Rhiannon Giddens will reach a new milestone in her ever-diversifying career as the Nashville Ballet hosts a world premiere of Lucy Negro Redux on Friday, February 8. According to press materials, the production explores the mysterious love life of William Shakespeare through the perspective of the “Dark Lady” for whom many of his famed sonnets were written.
Giddens collaborated with jazz musician Francesco Turrisi on the score. The narrative is based on a book by Caroline Randall Williams, a Nashville-based poet who also contributes spoken word during the performance. Paul Vasterling serves as Artistic Director.
In the video below, Giddens explains, “I said yes to the ballet because it’s a really interesting story and it fits very neatly with my mission of highlighting interesting and overlooked possible connections in history, and this is a very, very intriguing one.”
She adds, “I just hope audiences will take away that you can do things in a lot of different ways. And there are so many different ways to collaborate and there are so many different ways to make a statement. I think this ballet, this collaboration, has a really great opportunity to do that – to show audiences that ballet can be this, as well as Swan Lake and some of the other things that you see. In my world, that banjos and folk music can be partnered with really a high-art dance form and it works. So, it’s like, hopefully we bring the two sides together to see each other and go, ‘Hey, you’re not that different from me actually.'”
Photo of Francesco Turrisi and Rhiannon Giddens by Karen Cox