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New York City Ballet in Montreal, vols. 1-5

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This is great. It was rumored for a year. I'm glad they finally made it happen. I've seen bits of the Orpheus in the Balanchine bio video and the full video at the NYPL, but I've never seen a Serenade from that era.

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Volume 2 is now listed as a "related item" at the bottom of the product description on the VAI site and has an April 21 ship date:


Choreography by George Balanchine
Music by J.S. Bach (Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043)
Principal Dancers: Diana Adams, Tanaquil Le Clercq, Jacques d’Amboise
Corps de ballet: Ann Crowell, Constance Garfield, Carolyn George, Irene Larsson, Patricia Savoia, and Barbara Walczak
Orchestre de Radio-Canada; Solo violinists: Henryk Szeryng, Noël Brunet
Arthur Davison, conductor

(Telecast of January 19, 1956) PAS DE DIX
Choreography by George Balanchine, after Petipa’s Raymonda
Music by Alexander Glazunov
Principal Dancers: Maria Tallchief, André Eglevsky
Soloists: Barbara Fallis, Barbara Milberg, Ruth Sobotka, Barbara Walczak, Shaun O’Brien, Richard Rapp, Roland Vazquez, Jonathan Watts
Orchestre de Radio-Canada
Jean Deslauriers, conductor

(Telecast of November 5, 1957) AGON (introduced by Balanchine)
Choreography by George Balanchine
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Diana Adams, Violette Verdy, Jillana, Francia Russell, Todd Bolender, Arthur Mitchell, Richard Rapp, Roy Tobias, Susan Borree, Carole Fields, and Marlene Mesavage
Orchestre de Radio-Canada
Robert Irving, conductor

(Telecast of March 10, 1960) Grand pas de deux from THE NUTCRACKER
Choreography by George Balanchine
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Am about to pass out from joy.

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Edit 20140730: Corrected #7, added color source annotation to 3, 4 & 8 (they were from the same L'heure du concert program). Added new category at bottom to "released from VAI but not on my original list"

Edit 20140829: Added items from Vol 4.

Edit 20141113: Added Bugaku for Vol 5 speculation


A partial list of NYCB performances on CBC/Radio Canada, primarily Balanchine choreography. Compiled from the NYPL Dance Research Collection, from memory and from scraps of gossip.

Previously Unreleased

(Except where listed, all films are B&W)

1. [Vol 4] Four Temperaments: Carol Sumner, William Weslow, Marnee Morris, Earle Sieveling, Suki Schorer and Ramon Segarra (Theme); Richard Rapp with Kay Mazzo and Bettijane Sills (Phlegmatic); Patricia Wilde and Anthony Blum (Sanguinic); Arthur Mitchell (Melancholic); Patricia Neary (Choleric)

2. [Vol 4] Ivesiana: Sara Leland and Francisco Moncion (Central Park after dark); Patricia Neary and Arthur Mitchell (At the inn); ensemble (In the night)

3. Concerto Barocco: Farrell/Morris/Ludlow (NYPL B&W, color original)

4. Apollo: Morris/von Aroldingen/Farrell/Martins (NYPL B&W, color original)

5. Liebeslieder Walzer: Singers: Claire Grenon-Masella, Marcelle Monette, René Lacourse and Claude Letourneau. Dancers: Diana Adams and Bill Carter, Jillana and Conrad Ludlow, Patricia McBride and Jonathan Watts, Violette Verdy and Nicholas Magallanes.

6. Stravinsky at 80 program: (ballet and relevant excerpts listed)

  • Agon pdd: Patricia McBride and Arthur Mitchell
  • Speech by George Balanchine / discussion of the relationship of music and dance ; introduction to the following excerpts from Apollo (Apollon musagète).
  • Apollo's variation, pas de deux of Apollo and Terpsichore: Jacques d'Amboise and Melissa Hayden
  • Symphonie de psaumes (Symphony of psalms): Patricia McBride and Arthur Mitchell
  • Speech by George Balanchine / discussion of the relationship of music and dance ; introduction to the following excerpts from Apollo (Apollon musagète)

7. Festival, Romance in Music

  • Pas de deux: Melissa Hayden and Edward Villella (music by Tchaikovsky, no further information given on contents)

8. Glinkaiana, Divertimento brillante: Patricia McBride and Edward Villella. (NYPL B&W, color original)

9. Le New York City Ballet: Une école, un style, une compagnie, un repertoire (color)

  • Tarantella. Patricia McBride and John Clifford.
  • Movements for piano and orchestra: Kay Mazzo and Anthony Blum.
  • Who cares? Patricia McBride, Marnee Morris, Karin von Aroldingen, Jean Pierre Bonnefous

10. Chaconne, 1977 (Color): Suzanne Farrell, Peter Martins, Renée Estopinal, Elise Flagg, Wilhelmina Frankfurt, Heather Watts, Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Jay Jolley, and members of the New York City Ballet.

11. [Vol 2] Concerto Barocco, 1956: Le Clercq/Adams/d'Amboise (w only 6 corp dancers)

12. [Vol 2] Agon, 1960: Jillana/Russell/Bolender (1st pdt), Verdy/Rapp/Tobias (2nd pdt), Adams/Mitchell (pdd)

13. [Vol 1] Serenade: Adams/Wilde/Mounsey/d'Amboise

14. [Vol 2] Nutcracker pdd, 1957: Adams/Magallanes

15. [Vol 3] Coppélia pas de deux: Le Clercq/Eglevsky

16. [Vol 1] Orpheus: Magallanes/Verdy/Moncion

17. [Vol 5?] Bugaku: McBride/Bonnefous (color)

Stuff previously released:

1. Still Point pdd: d'Amboise/Hayden (color)

2. [Vol 4] Afternoon of a Faun: d'Amboise/Le Clercq

3. Les Sylphides pdd: Tallchief/Fernandez

4. Scenes from Act II of Swan Lake: Tallchief/Eglevsky

5. [Vol 2] Pas de dix: Tallchief/Eglevsky

6. Apollo: Jillana/Russell/Adams/d'Amboise

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Thank you for the heads up -- I'd been stalking the site to no avail.

Edited to add: the price is currently $24.47/disk, compared to $34.95 list.

I decided I was going to buy direct so VAI gets the full price and continues to release these types of DVDs.

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Plus, VAI is quoting earlier dates than Amazon. Normally, I'd loyally support the board through the order box on this page, but this time - my order's in direct to VAI.

I've seen some of these over the years - not only are the performances superb, authentic examples of Balanchine's art, but they are well shot.

Yeah, Volume Three! Go, VAI, go!

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Just like to say, three cheers for the CBC/Radio Canada and the Canadian taxpayers that support it. A perfect example of the value of public broadcasting. Unfortunately our current government keeps hacking away at the CBC so it is a shadow of its former self and nowadays wouldn't be able to do any of this stuff they did back between the 60s and 90s.

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Long, long past, alas. When Radio-Canada axed 'Les Beaux Dimanches' I did not despair initially because it coincided with the launch of the dedicated Artv network. Unfortunately, Artv took the predictable route of other "arts" networks in record time. The debasement of the CBC's performing arts unit, if you could even call it that, its eventual closure and the reformatting of the radio division in a vain search for a "new" audience means that American public broadcasting is in better shape these days, which isn't saying much, of course.

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Unfortunately, Artv took the predictable route of other "arts" networks in record time.

Ah, the wonders of the A&E network, and Bravo television. Every so often, when I re-watch the old Brideshead Revisited, I'm reminded that it was originally an A&E production. From Evelyn Waugh to Duck Dynasty!

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I should not dwell on a topic that depresses all of us.

Some time ago I remember there was news of PBS planning to release, at least for online use, some of its older arts programs. I can't find the information on the board, though I'm sure I read it here, so I don't recall whether this concerned "Live from Lincoln Center" or "Great Performances." Has there been any news on this front? Since VAI has been successful in negotiating the rights issues for these Balanchine broadcasts, I hope it would be possible for PBS to do the same.

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I hope it would be possible for PBS to do the same.

My guess is that copyright negotiations for live performances are different than television performances, if only because there are more parties involved. In addition to the performers, PBS would also have to negotiate with the musicians' union, the stage crews' union, et cetera ad infinitum, as opposed to studio personnel (musicians, etc) who are presumably already covered under a Radio Canada employment contract.

Second, given that most of these performances are fairly old, they may not have had syndication or home video riders built in to the contract. Fewer financial terms to arrange here: you've got to negotiate with the Balanchine trust, presumably the dancers, and then it's just archival work.

Last, and probably the most depressing part: fewer of the original dancers are alive to refuse permission. The 1978 Balanchine performances on PBS originally included Allegro Brilliante (Farrell/Martins) and Rubies pdd (McBride/Weiss). I believe they were not on the home video releases because some of the dancers declined to have those performances included.

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