mussel

NYCB to Expand Jewels with Sapphires

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As reported in WSJ weekend edition: http://online.wsj.co...festyleArtEnt_4

Since you need to get thru the paywall to see the article, here's the summary. Sapphires will be a tribute to August Bournonville. Peter Martins will choreograph the ballet to a comissioned score by the Danish composer Louise Alenius based on Balanchine's blueprint of the ballet discovered at NYCB archive. The expanded Jewels will premier during the spring 2013 season with a completely new sets and costumes.

Sapphires will be performed after the first intermission, the order of the new Jewels will be Emeralds - intermission - Sapphires - pause - Rubies - intermission - Diamonds. I don't have much confidents in Martines, if Sapphires turns out to be a dud, it is hard to avoid if you don't want to miss Rubies.

Althought Balanchine Trust owns the rights to Jewels and it objects to the tinkering of the ballet, the Trust does not own the rights to the word "jewels", and as long as NYCB performs the original 3 sections to the Trust's standard, there is not much the Trust can do to stop NYCB calling the expanded Jewels "Jewels".

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As reported in WSJ weekend edition: http://online.wsj.co...festyleArtEnt_4

Since you need to get thru the paywall to see the article, here's the summary. Sapphires will be a tribute to August Bournonville. Peter Martins will choreograph the ballet to a comissioned score by the Danish composer Louise Alenius based on Balanchine's blueprint of the ballet discovered at NYCB archive. The expanded Jewels will premier during the spring 2013 season with a completely new sets and costumes.

Sapphires will be performed after the first intermission, the order of the new Jewels will be Emeralds - intermission - Sapphires - pause - Rubies - intermission - Diamonds. I don't have much confidents in Martines, if Sapphires turns out to be a dud, it is hard to avoid if you don't want to miss Rubies.

Althought Balanchine Trust owns the rights to Jewels and it objects to the tinkering of the ballet, the Trust does not own the rights to the word "jewels", and as long as NYCB performs the original 3 sections to the Trust's standard, there is not much the Trust can do to stop NYCB calling the expanded Jewels "Jewels".

I love a good April Fool's. Well done (he said, hoping against hope that this isn't true...)!

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The version of the story I saw gave the title as "Cubit Zirconia." Clarification, someone?

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The version of the story I saw gave the title as "Cubit Zirconia." Clarification, someone?

Well if there's anything encased in plastic (to paraphrase Gelsey Kirkland on B's Coppelia), it's Martins's choreography.

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Oh man, I totally believed this as I read it, having forgotten it was April fools, and nearly went into cardiac arrest. That is a cruel joke!

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Oh man, I totally believed this as I read it, having forgotten it was April fools,

Me too...and because I don't know anything about all that stuff of rights and Trusts and whatever else, I admit having been foolished. Actually, if the rights issue would turned out to be just as the OP states, and Martins would come out with the idea, crazy as it is...would anyone here miss the Premiere, even if attending was a mere matter of curiosity...?

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Oh wow, that was an excellent April Fools because it is so entirely plausible!

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Actually, if the rights issue would turned out to be just as the OP states, and Martins would come out with the idea, crazy as it is...would anyone here miss the Premiere, even if attending was a mere matter of curiosity...?

Yes, if I was in New York I'd skip it for sure, presuming the Martins addition wouldn't be up to standard even of Diamonds, and not wanting to see the whole Balanchine work weakened by the insertion.

Thanks for the laugh, mussel. off%20topic.gif For those who missed it, NPR's April Fool's Day story this year, replete with comments from Alan Gilbert, was on the discovery of Beethoven's 10th!

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What made this so effective is the fact that Balanchine reportedly did consider a section on "Sapphires."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/arts/dance/city-ballet-in-jewels-at-david-h-koch-theater-review.html

https://www.balletmet.org/backstage/ballet-notes/175

In the beginning, there was also talk of a "sapphire" section of the ballet to music by Schoenberg, but the idea was put aside after a while. "After all," Balanchine remarked in an interview, "what is the colour of sapphires?" Some dance writers have also concluded that the sapphire section was also problematic because blue is a difficult color to translate into stage lighting. There may have also been a fear that the red, white and blue of rubies, diamonds and sapphires would have come dangerously close to the patriotic theme seen in Balanchine's 1958 ballet Stars and Stripes.

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What made this so effective is the fact that Balanchine reportedly did consider a section on "Sapphires."

http://www.nytimes.c...ter-review.html

https://www.balletme...allet-notes/175

In the beginning, there was also talk of a "sapphire" section of the ballet to music by Schoenberg, but the idea was put aside after a while. "After all," Balanchine remarked in an interview, "what is the colour of sapphires?" Some dance writers have also concluded that the sapphire section was also problematic because blue is a difficult color to translate into stage lighting. [...]

Thanks for the links! I've heard this said about blue many times, yet year after year companies all over the world do blue just fine in Balanchine's Serenade.

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The "Sapphires" section was supposed to be for Melissa Hayden and Arthur Mitchell. When it was dropped, Hayden took that as a sign that she wasn't important to Balanchine anymore. She had been often his second choice, anyway, either as a substitute for dancers who had become ill or injured before his premieres, like for Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" or taking over Tallchief's roles when new ones were made for the dancer.

My first thought reading this was that Hayden's spirit would be awakened by this news.

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After watching this topic develop yesterday I went to a local performance featuring a restored Klavihorn, which is an early version of a synthesizer, and when the lecture-demonstration of the instrument verged on the metaphysical (is something that you can program capable of thought) I began to think that perhaps it too was an April Fool's Day hoax!

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One of my favorite musical April Fool's Day hoaxes was in Robertson Davies' novel "Lyre of Orpheus", in which the young, contemporary composer Hulda Schnakenburg composed a piece in which the tenor's larynx was constricted with, if I remember correctly, duct tape, and many didn't notice the date on which the piece was performed.

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At the Diaghilev/Balanchine celebratory exhibition at the Harvard Theater Library in Cambridge in 2009, there were mock-ups of sets, and several descriptions of designs for "Sapphires." So there was considerably more than "talk."

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Most of us, I know, love Jewels as it is.

But if we WERE to add a Sapphires section, lots of real questions pop up.

I have no idea what qualities are suggested (real or symbolic) by "sapphire," which means I have no idea of what tone, feeling, or style would the dancing have to convey? Speed and energy? Adagio or even langour? Wit/ Outright comedy? Gravity? Sexuality? Serenity? Sturm un drang? helpsmilie.gif

Other questions come to mind: Whose music? Which choreographer? Which dancers?

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Beyond the grave? In honor of the inspiration we could have a po-mo mash-up of Balanchine knock-offs... If carefull done, it could be an interesting commemtary about just how hard it is to do well.

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Good points, Amy. I'm still interested, however, in what "sapphire" connotes to people. We can all relate to "diamond" and its emotional symbolism. But sapphire?

I guess I'm thinking here more about speculation or even fantasy, not necessarily serious plans for the creation of a new work for NYCB, or reasons why not to do one. wink1.gif

Violin Concerto, did that Harvard Theater Library exhibit give us an clear idea of what was originally planned, at least in terms of look?

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According to both Melissa Hayden and Arthur Mitchell, it was going to be made for them.

I've only seen them on film, and I know that Melissa Hayden was very technical, but also had some very dramatic roles. What would their gifts suggest?

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According to both Melissa Hayden and Arthur Mitchell, it was going to be made for them.

I've only seen them on film, and I know that Melissa Hayden was very technical, but also had some very dramatic roles. What would their gifts suggest?

Good question, Helene. Balanchine must have had a reason for this particular casting, and that may give us an idea about what Sapphire might have looked like.

I don't recall ever seeing Hayden and Mitchell dance as partners, though they were from time to time in the same works (Agon; Midsummer Night's Dream). Mitchell suggests a certain natural elegance, but he could take on the power of a panther if called for. He could dance like a hoofer (Slaughter) and a had a gift for comedy (as in, Puck). I don't associate these particular qualities with Hayden, though this may be unfair.. Mitchell did dance Othello, not the Limon, but his Desdemona was Mimi Paul. Paul could do vulnerable, which was not Hayden's strength..

For Mitchell and Hayden, I would think "romance" would be out. It was okay in those days to do an interracial Othello because that was what Shakespeare tells us to do. wink1.gif Agon pas de deux (Mitchella and Adams) is sensual but quirky -- not romantic. Both Mitchell and Hayden could do sensual and quirky. Also, both -- as was typical of the company in those days -- danced full-out and with a clear love of whatever they were performing.

Rubies makes us think of "flash." Emeralds carries associations of under-water. Perhaps Sapphire (the blue version) suggests the firmament? Flying? Something ethereal?

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Hayden did a wonderful job as in "Stars and Stripes" playing it straight; understanding that this would make it most effective suggests she knows something about comedy. Plus, as far as I know, it was a role made for her alone, not one she inherited or which was envisioned for someone else, because another dancer, usually Diana Adams, couldn't perform.

With Hayden and Mitchell in mind, I love the idea of flying, but more like Icarus and not at all ethereal.

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I can see the sapphires representing a clear night sky.

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Good points, Amy. I'm still interested, however, in what "sapphire" connotes to people. We can all relate to "diamond" and its emotional symbolism. But sapphire? I guess I'm thinking here more about speculation or even fantasy, not necessarily serious plans for the creation of a new work for NYCB, or reasons why not to do one. wink1.gif Violin Concerto, did that Harvard Theater Library exhibit give us an clear idea of what was originally planned, at least in terms of look?

I am looking for my notes, but I do remember at the end of the exhibit, at least one small mock-up of a set. Will keep looking.

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So far no luck locating notes, but the Library says they have a searchable database..... I didn't find anything searching for Sapphires + Balanchine.... but I shall continue the search.

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