The Royal Opera House has announced the cast for the UK première of Martha Clarke’s Cheri, which arrives at the Linbury Studio Theatre from the 29th September until the 4th October.

Alessandra Ferri returns to the Royal Opera House following her critically acclaimed performance in The Royal Ballet’s Woolf Works, choreographed by Wayne McGregor.

Cheri will also star American Ballet Theatre Principal Herman Cornejo in the title role, while BAFTA winning actress Francesca Annis will make her début at the Royal Opera House in the role of Madame Peloux.

The production is based on French writer Colette’s classic novels Cheri (1920) and Le Fin de Cheri (1926) and tells the story of a retired courtesan Lea (Ferri) who embarks on a scandalous love affair with Cheri – a man half her age.

Clarke’s work combines dance, theatre and music to create a piece which concentrates on love, loss and society’s unshakeable focus on youth and age. When Ceri premiered in New York in 2013 (watch the trailer below), it marked Ferri’s return to the stage after retiring from dance in 2007.

The show is set to piano excerpts performed by pianist Sarah Rothenberg (who will be on stage throughout the performance). Rothenberg assembled her score for the production by using the work of composers who were contemporaries of Colette – including Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc.

To get a sense of what to expect from the show, here is a trailer for the 2013 world première of the production:

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