*THE ANNUNCIATION op.287 (August 1979)

Ballet in one act choreographed by Robert North
Published by: Highbridge Music Ltd
Commissioned by: London Contemporary Dance Theatre
Instrumentation: 6va 6vc cb 1pc timp pno
[Key to Abbreviations]
Duration: 22 mins
First Performance: LCDT, Jerusalem, August 1979
Sheet Music Available
Full score for hire
Study score for hire
Orchestral parts for hire


Choreographed and directed by Robert North with music adapted from the score for the film 'Stronger than the Sun' (see op.254),


4th May 2019
- 31st January 2020
The second part of a ballet evening 'Farben der Welt' choreographed and directed by Robert North. Musical direction: Andreas Fellner ,choreography assistant: Sheri Cook , stage and costumes: Andrew Storer. The music of 'The Annunciation' was adapted by its composer Howard Blake from a score he had originally composed for a BBC Play for Today,'Stronger than the Sun' with a script by Stephen Poliakoff and starring Francesca Annis and Tom Bell. It was an unusually 'dark' score for 6 violas, 6 violoncelli, contrabass, piano and percussion and it was played and recorded at that time by a section of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer. The film told the harrowing story of a young woman who sacrificed her own life in a supreme protest at the use of nuclear arms. The film raised a considerable stir and the parallels with The Crucifixion were evident. Robert North was deeply affected by it and created this ballet to its music., Opera houses of Monnchen Gladbach and Krefeld, Lower Rheinland


From paintings of the Renaissance and the classical modernity Robert North draws the ideas for this opulent ballet evening, to which the Niederrheinische Sinfoniker give musical splendor.

Henri Matisse caused a sensation in the 1940s with a series of paper cutouts, including many circus motifs. He was no stranger to the circles of the European avant-garde when this cycle appeared under the title Jazz - an allusion to the principle of improvisation. Robert North approaches Matisse with the eye and the imagination of the choreographer and gains exciting impulses for the dance from the colorfulness, ornamentation and clarity of the images in combination with music by Stravinsky.

A popular subject in Florentine painting of the 15th century, which also Sandro Botticelli took up, is the Annunciation to Mary. Botticelli made this biblical scene so theatrically expressive that Robert North felt inspired by the painting and, in collaboration with the composer Howard Blake, freely interpreted The Annunciation as a ballet, 'Verkundigung' (Sandro Botticelli)

4th May 2019 Robert North Ballet Company, Monnchen Gladbach and Krefeld Opera Houses - details tba


...a moving and impressive interpretation of the life of Christ, to a haunting score by Howard Blake, in which Patrick Harding-Irmer, crucified, recalls Grunewald's altar-piece..

Sunday Telegraph, 2/12/1979

Cathy Lewis as a poignant Mary and Patrick Harding-Irmer as Christ headed an outstanding cast. Howard Blake's sonorous score also triumphed.

Ian Woodward, Evening Standard, 29/11/1979

Related Works

'*STRONGER THAN THE SUN' op.254 (October 1977)
Score for the BBC TV film written by Stephen Poliakoff in the Play for Today series

Related Autobiography Chapters

Piano Quartet, Remarkable Rocket, New National Songbook, Reflections (1974)
The Duellists,Stronger than the sun,Leda and the Swan (1977)
The Snowman Ballet, The Snowman Stage Show, 'The Land of Counterpane (1993)

[Back to top]