Nashville Ballet artistic director and CEO Paul Vasterling’s Lizzie Borden examines the real-life double murder case of 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts. Borden was famously accused, tried and acquitted for the brutal ax murders of her father and stepmother in a case that remains one of the most controversial and sensationalized in American history.
“Because Lizzie Borden was acquitted, and no one was ever charged for the murders, endless speculation still surrounds the case that makes it as fascinating as ever,” Vasterling said. “I have my own theories about what may have happened in the Borden household on the day of the murders and leading up to it. This ballet explores the dark backstory and delves into the mind of Lizzie Borden – taking place in her memories – to show that there may be more to the story than meets the eye.”
Lizzie Borden has remained a fixture in American culture for more than a century as the subject of popular books, movies, television shows and even a well-known children’s rhyme. Nashville Ballet’s version was originally presented in 2006, and this time around will feature a newly commissioned score by English composer Philip Feeney, along with updates to the choreography. Unique to this version, Vasterling explores the phenomenon of “shadow people,” ghostlike figures often attributed to the presence of the supernatural, who influence Lizzie Borden throughout the ballet.
Lizzie Borden will be complemented by the world premiere of Nashville Ballet company dancer Christopher Stuart’s The Raven. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, the ballet follows a mysterious raven that ultimately drives a heartbroken lover into madness. The brand-new work will feature a classical score by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt.
Lizzie Borden with The Raven is presented by STF Events and Catering and Lightning 100. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at 615-782-4040 or at nashvilleballet.com. A complete performance schedule and more information may be found at nashvilleballet.com/lizzie-borden. Viewer discretion is advised; this production contains mature content.
Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the second company, NB2 – a pre-professional training company – provide more than 70,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through season performances and its community engagement programming. Curriculum-based community engagement programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students between 2-70 years old.