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New Swan Lake

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I don't know the casting yet, but there will be a new production of "Swan Lake" by Christopher Wheeldon at the Academy of Music from June 4 - 12. There's at least one interview with Wheeldon about this -- you might try doing a search on the Links thread for Wheeldon + Swan Lake.

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I'll try to get the casting. Until then, here's the company press release:



PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania Ballet’s 40th Anniversary Season comes to a fabulous finish with the world premiere of a new, million-dollar production of Swan Lake, June 4 through 12 at the Academy of Music. Commissioned especially for Pennsylvania Ballet’s 40th Anniversary Season, this full-length production will be re-imagined by world-renowned choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.

Set to the famous Tchaikovsky score, Swan Lake embodies the heart and soul of classic story ballet, and ignites the senses with a mesmerizing plot, brilliant characters, and unforgettable moments of drama and beauty. Arguably the most famous ballet of all time, Swan Lake has touched generations of ballet and theatre-goers worldwide.

Pennsylvania Ballet’s new version will feature much of the original choreography created by Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa in 1895, and the crux of the story – the tragic romance of the beautiful Swan Queen trapped by an evil sorcerer who allows her to become human only at night – will also remain the same. Mr. Wheeldon is changing selected elements of the plot as well as adding original choreography that will work cohesively with the traditional elements he will retain. He is also refocusing the narrative to be more prominent and realized more through dance and movement than through pantomime. In his own words, creating a new version of Swan Lake is to him like “resetting an old diamond heirloom into a contemporary setting.”

Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet, Mr. Wheeldon is perhaps the most sought-after choreographer in the world, being hailed as “the next George Balanchine” by critics and audiences alike. His credits include a variety of repertory and full-length works for Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Royal

Ballet, and New York City Ballet, as well as the Broadway show Sweet Smell of Success and the film Center Stage. Born in Somerset, England, he studied at the Royal Ballet School, and danced as a member of the Royal Ballet for two years before joining New York City Ballet in 1993. He retired as a Soloist in 2000 to concentrate on his choreographic work.

“When we decided to create a new Swan Lake for the Company, I immediately knew I wanted Christopher to do it,” says Pennsylvania Ballet Artistic Director Roy Kaiser. “I have long admired his talent. Chris brings a wonderful perspective to this project – from his training and early years at the Royal Ballet to his current home, the New York City Ballet. This production will enable him to combine his contemporary creativity with his respect for and admiration of the tradition of Swan Lake.”

The award winning design team for this spectacular new production includes scenic designer Adrianne Lobel, costume designer Jean-Marc Puissant, and lighting designer Natasha Katz. Ms. Lobel recently developed, produced and designed the Tony nominated musical A Year with Frog and Toad, based on the story written by her father, Arnold Lobel. Her design credits include Broadway’s On the Town, Passion and The Diary of Anne Frank, many of Peter Sellars’ theatre and opera productions, and dance projects including works for Mark Morris Dance Company. Mr. Puissant’s design credits for dance include Tryst for Royal Ballet (Olivier Award Nomination for Best New Dance Production), Giselle for Ballet de l’Opera National du Rhin, The Sleeping Beauty for National Opera of Ankara in Turkey, VIII for the Hamburg Ballet, and The Seasons and Spring Pas de Deux for Royal Birmingham Ballet. Ms. Katz is a Tony Award winning lighting designer whose Broadway credits include Beauty and the Beast, Aida, and Seussical: The Musical. Additional design credits include Die Soldatan for New York City Opera and Don Quixote for American Ballet Theatre.

Tickets to Pennsylvania Ballet’s new production of Swan Lake range from $19 to $96, and are available beginning May 4 by calling (215) 893-1999 or online at www.paballet.org. Groups of ten or more can purchase discounted tickets now by calling (215) 551-7000, extension 1212 or 1213.

Performances are as follows:

Friday, June 4 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 5 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 6 at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, June 9 at 8 p.m.

Thursday, June 10 at 8 p.m.

Friday, June 11 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 12 at 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The 12 p.m. performance on June 12 is part of Pennsylvania Ballet’s Family Matinee Series, and includes a free Family Day event in the Academy Ballroom after the show. Family Day is a fun-filled event that features entertainment, games and craft activities, as well as autographs with some of the featured dancers.

This production was made possible, in part, by a grant from the William Penn Foundation; a Cultural Economic Development Grant funded by the Delaware River Port Authority with administrative support provided by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance; the National Endowment for the Arts; and a grant from Dance Advance, a program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by Drexel University. Additional support was provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Wachovia, Claneil Foundation, the LouAlan Foundation, and Independence Blue Cross.

Founded in 1963, Pennsylvania Ballet is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season with popular works from the Company’s history, two company premieres and two world premieres commissioned for the 40th Anniversary. For more information, call (215) 551-7000 .

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Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet, Mr. Wheeldon is perhaps the most sought-after choreographer in the world, being hailed as “the next George Balanchine” by critics and audiences alike. 

Intending no disparagement to Mr. Wheeldon, who is indeed very talented, but . . . :jawdrop: !

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There's an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer today with brief interviews with the three Swan Queens (the Siegfrieds don't count, evidently.) See Links for the link to the article, but the Unveiled are:

Dede Barfield

Riolama Lorenzo

Arantxa Ochoa

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I will be in the Philadelphia area on business from SF and lucky enough to be there for opening night. I am really looking forward to it. Hope that it isn't too far from the original. I really love the music. Swan Lake is one of my favorite ballets.

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Well, I see one promising development--no jester! There is also a Russian dance, which is nice, because I love that music. No mazurka, which is too bad, but after seening the Kirov's version, no one can match it, and half-done mazurkas are very dull. There are a couple of oddities, though--the ball room scene now lists can-can dancers and gentleman patrons, and ballerinas and waiters. Can it have turned into Merry Widow?

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Maybe Odette is one of the ballerinas who has a gentleman protector and Odile, who is a cancan dancer, is jealous because she can only catch the absinthe addicts.

Oh dear, I have been so sad that after spending 9 months in Philly I am going home exactly when this Swan Lake is premiering. I hope I remain sad about it after reading everyone's reviews. :wink:

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Have you seen the Kirov's version of Eugene Onegin--the opera, not the ballet? They set the ball scene in the snow, and believe me it wasn't pretty! A little hard to believe Titania and Onegin chatting in ball room clothes while standing in the middle of a Russian winter. But it saved money on the sets.

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I was just checking out the PABallet website and noticed that they have some interesting "fun facts" on Swan Lake. What a clever idea, kudos to whoever come up with the idea. Also, they commented that due to the overwhelming response in ticket sales, they have added an additional performance. So if you were thinking about seeing this ballet and do not have tickets already, you may want to call today.

Lastly, I noticed that PABallet never posted the profiles on their apprentices that were hired for the 2003/2004 season. Does anyone have any idea why, or when they will be posted?

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Very excited about this new SL....especially Acts I and III which seem to be of new invention.

We will be seeing the last weekend's performances. Saturday evening of June 12 will be Dede Barfield's final performance with PABallet. She is retiring at the end of this season. We love her and wouldn't miss this special night. :)

As far as the PAB roster listings, I would think that they would not be updating this until next Fall. :shrug:

Anyone else going to see this new SL?

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I saw the premiere and I'm exhausted from the travel, but I had to write to say that the production is wonderful and fits the company perfectly. The ballet shows all Wheeldon's trademark construction, cleverness and humor, but the heart of the work belongs to Pennsylvania Ballet's dancers.

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I am so glad to hear this....from the inside, I know these dancers dedicated themselves body and soul to this ballet......they are a spirited group and work diligently as a whole.

Can't wait to hear more about it, especially your thoughts about the change of time and place and how Chris created the studio/real life into the story ballet and back again.....I also heard that the costumes were wonderful...

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I just returned from the Sunday matinee. Pennsylvania Ballet's Swan Lake was absolutely AMAZING! :clapping: Prior to attending, I had some doubts about whether or not I would like it. I had heard it was very different and truely unique. I had not anticipated how much I would fall in love with Christopher Wheeldon's staging of Swan Lake. It was easy to follow and not too "modern." The creativity involved in staging and choreographing such a phenomenal production was just astonishing. It was certainly Pennsylvania Ballet at its finest.

Christopher Wheeldon's production of Swan Lake was ingenius in that it was portrayed as if a company were rehearsing and preparing to debut Swan Lake. At the opening of the ballet, you see dancers preparing for Swan Lake rehearsal by tying their hair up and changing into rehearsal clothes. The whole ballet involves a company preparing the production of Swan Lake and how a dancer gets "lost" in his imagination and rehearsing of the ballet. (Sorry if that doesn't make a lot of sense :innocent: ) It was a very unique perspective that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I had the opportunity to see Riolama Lorenzo as Odette/Odile and Zachary Hench as the prince. Riolama Lorenzo is AMAZING! She is so beautiful and captivating to watch. She is a dancer that can simply walk across the stage and you cannot tear your eyes away. I really enjoyed her portrayal of Odile, especially in her variation. Her renverses were so beatifully suspended. In Odette's variation in the beginning of the ballet, Riolama Lorenzo executed beautiful pique attitude turns that were suspended and sustained. Her portrayal throughout the ballet was breathtaking. Zachary Hench was also very impressive. He had impeccable technique and was very convincing.

The corps de ballet choreography was very intricate and challenging, but the dancers executed it beautifully. The corps de ballet was very interesting to watch as were their formations. The dancers moved and breathed as one. It was a very spectacular thing to see.

I was also very impressed with the cygnets. It was very interesting and unique how the dancers increased in height slightly from left to right instead of the traditional cygnet dancers of all the same height. The cygnets were so together from start to finish of their challenging quartet. I felt as if I was watching one body move instead of four. Every movement and breath were executed in the exact same way by each cygnet. Their dance retained the traditional choreography.

In the third act of the ballet, there was a break from the traditional Swan Lake which I thoroughly enjoyed. The can-can dancers and the other additions were comical and a pleasure to watch. I found it to be more interesting than the traditional Swan Lake. The third act was portrayed as if it were a gala for a ballet company. The fourth act remained mostly traditional. At the end, the audience sees the dancers back in rehearsal for Swan Lake. Its very fascinating how it was choreographed and blended together.

Also very impressive about the production was the scenery, lighting, and costumes. It was very elaborate but certainly not over the top. The costumes were more contemporary, but they were beautiful on stage and under the light. The whole producting was just breathtaking and a must-see. It was so captivating and enthralling.

The show I attended was completely sold out (even family circle seating). A random sidenote :offtopic: -Angel Corella was sitting in the row behind me! It was so exciting I could barely sit still. Ballet fanatics from all over the country and abroad came to see this marvelous production.

At the end of the ballet, everyone in the audience who was able was standing and applauding. The dancers received a well-deserved standing ovation. Pennsylvania Ballet's Swan Lake should not be missed! :flowers: :grinning: :bouncing: :party: :thumbsup:

*Sorry for the length...I could go on forever about PB's Swan Lake...It was breathtaking to say the least...I hope all that attend have as amazing of a time as I had*

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Well, with the reviews out, there's no need to go into the change of venue to Paris in the late 19th century. I think the switch is very ingenious, although with so little mime (we do get the queen's talk with Siegfried and Odette's Mother's tears etc.) to flesh out why the cavalier should empathize so much with Siegfried's plight that he should decend into the dream-world Swan Lake. However, if one suspends disbelief, it's very interesting. Another complaint of keeping the traditional White Swan act, but pulling apart the structure - Odette's solo comes before the pas de deux.

However, I think this is the perfect Swan Lake for this company. The designs and choreography perfectly suit the home stage and size of the company. If there any influences on Wheeldon's choreography, I see a little Ashton is the pas de trois and pas de quatre and a little Balanchine in the nightclub scene and Swan corps choreography. The nightclub section reminds of the creepy gathering in La Sonnambula with its strange, seedy divertisments. Everything is wonderfully inventive. If anything, the can-can girls could have done even more. The Russian dance was a stripper, whose Russian costume came peeling off in the hands of the male Patrons. The costumes throughout were gorgeous, especially the Black Swan tutu - black velvet with a silvery shine cut in a sort of upside down flower shape, very much like the Mariinsky's Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadere tutus.

The last act swan section reminded me a bit of the corps in La Valse or Cottillion. They hide Odette in the circle and then slowly peel away and run around here as they do at the end of those two Balanchine ballets. There are only 18 swans but Wheeldon puts them in such interesting configurations.

I found all the performances strong, especially Lorenzo, who was so beautiful. She was a proud, abstractly cool Odette and a womanly, seductive Odile.

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