Wolverhampton from January to March in 2023.

Renowned for its award-winning soloists and magnificent corps de ballet, the company has been delighting audiences for decades at home in Bulgaria and abroad with its performances of the highest quality.

Claire Gillard said, "I'm delighted to be coming home to the UK to perform. I think it's going to be so fun and challenging for us: it's a big tour, but we're ready for it. I was born in London, and I have family in England - it'll be so great to see them, and they'll be able to watch me dance. I'm especially excited to perform in Wimbledon, in the centre of London. It's a lovely homecoming. And I think Cardiff, where we begin our tour, will be a really nice welcome."

Artistic Director Daniela Dimova and Music Director and Chief Conductor Peter Tuleshkov from Varna International Ballet and Orchestra said:

'We are thrilled to be bringing our highly talented company of dancers and musicians to the UK for the very first time. We can't wait to perform for British audiences and to bring these magical ballets to life on stage.'

Varna State Opera was founded in 1947 by the renowned Bulgarian tenor Peter Raycheff. The main credit for the development of the ballet troupe goes to Galina and Stefan Yordanov who were Artistic Directors and choreographers for over 25 years (1960-1985). They formed the image of the Varna Ballet and brought it to the international stage and founded the first and now world-famous Varna International Ballet Competition in 1964. Since 2010 Varna State Opera and Varna Drama Theatre are united in one cultural institute called Theatre and Music Production Centre Varna.

The ballets performed this season are:

Swan Lake

The greatest romantic ballet of all time is brought to life by Tchaikovsky's haunting and unforgettable score. From the impressive splendour of the Palace ballroom to the moon-lit lake where swans glide in perfect formation, this compelling tale of tragic romance has it all. From Odile, the temptress in black tulle as she seduces the Prince by spinning with captivating precision to the spellbound purity of the swan queen, Odette as she flutters with emotional intensity, the dual role of Odette/Odile is one of ballet's most unmissable technical challenges.


Every toy has a story, especially in this charming comedy of errors, a witty combination of antics and abracadabra, set in a doll maker's workshop. This lighthearted tale of mistaken identity and confused lovers follows mischievous Swanilda, her impetuous suitor Franz and the eccentric toymaker Dr.Coppelius as they are brought to life by sparkling choreography and the animated score of Delibes. Coppélia is perfect for first-time ballet goers, families and everyone in between.


The most poignant of all classical ballets is filled with dramatic passion in a chilling and heart-rending tale of love, treachery and forgiveness from beyond the grave. The moving story of delicate Giselle and her aristocratic but duplicitous lover Albrecht is set to a glorious score. From the visual splendour of the rustic villagers happily gathering the harvest at the start of the story to the eerie moonlit forest haunted by beautifully drifting spirits, this production is unforgettable.

The Nutcracker

This most famous of fantasy ballets for all the family begins as night falls on Christmas Eve. As snowflakes fall outside, the warm glow of the open fire sends flickering shadows across the boughs of the Christmas tree and all the presents beneath. When midnight strikes we are swept away to a fairy-tale world where nothing is quite as it seems, toy dolls spring to life, the Mouse-king and his mouse-army battle with the Nutcracker Prince and we travel through the Land of Snow to an enchanted place where the magic really begins...

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