Oh boy, Symphony in C. What a can of worms. I've quoted some previous posts below. Please keep in mind that almost all of my research is archival and piecemeal. Would you believe that I've never even seen the ballet live?
Then I remembered an essay entitled 'Balanchine's Bizet' by John Taras in Ballet Review, Spring 1998. In it Mr. Taras says this:
'What remains of the original choreography in Paris is anybody's guess. In an unauthorized version staged by Jean Sarelli of the Paris Opera for the Tokyo Ballet, there were several marvelous patterns apparently not remembered by Balanchine. '
POB seems to have faithfully (pedantically?) preserved the choreography. Youtube hosted a 1980s film featuring the company with choreography identical to the recent theater transmission. Going further back in time, Balanchine in Paris presents Ghislaine Thesmar coaching the second movement; this coaching segment features a B&W film of Thesmar and her cavalier (1960s? 70s?) with identical pas de deux choreography from the second movement. Further back, Soviet news features (probably before or near the same time as the first NYCB visit in 1962) showed that sections of the second and fourth movements are identical. The Dutch National Ballet staged Palais in the same year, though it was billed as Symphony in C. Confusingly enough, their Symphony (which was filmed for B&W transmission) featured choreography identical to the POB Palais. Nothing in it suggests Symphony to me at all.
The Balanchine Catalogue does report a 1963 CBS program (Lincoln Center Day) that featured the second and fourth movements of Symphony/Palais. However, as I have not seen this (it's at NYPL, go see it!), I can only speculate that the European and American chains of transmission may have been broken at that point, as excerpts from various biographies seems to suggest that Kent was already performing different choreography than her European counterpart.
My film chain ends there, but I'll speculate that the POB has done a marvelous job in retaining the original choreography. Otherwise, any distortion that occurred in the choreography occurred between 1948 and when people began to film this ballet in the 1960s.
I remember reading somewhere that Taras was given the rights to Symphony in C by GB, and that during Taras' lifetime he determined what changes could and could not be made to it. Someone with a better memory than mine may know more about this.
Taras mentions in his article that the rights first went to Betty Cage in 1962 who then gave Taras the rights to it in 1992. But aren't all Balanchine Ballets governed by the Trust? I know Suzanne Farrell owns a couple of Balanchine's ballets, can the Trust assert authority over them?
The rights to the ballet now belong to the School of American Ballet, so I was a little suprised when the Paris Opera Ballet's broadcast of Palais was accompanied by the usual blurb about the Trust signing off on style and technique. If anyone has seen Symphony in C performed recently, do you remember that note being included in the program?
Betty Cage gave Symphony to Taras, who insisted on companies performing only one version of it. If I recall correctly, the POB actually stopped performing Palais for a number of years (90s?) due to a copyright conflict. In another instance Francia Russell and Kent Stowell had to apply for special permission so that they could stage Russell's version for their retirement from PNB in 2005. I wonder how Mr Taras took Mariinsky's decision to stage what is patently Symphony with jewel-toned costumes in the 1990s.
It's unclear what was given to Taras. I did some research for the board a few years back on the disposition of Balanchine's ballets after his death (My 2009 BA! series of three posts here), and the will named only Symphony. You'll have to see my post for more details about ownership, but von Aroldingen and Barbara Horgan shared all rights to all ballets not named in the will (the will named ~85).
Here's where the weirdness comes in: is Palais a different ballet? Balanchine did name both versions of Valse Fantaisie and Theme and Variations in his will, but Palais was not, so it is possible that von Aroldingen and Horgan own it instead. However, this 2006 NYT article seems to think that Symphony and Palais are one entity (calling it just "Bizet") and belonged to Taras. In any case, he left Symphony to SAB (which originally had received nothing from Balanchine's will), and the SAB seems to have deposited said ballet(s) with the Balanchine Trust (which requires the staging blurb).
Anyway, quoting from my original posts, "Taper notes that '[o]nce [the ballets were deposited in the Trust], the action was irrevocable'".