Watch: We ask Tony Iommi about breaking barriers with Black Sabbath - The Ballet at Birmingham Hippodrome
Birmingham’s original heavy metal from Black Sabbath is being recreated in dance with Birmingham Royal Ballet in a new artistic fusion set to create a storm on stage
and live on Freeview channel 276
Two worlds are set to collide as The Birmingham Royal Ballet prepare to perform Black Sabbath - The Ballet.
The groundbreaking fusion between heavy metal and classic dance is underway at Birmingham Hippodrome - the home of BRB - and is due to be performed in public in September.
It’s a radical reinterpretation of Black Sabbath’s repertoire and a celebration of their musical legacy. We spoke to Tony Iommi to find out more, and asked the world famous guitarist who hails from Handsworth if he could ever have imagined that half a century after he formed the band - along with Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward in Birmingham - that the city’s ballet company would be dancing to their music?
Tony Iommi laughed and said: “I wouldn’t have believed them really, to be honest. At the time when I got involved with Black Sabbath I thought it was great, because it was something so different, and hasn’t been done before. And I found it, I think, a good challenge.
“I’m looking at our music differently now with this (the ballet), because it is being interpreted in a different way. It’s still got the basic things, but then it did have in the different orchestral things coming in and, and then I never thought for a minute, we would have people dancing to Black Sabbath and War Pigs and Iron Man!. But here we are, you know.”
Black Sabbath’s sound - despite its universal appeal - is undeniably a product of gritty working-class life in 1970s Birmingham. So we asked Tony if these themes were inportant to convey in the dance version of their work.
Tony said: “Birmingham Royal Ballet are very conscious of the work being what it is - the Sabbath music. We don’t want to change it so you can’t recognise it. So they’ve held that part of it, but added another dimension to it. So I was very happy with that.”
We also asked Tony if he thought Black Sabbet - The Ballet could inspire heavy metal fans to become ballet fans, and ballet fans to become heavy metal fans. He said: “I certainly hope so. I mean, it is a strange combination, but you’ve got to push the boat out.
“And, you know, hopefully, we can get everybody together. But they’re opposite but they’re not at the same time - because it’s still creative. They’re creating what they’re doing. We’re creating what we’ve done, and we’re bringing them together. And I think it’d be really interesting to see the Sabbath fans and then to see the ballet fans liking it, hopefully.”