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Boston Ballet 2017-18 season


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A release:






February 6, 2017 (BOSTON, MA)—Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen announces the programming for the 2017–2018 season at the Boston Opera House, to begin in November. The 54th season will open with the North American premiere of Wayne McGregor’s “forcefully resonant” Obsidian Tear (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times), a co-production with The Royal Ballet. Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker returns to enchant audiences with dazzling dancing and a cast of beloved characters. The 2018 spring season will offer a range of rotating classical and contemporary programming from March through June. Parts In Suite, a mixed-repertory program, will feature works by three 21st-century choreographers: Justin Peck, William Forsythe, and Jorma Elo. John Cranko’s “gorgeous production” of Romeo & Juliet (Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe) returns with a tragic tale of young love set to music by Sergei Prokofiev. The season will also highlight two historic and influential choreographers, George Balanchine and August Bournonville, with two programs dedicated to showcasing their work: Classic Balanchine and La Sylphide. Due to high demand during the 2016–2017 season, The Sleeping Beauty will return for a limited, one-week run in May 2018.


“Boston Ballet’s 2017–2018 season is a collection of some of the world’s finest choreographers, from ballet’s past to present,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. “We have Petipa, Bournonville, Balanchine, Cranko, Forsythe, McGregor, Peck, and Elo. I am incredibly proud to have such strong, versatile dancers that we can not only honor the history of this art form with classics, but also show audiences where it’s going next, and I think they will be amazed and inspired by the creativity, ingenuity, and originality of these choreographers.”


The 2017–2018 season opens November 3–12 with Obsidian Tear, featuring premieres by The Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Boston Ballet Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo, and an orchestral performance of Jean Sibelius’ tone poem Finlandia. McGregor’s Obsidian Tear, a North American premiere presented in co-production with The Royal Ballet, is considered a “choreographic breakthrough” for McGregor as he “introduces a physical language that is pared down and clear yet permeated by a fullness and grace” (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times). The all-male ensemble work is set to Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Lachen verlernt for solo violin and his symphonic poem Nyx, a reference to the Greek goddess of night. Elo’s World Premiere is set to Sibelius’ majestic 5th Symphony. The program recognizes Nissinen and Elo’s Finnish heritage with musical accompaniment by two powerhouse Finnish composers, Salonen and Sibelius, and aligns with the 100th anniversary celebration of the country’s independence on December 6, 2017


After another record-breaking run in 2016, Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker returns to the Opera House November 24–December 31. This annual production has become a tradition for Boston audiences, delighting them with “theatrical splendor” and “balletic fireworks” (Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe). More than 200 Boston Ballet School students will join the cast of Company dancers amongst three casts.


The 2018 spring season begins March 9–April 7 with Parts In Suite, featuring three celebrated 21st- century choreographers: William Forsythe, Justin Peck, and Jorma Elo. Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2016 adds another Forsythe ballet to the Company’s repertoire and marks the second year of Boston Ballet’s partnership with the world-renowned choreographer. With an ensemble of 15 dancers performing to the electronic score by frequent Forsythe collaborator Thom Willems, Pas/Parts is a “superb [work] of craft and imagination, evidence of a choreographer at the height of his powers” (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times). A soloist with New York City Ballet as well as the company’s resident choreographer, Peck has already worked with companies across the U.S. and abroad during his meteoric career. Joan Acocella of The New Yorker says, “the quality that the audience seems to love most in his work is its sheer oomph: speed, vigor, exuberance.” In Creases is a Company premiere and the first of Peck’s work performed by Boston Ballet. Elo’s Bach Cello Suites returns to conclude the program, with a cello soloist performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suites Nos. 1 & 2 on stage. This work is a true Boston Ballet collaboration with set design by Nissinen, costume design by Manager of Costumes and Wardrobe Charles Heightchew, and lighting design by Lighting Director John Cuff.


John Cranko’s Romeo & Juliet takes the stage March 15–April 8, this time with sets and costumes by internationally-acclaimed German stage designer Jürgen Rose. Set to Sergei Prokofiev’s bold, poignant score, Cranko’s 1962 adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy “is considered by many the cream of the crop” (Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe). Breathtaking, intimate pas de deux between the two star-crossed lovers, and lavish ballroom scenes, showcase the artistry of the Company. The story’s well-known narrative, advanced through compelling drama and virtuosic dancing, make this a perfect ballet for both new and experienced audiences.


Due to popular demand during the 2016–2017 season, The Sleeping Beauty returns for one week, May 11–19, with music by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky and choreography by Marius Petipa and Sir Frederick Ashton.


The spring season continues May 17–June 9 with Classic Balanchine, a triple bill of works by the prolific choreographer George Balanchine. Chaconne is a stately and dreamlike celebration of pure dance set to music from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice. Prodigal Son, Balanchine’s last work for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes—and one of his first to achieve international success—explores themes of sin and redemption from the biblical “Parable of the Prodigal Son.” The iconic lead role has been performed by numerous ballet legends since its 1929 premiere, including Serge Lifar, Jerome Robbins, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Damian Woetzel. The program concludes with Stravinsky Violin Concerto, an intricately designed work for 20 dancers that Balanchine choreographed for the 1972 Stravinsky Festival honoring the life and work of his long-time friend and collaborator Igor Stravinsky. One of 16 ballets Balanchine choreographed to the composer’s scores, Stravinsky Violin Concerto demonstrates the relationship between the two artists that “gave ballet a new pulse” (Gia Kourlas, The New York Times).


The season concludes May 24–June 10 with La Sylphide, featuring works by Danish ballet master August Bournonville. Director of the Royal Danish Ballet for nearly 50 years, Bournonville established the Danish style of buoyant, bravura dancing and expressive pantomime. Of the great ballet master, Balanchine once remarked, “you know what made Bournonville great? He entertained with steps.” La Sylphide, a production by Bournonville expert and former Royal Danish Ballet principal dancer Sorella Englund (after Bournonville’s original choreography), is the “deliciously sweet” (Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe) but heartbreaking tale of a young Scotsman who abandons his friends, family, and betrothed for the unattainable love of a woodland sprite. The final program of the season closes with Bournonville Divertissements, a sampling of the choreographer’s most enduring works, including Napoli, Flower Festival in Genzano, and Abdallah, set to music by Holger Simon Paulli and Edvard Helsted.


Tickets for The Nutcracker will go on sale to the public July 10. Tickets for the remainder 2017–2018 season will go on sale to the public September 5. Current subscribers may renew starting mid-February, and new subscribers can order early to guarantee the best seats at the best price starting March 9. For more information, visit bostonballet.org or call 617.695.6955.


All performances take place at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111):


Obsidian Tear | November 3–12, 2017

Obsidian Tear

Choreography by Wayne McGregor

Music by Esa-Pekka Salonen

Co-production with The Royal Ballet

North American Premiere

Obsidian Tear is made possible by the Boston Ballet Commissioners Circle: the Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, Andrea and Frederick Hoff, and Ruth and John Littlechild. 

Orchestral performance of Jean Sibelius’ Finlandia


World Premiere

Choreography by Jorma Elo

Music by Jean Sibelius


The Nutcracker | November 24–December 31, 2017

Choreography by Mikko Nissinen

Music by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky


Parts In Suite | March 9–April 7, 2018

Pas/Parts 2016

Choreography by William Forsythe

Music by Thom Willems

            Boston Ballet Premiere


In Creases

Choreography by Justin Peck

Music by Philip Glass

Boston Ballet Premiere

Two pianists


Bach Cello Suites

            Choreography by Jorma Elo

Music by J.S. Bach

Solo cellist


Romeo & Juliet | March 15–April 8, 2018

Choreography by John Cranko

Music by Sergei Prokofiev


The Sleeping Beauty | May 11–19, 2018

Choreography by Marius Petipa, with additional choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton

Music by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky


Classic Balanchine | May 17–June 9, 2018


Choreography by George Balanchine

Music by Christoph Willibald Gluck (from the opera Orfeo ed Euridice)


Prodigal Son

Choreography by George Balanchine

Music by Sergei Prokofiev


Stravinsky Violin Concerto

Choreography by George Balanchine

Music by Igor Stravinsky


La Sylphide | May 24–June 10

            La Sylphide

            Choreography by Sorella Englund, after August Bournonville

Music by Herman Løvenskjold


Bournonville Divertissements

Excerpts from Napoli, Flower Festival in Genzano, Abdallah

Choreography by August Bournonville

            Music by Holger Simon Paulli, Edvard Helsted



About Boston Ballet

Since 1963, Boston Ballet’s internationally acclaimed performances of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary ballets, combined with a dedication to world class dance education and community initiative programs, have made the institution a leader in its field, with a 53-year history of promoting excellence and access to dance.


Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Executive Director Meredith Max Hodges, the Company maintains a diverse repertoire, ranging from full-length ballets to new works by some of today's finest choreographers. Boston Ballet's second company, Boston Ballet II, is comprised of dancers who gain experience by performing with the Company and independently, presenting special programs to audiences throughout the Northeast. 


Boston Ballet School, the official school of Boston Ballet, has a long-standing dedication to providing exceptional dance education and ballet training to students across three studios in Boston, Newton, and the North Shore. Led by Director Margaret Tracey, the School reaches more than 5,000 students (toddler to adult) each year through its four core programs: Children’s Program, Classical Ballet Program, Adult Dance Program, and Pre-Professional Program.


Boston Ballet’s Department of Education and Community Initiatives (ECI) provides programming, events, and activities that connect the community to dance. ECI reaches more than 4,000 individuals in Boston, North Shore, and the surrounding communities each year through Citydance, ECI on Location, Adaptive Dance, and other community programs.


For more information, please visit bostonballet.org.


Boston Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following institutional partners:

Boston Cultural Council

The Boston Foundation

Klarman Family Foundation

Massachusetts Cultural Council

National Endowment for the Arts

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Does anyone know anything about Obsidian Tear?  That program looks the most interesting to me.  I saw Company Wayne MacGregor when they were in Seattle a couple weeks ago and would like to see more of his work, although I could forego the digital doo-dads.


I saw Pas/Parts 2016 in San Francisco last year.  There's some amazing choreography and dancing, but I had hard time with the "music", especially at the beginning.  I had to plug my ears the second time I saw it.  It's too bad because I really like Thom Willem's composition for In the Middle Somewhat Elevated.

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53 minutes ago, seattle_dancer said:

Does anyone know anything about Obsidian Tear?  That program looks the most interesting to me.  I saw Company Wayne MacGregor when they were in Seattle a couple weeks ago and would like to see more of his work, although I could forego the digital doo-dads.


You can watch a kind of lecture-demo here:


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Oooh, thanks for the link.


I saw the McGregor here in Seattle as well -- mixed feelings about the use of technology.  When he was here with Random Dance several years ago, I thought he was making some really interesting choices with multi-media, but the screens and 3D effects this time around just seemed to get in the way of seeing the movement.

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On February 6, 2017 at 4:29 PM, sandik said:

More Forsythe!

Yes, they announced last year that there would be a five-year partnership with Forsythe.

https://www.bostonballet.org/BostonBallet/media/Press-Room/2015-2016 General/2015-16_BostonBallet_ForsythePartnershipAnnouncement_FINAL.pdf


This is a pretty ambitious season for this company.  Although the run of Sleeping Beauty is only one week, it overlaps with the Balanchine program, which overlaps with the Bournonville program.  Unless he is planning on expanding the company, this could prove a challenge for the dancers.  


Very excited for more McGregor!

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