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Brief Fling: Nov 4-5, Nov 10-13

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Featuring works by


November 4 – 13, 2016
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center
Seattle, WA 98109

Seven performances only!
November 4 – 5 at 7:30 pm
November 5 at 2:00 pm
November 10 – 12 at 7:30 pm
November 13 at 1:00 pm

SEATTLE, WA – For BRIEF FLING, the second program of its 44th season, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s artistic director Peter Boal selects three contemporary ballet works: Twyla Tharp’s sassy, Scottish-inspired Brief Fling, performed for the first time to live music; Jiri Kylian’s Forgotten Land, inspired by the art of Edvard Munch; and Stravinsky Violin Concerto, George Balanchine’s unmatched visualization of his favorite collaborator’s genius.
BRIEF FLING runs for seven performances only, November 4 through 13 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30. For tickets and more information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org.
These performances will mark the first time Twyla Tharp’s Brief Fling will be performed with live orchestra accompaniment: When the ballet premiered in February 1990, it was performed to a then-state-of-the-art recording. It had been Tharp’s wish to have something that could be performed anywhere at any time, so that is how Brief Fling has been presented over the past 26 years. When she was in Seattle for PNB’s AIR TWYLA performances in 2013, Tharp and PNB Music Director and Principal Conductor Emil de Cou commiserated over the fact that the sound quality of the recording had degraded over time, and she expressed her desire to have it performed by the PNB Orchestra. Following a run of roadblocks and an internet search, de Cou eventually tracked down the widow of composer Michel Colombier, who had stored her husband’s legacy in a series of boxes and envelopes, many of them unmarked. Miraculously, Ms. Colombier managed to locate the Brief Fling manuscript, beautifully hand-engraved on fragile onionskin paper, containing all of the original parts that had only been performed once for the recording back in 1989.
“It will be an honor to be the second conductor to direct this music and the first to perform it before the public,” said Maestro de Cou. “I know Twyla will be thrilled as well to know that this music that she lovingly choreographed in 1989 will get the hearing that it deserves. I am also so fortunate to have met and befriended Dana Colombier who lost her beloved husband at much too early an age. Dana and her daughters will be with us for these performances and I look forward to introducing them to our PNB family of musicians, dancers, and staff. Without her tireless efforts and generosity we would be looking at trying to clean up a degrading reel-to-reel tape. Now we can all look forward to Brief Fling being performed the way it was meant to be, with great impact, energy, color, and life. And best of all with Michel Colombier’s stunning score performed with the full forces of the PNB Orchestra for the first time.”
The line-up for BRIEF FLING will include:
Brief Fling
Music: Michel Colombier & Percey Grainger (Country Gardens, 1918; Handel in the Strand, 1912)
Choreography: Twyla Tharp
Staging: Matthew Dibble
Original Costume Design: Isaac Mizrahi
Original Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton      

Running Time: 28 minutes
Premiere: February 28, 1990; American Ballet Theatre (San Francisco, California)
PNB Premiere: September 27, 2013
Brief Fling was Mikhail Baryshnikov’s last commission from Twyla Tharp during his tenure as artistic director of American Ballet Theatre. The title references both the traditional Scottish dance and a short-lived romance. Isaac Mizrahi’s tartan costumes divide the dancers into clans of blue, red, green, and off-white. In the opening section, two soloist couples in red and a quartet in green punch out syncopated phrases to a military tattoo. The principal couple, clad in blue, performs an extended set of variations to an English folk song backed by the ensemble dancers dressed in off-white. The finale features each clan in succession, compounding into a furioso fugue. The score by Michel Colombier intersperses Percy Grainger’s sunny interpretations of traditional melodies from the United Kingdom with an ominous electronic score. These performances mark the first time Brief Fling has been presented with live musical accompaniment. [Notes courtesy of Twyla Tharp Productions. Used by permission.]
Forgotten Land
Music: Benjamin Britten (Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20, 1939)
Choreography: Jiri Kylian
Staging: Roslyn Anderson
Scenic and Costume Design: Jiri Kylian
Lighting Design: Joop Caboort
Lighting Re-Design: Kees Tjebbes

Running Time: 26 minutes
Premiere: April 12, 1981; Stuttgart Ballet
PNB Premiere: November 8, 2013
Jiri Kylian, in comparison to composer Benjamin Britten, sees Sinfonia da Requiem as a work of more personal character than a political one—for it is always people who determine the political scene. It is always people and nature who turn the wheel of evolution a little further.
East Anglia, a coastline of England slowly submerging under the sea, is the birthplace of Benjamin Britten. The image of land taken over by the sea—together with a painting by Edvard Munch—became the primary inspiration for Kylian’s choreography of Forgotten Land: land—the basis and centre of human existence—is in itself always subject to the eternal metamorphosis and mutation; land, from ancient times bearing the imprints of generations; lands within the memories of human beings, that had to be forgotten because of political struggle; lands destroyed by nature or human negligence; wishful lands that have only emerged in our dreams; lands of promise and illusion. [Notes courtesy of the Kylian Foundation. Used by permission.]
Stravinsky Violin Concerto
Music: Igor Stravinsky (Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra, 1931)
Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Staging: Paul Boos and Colleen Neary
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Running Time: 25 minutes
Premiere: June 18, 1972; New York City Ballet (Stravinsky Festival)
PNB Premiere: March 5, 1986
The premiere of Stravinsky Violin Concerto was one of the glorious highlights of the Stravinsky Festival that George Balanchine hosted at the New York State Theater in June 1972. Accounts of that time in Balanchine’s life all testify to the enormous creative energy he brought to the task of celebrating the life and work of his old friend and longtime collaborator, who had died the year before. Although Balanchine many years earlier had choreographed a ballet, Balustrade, to the Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra that Stravinsky had composed in 1931, for the 1972 festival he approached the still-tantalizing score with absolute freshness and produced an entirely new work which immediately took its place among his masterpieces. Lincoln Kirstein called it a “blockbuster” and even Balanchine acknowledged uncharacteristically that it was “well done.”
In the tradition of spare, dislocated classicism that Balanchine had begun with The Four Temperaments (to a score by Hindemith) in 1946 and developed in total collaboration with Stravinsky in Agon a decade later, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, according to writer Nancy Goldner, was “the most visual music composition Balanchine…ever choreographed. …[T]o do it he had to discombobulate bodies and manipulate the ensemble to a degree he [had] never attempted before.” But, for all its density, for many viewers Stravinsky Violin Concerto is a more accessible work than Agon, with its sportive, almost rambunctious, opening Toccata movement, its joyous evocation of tribal ritual in the concluding Capriccio, and its central pair of contrasting Arias where Balanchine makes stunningly clear that so-called “abstract” movement can tell deep truths about the male/female relationship.
The ballet is also a great favorite of dancers (in PNB Founding Artistic Director Francia Russell’s words, “one of the Balanchine works they would kill to be in!”). As well as being a tremendous intellectual and physical challenge, it is fun to dance and, in the final movement, generates an unusually powerful sense of communal identity. [Notes by Jeanie Thomas; edited by Doug Fullington.]

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Friday, October 28, 5:00 pm
The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer St., Seattle

PNB’s popular Friday Previews are hour-long studio rehearsals hosted by Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB artistic staff, featuring Company dancers rehearsing excerpts from upcoming ballets. Tickets are $15. (Note: These events usually sell out in advance.)  Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.

Thursday, November 3
Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall

Join Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington in conversation with Forgotten Land stager Roslyn Anderson during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal, discussing the creative process involved in the development and staging of a ballet. Attend the lecture only or stay for the rehearsal. Tickets are $15 for the lecture, or $30 for the lecture and dress rehearsal, available through the PNB Box Office.

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall


Join Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall


Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.

Friday, November 11


Join members of PNB’s Young Patrons Circle (YPC) in an exclusive lounge for complimentary wine and coffee before the show and at intermission. YPC is PNB’s social and educational group for ballet patrons ages 21 through 39. YPC members save up to 40% off their tickets. For more information, visit PNB.org/YPC.

BOOK SIGNING: Out There – Jonathan Porretta’s Life in Dance
Sunday, November 13, 3:15 pm
Amusements Gift Shop at McCaw Hall


Join award-winning arts journalist Marcie Sillman and PNB principal dancer Jonathan Porretta for a book-signing of Out There: Jonathan Porretta’s Life in Dance. The book’s message – “Be yourself and people will love you for who you are” – comes through clearly in Sillman’s crisp, engaging prose accentuated with exquisite dance photography by Angela Sterling. (Tickets to BRIEF FLING are not required to attend the book-signing.)

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Casting is up -- please note:  on the website it's in a section above the program notes.  For the first program, it was at the bottom, if I remember correctly.  As always, it's subject to change.




There are two casts for each ballet, but one cast is dancing Friday and Saturday night for "Brief Fling" and "Stravinsky Violin Concerto," and Friday night and Saturday afternoon for "Stravinsky Violin Concerto."  If casting holds, and you want to see both casts first weekend for all three, the Saturday doubleheader is how.


There are a mixture of debuts and repeats in each cast of "Brief Fling." Sascha "Charlie-he's-so-sweet-how-could-she-prefer-Cooper?" Radetsky guested when it premiered at PNB.  Now it's Seth Orza's turn, with Elizabeth Murphy.  And Lesley Rausch (Blue couple) and Carli Samuelson are back (as one of the Red couples)!


In "Forgotten Land," the Friday night/Saturday matinee cast has danced before; on Saturday night, five of the twelve dancers make their debuts.


In "Stravinsky Violin Concerto," the Friday/Saturday night leads -- Rausch/Tisserand and Pantastico/Orza -- reprise their roles, while Tisserand/Bold and Foster/Moore debut at the Saturday matinee.  Bold is back! (Also in "Forgotten Land" on Saturday night.)


Here's the link to download the spreadsheet:

Brief Fling Week 1 10-26.xlsx



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Casting is up for second weekend, as always, subject to change.


First, the changes from first weekend:

  • In "Forgotten Land," Generosa (debut) replaces Mullin in the Red Couple, and Macy replaces Generosa in the Pink Couple, and this casting continues for second weekend Saturday and Sunday.


In second weekend there are the following debuts:

  • In "Forgotten Land," Ricard Orza debuts in the White Couple, partnered by Lin-Yee.  They perform Thursday and Friday nights. The rest of the casts is the same as first weekend Saturday.
  • In "Stravinsky Violin Concerto," there is a third Principal Cast on Saturday night and Sunday matinee:  
    • Aria I:  Ricard Orza/Grant
    • Aria II:  Murphy/Lin-Yee

Here's the link to download the spreadsheet:

Brief Fling Weeks 1 & 2 10-31.xlsx

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