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ABT 2017 Spring Season at The Met

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            American Ballet Theatre’s 2017 Spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, May 15-July 8, will feature the New York Premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Whipped Cream and the Company Premiere of Ratmansky’s Souvenir d’un lieu cher, it was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. 

            Guest Artist Alessandra Ferri will perform the role of Tatiana in Onegin on Wednesday evening, June 21 and Saturday evening, June 24.  Principal Dancer Diana Vishneva will give her American Ballet Theatre farewell performance in the same role on Friday evening, June 23.

            Principal Dancers for the 2017 Metropolitan Opera House season include Stella Abrera, Roberto Bolle, Isabella Boylston, Jeffrey Cirio, Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, Maria Kochetkova, Alban Lendorf, Gillian Murphy, Veronika Part, Hee Seo, Daniil Simkin, Cory Stearns, Diana Vishneva and James Whiteside.


2017 Spring Gala Performance and New York Premiere

            American Ballet Theatre’s 2017 Spring Gala on Monday, May 22 at 6:30 P.M. will feature the New York Premiere of Whipped Cream, choreographed by ABT Artist in

Residence Alexei Ratmansky, with scenery and costumes by artist Mark Ryden and lighting by Brad Fields. Whipped Cream, with a libretto and score by Richard Strauss, is based on the two-act ballet originally created as Schlagobers, which premiered at the Vienna State Opera in 1924.  Ratmansky’s production will receive its World Premiere by ABT on March 15, 2017 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California.  Whipped Cream will be given twelve performances at the Metropolitan Opera House May 22-24 and June 26-July 1.  For more information on ABT’s 2017 Spring Gala, please call the Special Events Office at 212-477-3030, ext. 3310. 


Company Premiere and Tchaikovsky Spectacular

            The Company Premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Souvenir d’un leiu cher will be part of a Tchaikovsky Spectacular program beginning Monday evening, July 3.  Souvenir d’un leiu cher is set to music of the same name by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, orchestrated by Alexander Glazunov. Featuring sets and costumes by Keso Dekker with lighting by James F. Ingalls, the ballet for four dancers received its World Premiere by Het National Ballet on February 16, 2012 in Amsterdam.  Souvenir d’un lieu cher will be presented on alternating programs with George Balanchine’s Mozartiana and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Marcelo Gomes’AfterEffect and Ratmansky's Nutcracker Pas de Deux and Aurora’s Wedding.  Aurora's Wedding, Act III of Ratmansky’s staging of The Sleeping Beauty with choreography by Marius Petipa, will the omit the Hop 'o my Thumb and Cinderella dances and add The Porcelain Trio and Three Ivans, divertissements originally choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska.  Set to music from The Nutcracker, both divertissements were created for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes staging of The Sleeping Princess in 1921.  Three Ivans was first presented by Ballet Theatre as part of Princess Aurora (a suite of divertissements from The Sleeping Beauty) in 1941.  Performances of the Tchaikovsky Spectacular run through July 8.


Full-Length Ballets

American Ballet Theatre’s 2017 Spring season will include an additional five full-length ballets beginning with Don Quixote which opens the Met season on Monday evening, May 15 with Gillian Murphy as Kitri, Cory Stearns as Basilio, Hee Seo as Mercedes and

James Whiteside as Espada.  Staged by Kevin McKenzie and Susan Jones, with choreography after Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky, Don Quixote is set to music by Ludwig Minkus and features scenery and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Natasha Katz.  The McKenzie/Jones staging of the current production was first performed by ABT on June 12, 1995.  Don Quixote will be given eight performances through Saturday evening, May 20. 

            The season’s performances of Giselle begins Thursday evening, May 25 led by Hee Seo in the title role, opposite Cory Stearns as Albrecht and Veronika Part as Myrta.  Set to music by Adolphe Adam, with scenery by Gianni Quaranta, costumes by Anna Anni and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Giselle features choreography after Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa and has been staged for ABT by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.  The world premiere of Giselle, one of the oldest continually‑performed ballets, occurred at the Theatre de l’Academie Royale de Musique in Paris on June 28, 1841.  The ballet was first presented by ABT (then Ballet Theatre) at the Center Theatre in New York City on January 12, 1940 with choreography by Anton Dolin and scenery and costumes by Lucinda Ballard.  The leading roles were danced by Annabelle Lyon and Anton Dolin.  American Ballet Theatre’s sixth production, featuring scenery by Gianni Quaranta and costumes by Anna Anni, was created for the film Dancers, produced in 1987 by Cannon Films.  This production’s first public performance was given on March 20, 1987 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, with Marianna Tcherkassky as Giselle and Kevin McKenzie as Albrecht.  The current staging is by McKenzie, using the Quaranta and Anni designs. Giselle will receive eight performances through May 31.  ABT will celebrate the 20th Anniversary year of Principal Dancer Marcelo Gomes during his performance in the leading role of Albrecht on Tuesday evening, May 30.

            Alexei Ratmansky’s The Golden Cockerel will be given four performances beginning Thursday evening, June 1 with Stella Abrera (Queen of Shemakhan) and Cassandra Trenary (the Golden Cockerel), Alexei Agoudine (Tsar Dodon) and James Whiteside (Astrologer) leading the first cast.  Set to music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov with sets and costumes by Richard Hudson, Ratmansky’s The Golden Cockerel is

inspired by Michel Fokine’s original production. Anne Holm-Jensen Peyk will stage the

ballet for ABT. 

            The season’s first performance of Le Corsaire on Monday, June 5 features Maria Kochetkova, Herman Cornejo, Sarah Lane, Daniil Simkin and Jeffrey Cirio in the leading roles.  Based on the Lord Byron poem “The Corsair” (1814), the ballet features choreography by Konstantin Sergeyev after Marius Petipa, and staging by Anna-Marie Holmes after Petipa and Sergeyev, with music by Adolphe Adam, Cesare Pugni, Léo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo and Prince Oldenbourg.  Scenery and costumes are by Irina Tibilova, with additional costume designs by Robert Perdziola and lighting by Mary Jo Dondlinger.  Le Corsaire received its Company Premiere by American Ballet Theatre on June 19, 1998 with Nina Ananiashvili (Medora), Ashley Tutttle (Gulnare), Giuseppe Picone (Conrad), Angel Corella (Birbanto), Jose Manuel Carréno (Ali, the slave) and Vladimir Malakhov (Lankendem).  Le Corsaire will be given eight performances through June 10. 

               Eight performances of Swan Lake, choreographed by Kevin McKenzie after Marius Petipa, will be given beginning Monday, June 12 with Isabella Boylston and Alban Lendorf leading the opening night cast.  Swan Lake is set to the score by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky and features scenery and costumes by Zack Brown and lighting by Duane Schuler.  This production of Swan Lake premiered on March 24, 2000 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. with Julie Kent (Odette-Odile), Angel Corella (Prince Siegfried) and Marcelo Gomes (von Rothbart).

 John Cranko’s Onegin will be given eight performances during the Company’s Spring season beginning on Monday, June 19 with Diana Vishneva as Tatiana and Marcelo Gomes as Eugene Onegin.  Set to music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, arranged and orchestrated by Kurt-Heinz Stolze, Onegin is based on the verse-novel Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin. Onegin received its World Premiere on April 13, 1965 by the Stuttgart Ballet in Stuttgart, Germany.  The ballet received its Company Premiere by American Ballet Theatre on June 1, 2001 at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York

with Julie Kent (Tatiana), Robert Hill (Onegin), Vladimir Malakhov (Lensky) and Maria

Riccetto (Olga).  This new production, with sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by James F. Ingalls, was premiered by the National Ballet of Canada on

June 19, 2010 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, Canada and was first performed by ABT on June 4, 2012 at the Metropolitan Opera House.  Le Corsaire is staged for ABT by Reid Anderson and Jane Bourne.



            ABTKids, American Ballet Theatre’s annual one-hour introduction to ballet, is scheduled for Saturday morning, May 20 at 11:30 A.M.  All tickets for ABTKids are $25.


            Subscriptions for American Ballet Theatre’s 2017 Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House, on sale beginning Wednesday, October 26, are available by phone at 212-362-6000, or online at ABT’s website www.abt.org.


Follow American Ballet Theatre on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ABTBallet

on Facebook at http://facebook.com/AmericanBalletTheatre

or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/ABTBalletTheatre


American Airlines is the Official Airline of American Ballet Theatre. 
Northern Trust is the Leading Corporate Sponsor of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. 
ABT is supported, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.


Leadership support for Whipped Cream and The Golden Cockerel has been provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.  Additional support has been provided by Linda Allard, Avery and Andrew F. Barth, The Susan and Leonard Feinstein Foundation, Brian J. Heidtke, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Ted and Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, The H. Russell Smith Foundation, and Stewart R. Smith and Robin A. Ferracone.  Whipped Cream and The Golden Cockerel are generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.


AfterEffect has been generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.


American Ballet Theatre's performances of Le Corsaire are generously underwritten through an endowed gift from Irene and Fred Shen. 


Don Quixote is generously supported through an endowed gift from Anka K. Palitz, in memory of Clarence Y. Palitz, Jr.


American Ballet Theatre’s performances of Giselle are generously supported through an endowed gift from Sharon Patrick.


David H. Koch is the Lead Underwriter of American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker.


American Ballet Theatre’s performances of Onegin are generously supported through an endowed gift from Ruth and Harold Newman.


ABT gratefully acknowledges Lead Sponsor of The Sleeping Beauty, David H. Koch. Additional leadership support is generously provided by the Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.


Swan Lake has been generously underwritten by R. Chemers Neustein.  Costumes for Swan Lake are generously sponsored by the Ellen Everett Kimiatek Costume Preservation Trust.






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There is still hope, because one SL is TBA TBA.  (Edit:  The thumbnail calendar listed the Sat eve SL performance as all TBA, but the ABT calendar indicates it will be Copeland and Cornejo.  Thus, there are no open O/O slots.)


Notice that Murphy is also FINALLY getting a Giselle.  Many interesting debuts.


They are surely placing a lot of hope in Whipped Cream, because there are so many  performances of it. I hope it does not backfire.

Edited by abatt
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Abatt, I totally glossed over the fact that Murphy is getting a Giselle!  I am going to be seeing a lot of Giselle that week.  That's 3 performances I definitely want to check out.


I was hoping for a Trenary debut.  She isn't getting any new debuts in the spring, but at least Shevchenko and Teuscher have some.  I also want to check out the Ferri/Bolle Onegin, as I've never seen Ferri live in person (only via YouTube videos).

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One last thing I am excited about.  I finally get to see a Part Swan Lake.  Saturday matinees are the easiest time slot for me to make the trip into NYC, so I'm happy I get to see her in this role.  I hope she gets a good partner.

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Interesting in many ways. Thrilled for Stella (Tatiana) and Sarah (Giselle).


If they can get the Whipped Cream casting up for May it would be great if they could get the two-months-earlier March premiere casting up!

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Excited about several things and disappointed about others.  Sarah Lane has a Giselle, is first cast in Whipped Cream and has some other opportunities.  For the first time I feel that if she has a great season she could possibly be promoted.  The ball may be in her court!   I'm also pleased to see a Shevchenko get a Don Q and Teuscher a Swan Lake. 


Not happy that The Golden Cockerel is coming back.  Also not thrilled with the Mozartiana casting.  Neither Part or Seo seem right for a Balanchine ballet that requires speed and a special kind of wit.  Boylston/Gorak seem a miss match for Tschai pas and I don't think Bolyston is right for it.  


We'll see, right?  That's the fun of it.  In the meantime, I'm going to see ABT this weekend.  Looking forward to it.

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I also was baffled by the Mozartiana casting, but yes, we'll see. (Well, I probably won't see as I doubt I will get to NY for the Tchaikovsky program. Whipped Cream and/or Giselle are the likeliest possibilities for me.)

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Very excited about Abrera, Gomes, Murphy casting on Giselle. I'm also happy for Shevchenko, Teuscher and Lane for their debuts! It's a little surprising to see Brandt not being casted for Kitri though...

I think those tba slots are reserved for Hallberg but who knows...

Edited by alexL
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I don't know the earliest example, but in her autobiography Fonteyn mentions performing a Nut in Oxford in June sometime in the 1930s (when she first met Roberto Arias).  It didn't really become a holiday staple until the Balanchine staging in the 1950s.


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In Frank Augustyn's Footnotes television series, I remember Ivan Nagy talking about how he had grown to hate The Nutcracker as a young dancer, because in Hungary it was the standard matinee offering year-round. If it was Saturday afternoon, it was The Nutcracker, he said rolling his eyes. In Russia the ballet has always been performed year-round. Only the Bolshoi in recent years has turned it into an exclusively New Year/Christmas tradition. John Neumeier tried to divorce the ballet from its seasonal attachment by re-setting the story at Marie's birthday party. (His version premiered in October.) But ironically, today his company performs the ballet only at Christmas, and every Christmas. It runs together with his Christmas Oratorio, which serves as a more explicitly Christmas ballet.

Edited by volcanohunter
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I went to a Nutcracker in April or May in Vienna a few years ago. Also, Berlin State Ballet has just premiered Nacho Duato's Nutcracker, mid-October. In Europe, Nutcracker's stranglehold on Christmas is much newer than in North America.

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I wish they'd perform the Waltz of the Snowflakes instead. For me, that's the real takeaway masterpiece from the Ratmansky Nutcracker, and I miss seeing it every year. I understand, of course, why it wouldn't make sense for a mixed program, though.


It looks like they've really put the brakes on Hammoudi and Gorak, unless they get cast in some TBA slots. I'm particularly sad about the latter. I guess Cirio has taken up the roles that might have gone to Gorak. 


It will be interesting to see if there will still be the "Copeland effect" on ticket sales now that she's been cast in so many performances. It's hard to think of a dancer at ABT more ill-suited for Giselle.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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49 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I wish they'd perform the Waltz of the Snowflakes instead. For me, that's the real takeaway masterpiece from the Ratmansky Nutcracker, and I miss seeing it every year. I understand, of course, why it wouldn't make sense for a mixed program, though.


It looks like they've really put the brakes on Hammoudi and Gorak, unless they get cast in some TBA slots. I'm particularly sad about the latter. I guess Cirio has taken up the roles that might have gone to Gorak. 


It will be interesting to see if there will still be the "Copeland effect" on ticket sales now that she's been cast in so many performances. It's hard to think of a dancer at ABT more ill-suited for Giselle.

I don't believe that Cirio has taken Gorak's roles.  Gorak would not be a likely candidate for Don Q or Corsaire.  I think Lendorf has taken some of the roles that Gorak may have had a shot to dance, i.e., Swan Lake and Giselle.  Cirio was not given either of those, unfortunately.   

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I don't think Copeland ill-suited to Giselle temperamentally--not based on the tenderness of her Lise. She won't be a flies-through-the-air Giselle, but has other qualities that could be effective ... (I can think of ABT dancers less suited.)


Act Two is, in my experience, always the bigger challenge for dancers making their debut, but I'm curious how she will do. And, like others, happy to see Lane cast in the role.

Edited by Drew
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I was also surprised that Brandt was not cast more.  She would be an interesting Kitri. 


Also surprised that, as of right now, Bolle is only scheduled to dance in Onegin.  I think he may end up being Hee Seo's partner in SL, which is currently TBA.

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So many surprises! And some disappointments.


Lane as Giselle (Murphy too!) - never thought I'd see the day. That's a must see show! And, Abrera w/ Gomes in Giselle, AND for his 20th anniversary show. How sweet that'll be.


Wonderful to see so many other debuts: Teuscher in SL, Shevchenko in DQ and as Myrtha, Abrera in Onegin.


I think a few of the TBA's are being held for Bolle, not Hallberg as someone else suggested. Hallberg wasn't included in the list of principals in the press release so it seems certain he's not coming back. Time to remove him from their roster. And, I'm sure Hammoudi will get at least one of the TBA's for SL, as he's done that role before. I would love to see Forster make his debut in SL opposite Teuscher.


I'm very surprised Brandt didn't get a DQ as well. I think she'd make a fantastic Kitri. Three women are getting 2 shows each, so one of them could have gone to her. I was also expecting to see another major debut for Trenary. But, they are spreading the wealth around (finally) so there are only so many opportunities.


Gorak does seem to have stalled a bit with casting. Maybe he'll get one of the TBA's.


I agree with the Nutcracker comments. That and the Aurora pas could have been replaced with something else not taken out of context.

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It is a season of enormous potential and new risks but also one with hidden disappointments.  The one salient thing that stands out is the one "guest" artist is former ABT principal Alessandra Ferri for two shows.  Even guests we would love to see return like Shklyarov, Smirnova, Tereshkina or Marianela Nunez are not there.  There is a ton of promoting from within: Schevchenko as Kitri, Devon Teuscher as Odette/Odile, Sarah Lane as Giselle, etc.  Lots of role debuts for principals: Stella as Tatiana in "Onegin", Misty as Kitri and Giselle, Gillian as Giselle, Alban Lendorf in most of his assignments, Kochetkova as Giselle, Simkin as Albrecht, et al.


I am thrilled that Gillian is getting a Giselle and think she might also do well in "Mozartiana" in the TBA slot.


Veronika Part has a dull season returning in roles she has danced before - including "Mozartiana" which I remember her being quite good in though stylistically different from the NYCB dancers at the time i.e. Wendy Whelan.   Oddly Part is not dancing the Queen of Shemakhan in "Cockerel" though she was one of the best things about it and danced the opening night cast.  (Hee Seo also is not dancing in "Cockerel" this season.)  Part also would probably not be considered for Tatiana in "Onegin" because of all the overhead lifting and partnering but I would still like to see her in it - bring in Fabrice Calmels as her Onegin!


Interestingly, the "Hee Seo Ballet Theatre" phenomenon seems to have passed.  Seo is dancing most of the repertory but no longer has a disproportionate number of opening nights, multiple shows in a run or major new assignments.  She is in one of the casts of "Whipped Cream" but that is her only new assignment and it is not the opening night cast either.  It is likely in the event that a female principal is injured (please let that not happen), Kevin will spread the wealth around to all these soloists getting new roles.


Most of the disappointments have been articulated elsewhere: Joseph Gorak seems stalled, Skyler Brandt not getting a Kitri, Stella Abrera not getting a "Swan Lake" (Stella would be very good in "Mozartiana" though which still has a TBA slot), Part's dull season, Cassandra Trenary not getting a Giselle though she is very busy in the Tchaikovsky Gala programs.  Ratmansky has cast her in his new "Whipped Cream" and "Souvenir d'un lieu cher".  


Some of the glamorous old stars of the company are just dancing in "Onegin" and then over and out: Diana Vishneva for her farewell, guest Alessandra Ferri in her ongoing return and Roberto Bolle.  No Hallberg and no word from him about his plans.


My only big complaint is that I am going to be taking a lot of Wednesday afternoons off of work with all these matinee debuts.

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