Layla and Majnun will mark the 13th MMDG world premiere at Cal Performances, the production’s lead commissioner. The project is made possible in Berkeley through Cal Performances’ major new venture, Berkeley RADICAL (Research And Development Initiative in Creativity, Arts, and Learning), a framework to cultivate public artistic literacy and create cultural access for diverse future audiences. Layla and Majnun will contribute to the Berkeley RADICAL process, which includes explorations of known works and creation of major new works with public performances.
Cal Performances, MMDG’s official West Coast home, has long been famous for its commitment to bringing important dance works on a grand scale to Zellerbach Hall. Cal Performances and MMDG’s relationship over the last twenty-eight years has played a major part in fulfilling that commitment. MMDG first performed two mixed repertory programs at Zellerbach Hall in 1987. Since then, Cal Performances has presented regular performances of the holiday classic, The Hard Nut, and 56 different works by Mark Morris, twelve of which were premieres and nine of which were commissions, including 2014’s Acis and Galatea.
Based at the University of California, Berkeley, Cal Performances is the largest, multi-discipline performing arts presenter in Northern California, and one of the largest university-based presenters in the United States. Traditional and non-traditional artists regularly appear on or near the UC Berkeley campus in the theaters and concert halls managed by Cal Performances, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Wynton Marsalis, Cecilia Bartoli, Bryn Terfel, Mark Morris, Yo-Yo Ma, Philip Glass, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Merce Cunningham, Pina Bausch, Bill T. Jones, Peter Sellars, and Robert Lepage; as well as artists based in the San Francisco Bay Area like John Adams, Margaret Jenkins, Paul Dresher, Kronos Quartet, Joe Goode, Kaila Flexer, Jon Jang, and Sarah Cahill. Cal Performances is also instrumental in facilitating the touring of large ensembles from abroad, and has hosted such companies as the Grand Kabuki Theater of Japan, the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies, Lyon Opera Ballet and Orchestra, the Kirov Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, the Berliner Ensemble, the Beijing People’s Art Theater, the Gate Theater of Dublin, Les Arts Florissants, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and Nederland Dans Theater, among others.