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Boston Ballet 2007-08 season


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#1 Dale

Dale

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 07:13 AM

I posted this before but it's in the archived Boston Ballet section. There's an update to the season. I'll post the season announcement and then the update.

BOSTON BALLET’s 2007-2008 SEASON

Highlights include tour to Spain, gala performance, three world premieres, and the company premieres of John Cranko’s celebrated Romeo and Juliet and Antony Tudor’s remarkable Dark Elegies

BOSTON, March 29, 2007
Following a six-week tour to Spain that launches the 2007-2008 season, Boston Ballet returns home to begin rehearsals for six programs that encompass more than 170 years of ballet and showcase the versatility of the dancers.

The Company inaugurates its Boston season on Friday, October 12 with Night of Stars: A Boston Ballet Gala Performance. Like last year’s gala performance, the first staged by Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen, this one-night-only event will feature the entire company and showcase all Boston Ballet principal dancers and internationally renowned guest artists in a special program. A week later, the Company will open its customary six-program schedule with two riveting works by George Balanchine, Monumentum pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra – first danced by Boston Ballet in 2003 – which share the bill with Sorella Englund’s acclaimed staging of August Bournonville’s two-act La Sylphide. This definitive production of Bournonville’s masterpiece is one of two programs being presented by Boston Ballet in Spain; the other is an all-Balanchine triple bill featuring Serenade, Who Cares? (concert version) and The Four Temperaments. Boston Ballet will dance three additional full-length ballets during the 2007-08 season: Mikko Nissinen’s magical production of The Nutcracker in December, the company premiere of John Cranko’s beloved Romeo and Juliet in February, and a new staging of Marius Petipa’s thrilling La Bayadčre in May.

Next Generation, a mixed repertory program in March, will feature three world premieres and a company premiere. Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo will create his fifth work for Boston Ballet, and Helen Pickett, whose Etesian was one of the big hits of the 2005 – 2006 season, returns to create her second piece for the Company. The third world premiere will be choreographed by Boston Ballet second soloist Heather Myers, marking her first work for a major dance company. Also on the program is the United States premiere of Ein von Viel by Canadian choreographer Sabrina Matthews, making her American debut. The season concludes in May with a triple bill spotlighting Antony Tudor’s poignant Dark Elegies, a heartbreaking depiction of grief and loss. Two additional ballets on this program will be announced at a later date.

“I take many things into account in planning the season,” said Nissinen, “and two of my biggest considerations are challenging the dancers with all different kinds of work, and Boston Ballet’s commitment to the community. I’m always looking to expose our dancers and our audiences to a good mixture of classical, neo-classical and contemporary ballets. Dancers grow and flourish on diversity, and so do audiences. Some of our patrons prefer big story ballets, and others prefer more contemporary pieces. But it’s good for everyone to experience a broad range of works. I’m very excited about our Next Generation program. This art form thrives on new choreography; remember, Swan Lake was once brand new. I am very pleased to present an evening that includes three world premieres and a company premiere by choreographers who represent the future of ballet. The story ballets we are dancing this season offer all kinds of challenges. Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet demands as much from the dancers dramatically as it does choreographically. La Sylphide embodies the Romantic style of ballet. And La Bayadčre is the epitome of Petipa classicism, especially Act III, “The Kingdom of the Shades,” which is one of the supreme tests for the corps de ballet. I’m delighted to introduce our dancers and our audiences to Tudor’s Dark Elegies, an extraordinary work of art that demands an understated style of movement. And our commitment to Balanchine continues, not just with Monumentum Pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra, but with the three works the Company will perform this summer in Spain.”

All performances are held at Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre with the exception of The Nutcracker, which returns to The Opera House for the third consecutive year.



Monumentum/Movements and La Sylphide

October 18-28, 2007

Monumentum pro Gesualdo

Music: Igor Stravinsky

Choreography: George Balanchine



Movements for Piano and Orchestra

Music: Igor Stravinsky

Choreography: George Balanchine


La Sylphide

Music: Herman Lřvenskjold

Choreography: Sorella Englund after August Bournonville

Sets and Costumes: Peter Cazalet


Monumentum Pro Gesualdo, choreographed by Balanchine for New York City Ballet in 1960, and Movements for Piano and Orchestra, choreographed in 1963, are two exquisite miniatures that have been performed together since 1966. Although both ballets are danced in practice clothes to scores by Stravinsky, they are musically, choreographically and stylistically quite different from each other. Stravinsky composed Monumentum in 1960 in honor of the four-hundredth anniversary of the birth of the composer Don Carlo Gesualdo (who may have been born as late as 1566). Gesualdo, a tempestuous and deeply disturbed nobleman who murdered his first wife and her lover, is today best remembered for that act, and for writing six books of madrigals. Stravinsky’s score is made up of three of Gesualdo’s madrigals for five voices “recomposed for instruments.” Each piece lasts just over two minutes, and Balanchine responded to the music with choreography that is courtly and lyrical; Nissinen calls it “a profound statement of harmony and balance.”

Movements, composed a year earlier than Monumentum, is a dissonant work using the 12-tone serial method. Balanchine’s choreography is as spare and modern as the music. In the book Balanchine’s Complete Stories of the Great Ballets, the choreographer wrote, “Stravinsky has said that my ballet might also have been called ‘Electric Currents.’ It is, as he says, a double concerto for male and female solo dancers, both identified with the piano solo. There is an accompanying corps de ballet of six girls. . . . Nothing gave me greater pleasure afterwards than Stravinsky’s saying the performance ‘was like a tour of a building for which I had drawn the plans but never explored the result.’” Following the premiere of this nine-minute work, Allen Hughes wrote in The New York Times that Monumentum “may well go down in history as one of the greatest ballets [Balanchine] ever created. Only prudence keeps me from saying outright that I think it is as nearly perfect a work of dance art as I have ever seen.”

The 2005 Boston Ballet premiere of Sorella Englund’s staging of August Bournonville’s La Sylphide was hailed by Karen Campbell in The Boston Globe as “beautifully distilled and vividly theatrical.” Englund was for many years an extraordinary dramatic ballerina with the Royal Danish Ballet (RDB) and an exceptional interpreter of Bournonville’s works. Today she is recognized as one of the foremost ballet coaches in the world, specializing in the Bournonville style.

La Sylphide, the first great Romantic ballet, was originally choreographed by Filippo Taglioni in 1832. Bournonville saw the production in Paris, and in 1836 choreographed his own version for the RDB, basing it on the same story but commissioning a new score by Herman Lřvenskjold. This wistful fable takes place on the wedding day of a young man named James, who becomes enraptured by the vision of a bewitching sylph. He abandons his fiancée Effie at the altar to pursue the elusive creature. The ballet’s themes of escape and fantasy remain as resonant today as they were 170 years ago.



The Nutcracker

November 29-December 29, 2007

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Choreography: Mikko Nissinen

Sets: Helen Pond and Herbert Senn

Costumes: David Walker and Charles Heightchew

Lighting Design: Alexander Nichols

Following the opening of The Nutcracker last season, Thea Singer wrote in The Boston Globe, “Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen has choreographed a version of the E.T.A. Hoffmann story, to the full Tchaikovsky score, that both springs from the music and revels in the theatrical legerdemain that feeds kids’ souls.”

This will mark the fortieth consecutive year that Boston Ballet is performing The Nutcracker. There will be 36 performances this season, and once again the production will feature the entire Company, more than 200 children from Boston Ballet School, and the full Tchaikovsky score performed live by the Boston Ballet Orchestra. Nissinen has been fine-tuning the production since it moved to The Opera House in 2005 in order to use the stage to its best advantage, and changes are in store once more. The second act will be revamped with a new set that will give the dancers more room in which to move. “I’m very pleased with the production the way it is now,” said Nissinen. “I thought The Nutcracker looked wonderful this past season, after the various modifications it underwent when we moved to The Opera House. And now we’re going to have a set in the second act that will be designed specifically for this beautiful space.”

Romeo and Juliet

(Company premiere)

February 14-17, February 28-March 2, 2008

Music: Sergei Prokofiev

Choreography: John Cranko

Sets and Costumes: Susan Benson

When the Stuttgart Ballet danced the American premiere of John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet in 1969, Clive Barnes wrote in The New York Times that this staging of Prokofiev’s score “is, quite simply, the best of a surprisingly distinguished bunch. Many choreographers have attempted the score . . . but it has been left to Cranko to give the work its complete fulfillment.”

More than 35 years later, that assessment continues to ring true. Cranko was a gifted story teller who masterfully wove choreography and drama into a seamless whole. His Verona teems with life: the crowd scenes are exquisitely etched, and the main characters are clearly part of the fabric of society. “It’s a very sophisticated production,” said Nissinen. “It’s a real dance drama with wonderful choreography, and the pas de deux are stunning.”

This is the third full-length masterpiece by Cranko to enter Boston Ballet’s repertory. The Company danced the heartbreaking Onegin in 2002, and the delightful The Taming of the Shrew in 2004. “I want to expose audiences and dancers to important choreographers – not just one work, but a range of their works,” said Nissinen. “This gives us the trilogy of Cranko’s great full-evening ballets.”

Cranko (1927-1973) choreographed his first production of Romeo and Juliet for La Scala Ballet in 1958, with Carla Fracci as Juliet. In 1962 he restaged and revised the piece for Stuttgart Ballet, where he had been appointed director a year earlier; Marcia Haydée was Juliet. Other companies that have danced Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet include the National Ballet of Canada, The Australian Ballet, and Paris Opera Ballet (1983). In 1978, the Joffrey Ballet became the first American company to stage Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet.


Next Generation

March 6-9, 2008

World Premiere

Choreography: Helen Pickett



World Premiere

Choreography: Heather Myers


Ein von Viel (Company Premiere)

Music: Johann Sebastian Bach

Choreography: Sabrina Matthews

World Premiere

Choreography: Jorma Elo

The four choreographers whose ballets are featured on the Next Generation program have all been championed by Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo received his first major commission from Nissinen at Alberta Ballet, and Helen Pickett received her first major commission from Nissinen at Boston Ballet. The upcoming world premiere by Boston Ballet second soloist Heather Myers will be her first for a major company. And Ein von Viel was commissioned in 2001 by Nissinen at Alberta Ballet, where Sabrina Matthews was a dancer and burgeoning choreographer.

“I thought it was important to present a program in which we showcase and celebrate the next generation,” said Nissinen. “I didn’t set out to feature choreographers that I have supported. It just evolved that way. Boston Ballet is committed to new choreography and innovation, and these are talented artists. Jorma Elo is having great success everywhere he goes, but as resident choreographer of Boston Ballet, his relationship with our dancers is truly special. It’s very important that he keeps developing our company members in his work. Helen Pickett had a wonderful start here with Etesian, and I’m so pleased that she’s doing a new work for us. Heather Myers has shown tremendous talent in workshop situations, and I want to give her her first break on a big stage. I also want to introduce American audiences to the work of Sabrina Matthews. I watched her develop at Alberta Ballet, and Ein von Viel is a piece I enjoy very much.”

Helen Pickett, a former principal dancer with William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt, is currently an associate with The Wooster Group, an ensemble of diverse artists who collaborate on developing and producing theater and media pieces. Pickett is also a noted dance improvisation teacher specializing in the Forsythe technique, and has worked with The Ailey School, Mark Morris Dance Group, and The Actor's Studio, among many others. Her first world premiere for Boston Ballet, the much lauded Etesian, incorporated Forstythe’s improv technique into the choreography. Pickett is now working on a concept with Nissinen for her upcoming ballet, which is scheduled to be an abstract, neoclassical piece that draws on Indian culture.

Heather Myers, a native of Calgary, Canada, received her dance training at The National Ballet School and The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. She danced with Alberta Ballet for four years under the direction of Mikko Nissinen, as well as at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Le Festival des Arts de Saint Saveur. She joined Boston Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet and was promoted to second soloist in 2004. A short list of her repertory at Boston Ballet includes John Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew; James Kudelka's Cinderella (Stepsister with glasses); William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated; Mark Morris' Up and Down; Jiri Kylian's Falling Angels; Jorma Elo’s Plan to B and Brake the Eyes, Val Caniparoli's Lady of the Camellias (Dream pas de deux), Lambarena, and Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion; George Balanchine's Ballo della Regina, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Monumentum/ Movements, Serenade, and Stars and Stripes; Lucinda Childs' Ten Part Suite; Helen Pickett's Etesian; and Bronislava Nijinska's Les Noces. For Boston Ballet’s 2006 Choreography Workshop, Myers created One Constant, which was later featured on the Company’s 2006 Gala. Most recently, she choreographed a piece for Boston Ballet II. Myers has also taught at Boston Ballet’s Young Dancers Summer Workshop.

Sabrina Matthews was trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and danced for ten years with Alberta Ballet, where she became a leading soloist. She began choreographing in 1999 and has created numerous works for Alberta Ballet, as well as dance companies and schools across Canada. In 2002, she was chosen by the New York Choreographic Institute to create a work for the School of American Ballet. Matthews moved to Montreal in 2005 to pursue a career as a frelaance choreographer, and in 2006 she had a major success with Soles for the Stuttgart Ballet. Ein von Viel, commissioned by Mikko Nissinen for Alberta Ballet ‘s 2001-2002 season, is an athletic romp for two male dancers; Bach’s music, selections from The Goldberg Variations, is played by an onstage pianist. Boston Ballet’s premiere of Ein von Viel will mark the first time that one of Matthews’ ballets is being performed by an American company.

Jorma Elo’s latest commission, his fifth for Boston Ballet, follows on the heels of the acclaimed Brake the Eyes, which Karen Campbell called “another major work” in The Boston Globe. Elo’s other works for Boston Ballet are Sharp Side of Dark (2002), Plan to B (2004) and Carmen (2005). During the 2006-2007 season, Elo received commissions from Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, BalletX in Pennsylvania, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Royal Danish Ballet, State Theatre Nuremberg (Germany), and Norwegian National Ballet. In addition, Cincinnati Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Finnish National Ballet have staged existing works. “I am very proud of Jorma’s achievements, and so happy for his success,” said Nissinen. “He is a rare talent, and what’s clear to me each time he choreographs here is that our dancers are better for having worked with him. I am always eager to see what he’ll do next.”

La Bayadčre

May 1-11, 2008

Music: Ludwig Minkus

Choreography: after Petipa

First performed in its entirety by Boston Ballet in October, 2000, La Bayadčre is a moving, exotic tale set in India that was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa for the Maryinsky Theatre in 1877. The ballet tells the story of Nikiya, a bayadčre (temple dancer) in love with Solor, a warrior. He returns her love, but betrays her and becomes engaged to Gamzatti, daughter of a Rajah. Gamzatti, aware of the feelings between Nikiya and Solor, sends her rival a snake, hidden in a basket of flowers. The snake bites Nikiya, who dies. A distraught Solor, seeking to escape from his torment, has an opium-induced dream. When he awakens, he can do nothing to stop the plans for his wedding from moving forward. But during the ceremony, avenging gods destroy the temple, crushing everyone in it, and he is reunited with Nikiya in death.

The opium dream scene is known as “The Kingdom of the Shades,” and it is not only the most famous part of the ballet, but a superb example of Petipa’s vision of classicism: in its eloquence, its formalism, its harmony, its precision, and its sparkling execution. A single file of 24 dancers emerges slowly from the wings onto a concealed ramp at the back of the stage. One by one, they step into an arabesque penché, followed by cambré (a bending of the body) port de bras, take three steps forward, and slowly, hypnotically, repeat the combination over and over, until the entire ensemble has made its way down the ramp and filled the stage. “It’s a crystallization of Petipa’s brilliance,” said Nissinen.

La Bayadčre was unknown to Western audiences until 1961, when the Kirov Ballet brought “The Kingdom of the Shades” to Paris and London. Rudolf Nureyev defected on that tour, and two years later he staged “The Kingdom of the Shades” for the Royal Ballet. (He would choreograph the complete version for Paris Opera Ballet in 1992, shortly before his death.) In 1974, Natalia Makarova staged “Shades” for American Ballet Theatre, and six years later she mounted the entire production for the company.

Boston Ballet’s 2008 production will be staged specifically for the Company. Details will be announced at a later date.

Dark Elegies (Company premiere)

May 15-18, 2007

Music: Gustav Mahler

Choreography: Antony Tudor

Scenery and Costumes: after Nadia Benois

PLUS TWO ADDITIONAL WORKS TO BE ANNOUNCED

Antony Tudor (1909-1987) is best known for his compelling psychological ballets, dances that probe the heart and mind in minute detail, often to heartbreaking effect. Dark Elegies, danced to Gustav Mahler’s poignant song cycle Kindertotenlieder, is one of his most powerful works, a deep and moving exploration of grief and mourning.

Dark Elegies is performed by an ensemble of twelve dancers, including three principal women and three principal men, plus an onstage singer. Their costumes indicate they are peasants, and much of the movement springs from folk dances. It is the title of Mahler’s score, rather than the choreography, which reveals that the community has experienced the death of children. Tudor was a master of understatement in his approach to choreography and storytelling, and feelings in his ballets are conveyed through subtlety – subtle gestures, subtle body language, subtle dramatic expression. Tudor wanted the characters in his ballets to look natural, like real people rather than highly polished classical dancers.

Tudor was a latecomer to dance, beginning his studies at 19 with Marie Rambert. He began dancing professionally in 1930 with Ballet Rambert, which also presented his earliest ballets, including Jardin Aux Lilas (1936), Dark Elegies (1937), and Judgment of Paris (1938). He left Rambert in 1938 to form London Ballet, then relocated to America a year later when he was invited to take part in a company that was just getting started, Ballet Theatre.

During the next decade, Tudor staged his major British works at ABT and choreographed new ballets, including Pillar of Fire (1942), Romeo and Juliet and Dim Lustre (both in 1943), and Undertow (1945). He left ABT in 1950, and although he continued to choreograph periodically, he devoted most of his energies to teaching. In 1974 he rejoined ABT as associate director, and a year later choreographed The Leaves Are Fading, his first new ballet for the company in 25 and his last important work.

The original cast of Dark Elegies included Tudor, Hugh Laing, and Agnes de Mille. “I danced this piece toward the end of my career and I loved dancing it,” said Nissinen. “It’s a little bit like Ibsen: the action is minimal, but there’s so much going on.”





Boston Ballet 2007-2008 Season at a Glance

Night of Stars: A Boston Ballet Gala Performance
October 12, 2007

Monumentum/Movements and La Sylphide
October 18-28, 2007

Monumentum pro Gesualdo
Music: Igor Stravinsky
Choreography: George Balanchine

Movements for Piano and Orchestra
Music: Igor Stravinsky
Choreography: George Balanchine

La Sylphide
Music: Herman Lřvenskjold
Choreography: Sorella Englund after August Bournonville
Sets and Costumes: Peter Cazalet

The Nutcracker
November 29-December 29, 2007
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Mikko Nissinen
Sets: Helen Pond and Herbert Senn
Costumes: David Walker and Charles Heightchew
Lighting Design: Alexander Nichols

Romeo and Juliet (Company premiere)
February 14-17, February 28-March 2, 2008
Music: Sergei Prokofiev
Choreography: John Cranko
Sets and Costumes: Susan Benson

Next Generation
March 6-9, 2008

World Premiere
Choreography: Helen Pickett

World Premiere
Choreography: Heather Myers

Ein von Viel (Company Premiere)
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach
Choreography: Sabrina Matthews

World Premiere
Choreography: Jorma Elo

La Bayadčre
May 1-11, 2008
Music: Ludwig Minkus
Choreography: after Petipa

Dark Elegies (Company premiere)
May 15-18, 2007
Music: Gustav Mahler
Choreography: Antony Tudor
Scenery and Costumes: after Nadia Benois
PLUS TWO WORKS TO BE ANNOUNCED

***

Boston Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following institutional partners:

Fidelity Investments, 2006-2007 Season Sponsor

The Massachusetts Cultural Council

The National Endowment for the Arts

Boston Organ & Piano, Official Piano Supplier of Boston Ballet

Delta Airlines, Official Airline of Boston Ballet

WCVB-TV, Channel 5, Television Partner

* * *

For more information on the Company, please contact the Boston Ballet Box Office or log onto the Boston Ballet website, www.bostonballet.org.

# # #

Founded in 1963, Boston Ballet is one of the leading dance companies in North America. It has 50 full-time dancers and maintains an internationally acclaimed repertoire of classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to new works by some of today’s best choreographers. Boston Ballet’s second company, Boston Ballet II, is made up of pre- professional dancers who gain experience by performing with Boston Ballet and as an independent group, presenting lecture-demonstrations and unique programs to audiences throughout the Northeast. Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education instructs more than 3,000 students of all ages each year through Boston Ballet School, Young Dancers Summer Workshop, Summer Dance Program, DanceLab, Citydance, Adaptive Dance and Taking Steps.

#2 Dale

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 07:15 AM

Monumentum/Movements has been replaced by Serenade:

LA SYLPHIDE
MUSIC: Herman Lřvenskjold
CHOREOGRAPHY: Sorella Englund after August Bournonville

with George Balanchine's SERENADE
MUSIC: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
CHOREOGRAPHY: George Balanchine

October 18-28, 2007

The 2007–2008 season opens with the haunting La Sylphide, which Boston Ballet will present on its exciting and historic tour of Spain this summer. Sorella Englund’s staging of this 1836 masterpiece was hailed in The Boston Herald as “immaculate.” Bournonville’s classic choreography and the ageless notion of ideal love continue to move and captivate audiences. Don’t miss the production The Boston Globe called “beautifully distilled and vividly theatrical.”


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