The former Beatles front-man has written an all-new piece for the New York City Ballet (with very little Help!).
The ballet is a love story called “Ocean’s Kingdom”, a tale of star-crossed lovers fighting to stay together as their two worlds collide. This may all sound very familiar … in fact, we’re pretty sure it’s the oldest yarn in the book. But add to that a musical score written by one of the most famous musicians of the last century, and you’ve got a winner.
(More on TIME.com: See photos of Sir Paul’s final year with the most famous band in the world)
“Ocean’s Kingdom” will be performed at the ballet company’s fall gala on September 22, and on later dates in the next season. As it currently stands the show lasts for about 45 or 50 minutes and is divided into four acts. Sir Paul’s creation requires up to 45 roles with four or five leading parts, so the race is on to get the top spot. Although the composer, John Wilson, has been helping McCartney with the final orchestration, the libretto is all the pop legend’s own work.
Sir Paul has been working closely with Peter Martins, the company’s ballet master-in-chief, who will choreograph the show. Martins said the idea of a collaboration struck him when he bumped in to the Beatle at a fund-raiser for the School of American Ballet (the training ground for the NYCB) last year: “I knew, of course, about his foray into classical music and his interest in it. I said to him, ‘Maybe we could do something together,’” McCartney took him up on the idea, and the stage was set for a unique collaboration.
Sir Paul appears to have risen to the challenge, adding yet another string to his bow as a “renaissance man.” So far he has published his own poetry, and childrens book, composed classical works and held an exhibition of his own art work. Ballet is but his latest attempt at world domination, it is the “sheer athleticism” of the art form that amazes him. “It’s like a meeting of the Olympic games and art, and I find that fascinating and challenging for me, to see what can be done.”
The pop legend even had a go at choreographing the piece, as Peter Martins recalls: “He did a nice little jump for me. I said, ‘To me, Paul, that needs work.’” (via New York Times)