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Pictures at an Exhibition: June 2-3, 8-11

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Part 1 of the press release:






Featuring PNB premieres of works by



June 2 – 11, 2017

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109


June 2 – 3 at 7:30 pm

June 2 at 2:00 pm

June 8 - 10 at 7:30 pm

June 11 at 1:00 pm


SEATTLE, WA – For the sixth program of its 44th season, Pacific Northwest Ballet presents the PNB premieres by three of the most significant names in ballet: George Balanchine’s classical La Source is a hybrid work, drawn from several earlier ballets and first presented as a showcase for the legendary dancer Violette Verdy. Opus 19/The Dreamer, by Jerome Robbins, is a much darker work, an emotional and physical marathon with enormous awards for audience and artist alike. PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal performed Opus 19/The Dreamer for most of his career as a dancer with New York City Ballet, and he will be staging it along with La Source for their PNB debuts. The evening comes to a close with Alexei Ratmansky’s ravishing Pictures at an Exhibition. Like the ever-changing Kandinsky watercolors that set the stage, ten dancers move in varying combinations to display a plethora of emotion, from raw and wild to solemn and soulful in this work, which will be staged for PNB by the acclaimed former NYCB principal dancer Wendy Whelan.


PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION runs for seven performances only, June 2 through 11 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30. For more information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org.


The line-up for PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION will include:


La Source (PNB Premiere)

Music: Léo Delibes (excerpts from La Source, 1866, and Le Pas des Fleurs, 1867, arranged as Naila Waltz, c. 1880s)

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Staging: Peter Boal

Lighting Design: Ronald Bates, recreated by Randall G. Chiarelli

Running Time: 24 minutes

Premiere: November 23, 1968, New York City Ballet


George Balanchine loved the music of Léo Delibes, considering him one of the three great composers for ballet, along with Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky. Balanchine returned to the music of Delibes throughout his career. La Source is a hybrid work, drawn from several earlier Balanchine ballets and first presented in 1968 as an extended pas de deux for Violette Verdy and John Prinz. The legendary Verdy was a seasoned artist with piquant technique and theatrical flair, while Prinz was just coming into his own as a dancer. In 1969, Balanchine added dances for a second ballerina and eight women from his 1965 Pas de Deux and Divertissement (which itself was an extension of his 1950 Sylvia: Pas de Deux) and a revision of his “Naila Waltz,” choreographed in 1951 as part of Music and Dance, a presentation by the National Orchestral Society at Carnegie Hall.


Reminiscing about La Source, Verdy wrote, “Mr. B’s idea of France in La Source was almost a platonic ideal of the French. It was France through the eyes of an educated person from St. Petersburg who remembered how much France and Russia had in common and how much France brought to Russia with Catherine and the tsar and all the artists that came to St. Petersburg—Petipa, Didelot, the builders, and the constructors. The city is built like a beautiful theater, like Paris is a theater. …For me, dancing La Source was being home once more. The movements Mr. B gave me and that music—they are like family, they are in my genes.”


The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of George Balanchine’s La Source is generously underwritten by Bob Benson. The works of George Balanchine performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet are made possible in part by The Louise Nadeau Endowed Fund.


Opus 19 / The Dreamer (PNB Premiere)

Music: Sergei Prokofiev (Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19, 1915-1917)
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Staging: Peter Boal
Costume Design: Ben Benson
Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton, recreated by Perry Silvey
Running Time: 23 minutes
Premiere: June 14, 1979, New York City Ballet

Jerome Robbins choreographed Opus 19/The Dreamer for Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1979, at the end of the single season the famed Russian dancer was a member of New York City Ballet before becoming artistic director of American Ballet Theatre in 1980. The double title refers both to the ballet’s music—Prokofiev’s first violin concerto, composed on the eve of the October Revolution—and its moody protagonist. The score is haunting, dreamy, and ethereal. The dance recalls the atmosphere of earlier Robbins ballets, Facsimile (1946) and Age of Anxiety (1950), both with music by Leonard Bernstein, which explored the psychology of the human experience and whose companions walked a grey line between reality and imagination. Baryshnikov, who partnered ballerina Patricia McBride at the premiere, has suggested an autobiographical tone for Robbins’ dreamer: “He’s a bit of an outsider, a bit of a loner, a bit of a thinking man; there’s a bit of action, a bit of unrealized romance, which is very much Jerry’s life.”


Peter Boal danced the role of the Dreamer and chose the ballet for his retirement performance at New York City Ballet in June 2005, partnering Wendy Whelan. He remembers, “Jerry and I worked for endless hours on Opus. The ballet was very dear to him and he entrusted it to very few after Misha. During rehearsals, he spoke of the ethnicity of the music and, in turn, the choreography, referring to Russian peasants and Slavic folk dances. The movements were at times grounded and tribal and alternately manic and meditative. I felt I always gave 100% in everything I danced, but for Opus Jerry wanted more—a level of physicality and commitment that was almost beyond human ability.”


The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Jerome Robbins’ Opus 19/The Dreamer is generously underwritten by Marcella McCaffray. Opus 19/The Dreamer is performed by permission of the Robbins Rights Trust.


Pictures at an Exhibition (PNB Premiere)

Music: Modest Mussorgsky (1874)
Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky
Staging: Wendy Whelan
Costume Design: Adeline André
Lighting Design: Mark Stanley
Projection Design: Wendall K. Harrington, using Wassily Kandinsky’s Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles (1913)

Piano Soloist: Allan Dameron
Running Time: 35 minutes
Premiere: October 2, 2014, New York City Ballet

Alexei Ratmansky is quickly becoming the most prolific and diverse choreographer working in classical ballet today. From his painstaking reconstructions of 19th-century classics by Marius Petipa to his revitalization of Soviet-era story ballets to his growing repertory set to the music of Dmitri Shostakovich to his collection of works made for American Ballet Theatre (ABT, where he is artist in residence), New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and elsewhere, Ratmansky is everywhere. Any given night might see performances of his works by two or three or more companies around the globe. Pacific Northwest Ballet has three of them: Concerto DSCH (from the Shostakovich set), Don Quixote (a Petipa classic), and now Pictures at an Exhibition, an utterly unique dance made for New York City Ballet in 2014 and set to Modest Mussorgsky’s signature work in its original version for solo piano.


Writing in The New York Times after the ballet’s premiere, critic Alastair Macaulay stated, “‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ is surely the most casually diverse work Mr. Ratmansky has created, but it gathers unstoppable momentum. The 10 dancers—five women, five men—started out in informal home-theater mood, almost as if they were playing charades. Some dances, including the first solo, had a wild, improvisatory, part-stumbling, part-inspired quality. (The tailor-made nature of the ballet’s solos reflects one of Mr. Ratmansky’s greatest gifts: Dancers are vividly, individually, intimately revealed.) In certain numbers the dancers—here on all fours, there gesturing—seemed to enact or refer to private stories. Other sections shifted toward a classicism of long lines and academic steps. Some ensembles were largely about camaraderie; others about geometry, harmony, meter.


Dance writer Michael Popkin explained further: “Not just a rendition in dance of Mussorgsky’s famous work of the same name, the ballet was also functionally a tribute and apotheosis for NYCB’s retiring star, Wendy Whelan” (danceviewtimes). Pictures at PNB marks Whelan’s first project as a répétiteur, or stager, the individual who teaches an existing ballet to a new cast. She will have worked with PNB’s dancers for a total of three weeks heading into the Company premiere on June 2. Ratmansky himself, on a brief break from ABT’s New York season, spent two days coaching the ballet after it had been taught.


In addition to Whelan, Ratmansky’s team of collaborators includes renowned projection designer Wendall K. Harrington, whose visual musings on Wassily Kandinsky’s watercolor, Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles, provide animated counterpoint to the dancers’ moves. Fashion designer Adeline André’s costumes echo Kandinsky’s colors and shapes, while Mark Stanley’s lighting joins all of these components to create a unified whole.


Popkin continues: “The ballet tracks the score’s scenario, its action unfolding as a suite of dances before vibrantly colored backdrops. In this 1874 composition, Mussorgsky commemorates the premature death of a friend, the painter Viktor Hartmann, in a tone poem depicting a stroll through a gallery of his pictures. The music, in 16 short sections, alternates tone pictures of some canvasses with a repeating march—labeled ‘Promenade’—that recurs in different musical meters and lets you imagine that you’re strolling from picture to picture. As the promenades segue from conventional to elevated over the course of the entire piece, the composer’s emotion becomes evident: The work is increasingly shot through with his love for his friend and the artistic resolution of his grief.”


The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is generously underwritten by Patty Edwards.


Notes by Doug Fullington.

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More from the press release:


Special Events



Thursday, June 1

Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall

Join Artistic Director Peter Boal in conversation with Pictures at an Exhibition stager and former NYCB principal dancer Wendy Whelan during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the rehearsal. Tickets are $15 for the lecture, or $30 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased 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 Company dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.



PNB partners with Classical KING FM 98.1 to bring listeners some of history’s most popular ballet scores, featuring the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra direct from McCaw Hall. Tune in for a live broadcast of PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION on Saturday, June 3 at 7:30 pm. Only on KING FM, 98.1 fm or online at KING.org/listen.



Friday, June 9
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.

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You are so right, and Moore and Pantastico are dancing all three performances of "Opus 19:  The Dreamer" opening weekend :)


Casting is up -- as always, subject to change -- and the casts are the same for all three performances.  There are going to be some tired dancers come Sunday, June 4!


(scroll to the bottom)


Link to downloadable spreadsheet -- edited to add, updated, since it's been updated on the website:

Pictures at an Exhibition -- Week 1 23 May 17 (2).xlsx




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Well, this is odd -- the downloadable spreadsheet has the same cast for the entire opening weekend, but the website lists big changes (including three separate casts for Opus 19 and La Source)


I'm hoping for the variety, otherwise I won't get to see Wald or Griffiths in the Robbins...

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11 hours ago, Helene said:

Wendy Whelan on "PIctures at an Exhibition":


What a terrific video.   I heard Wendy speak once before after her Restless Creature show at The Joyce.  She seems so heartfelt and genuine.  I don't know who structures the content of the videos, but there's so many themes:  her personal experience with this ballet, the staging and rehearsal process, and how everyone can access this ballet and find a piece of themselves.  The footage is outstanding also:  Noe running and jumping on Jerome's shoulder, Seth holding Sara up by his neck, the "ascension" where Karel walks with Liz standing on his chest, Carrie and those amazing turns with Jonathon, and a fascinating bit of Leta's solo.  And of course seeing Ratmansky in action, is always a treat, plus the little cameo by Laura Tisserand watching the action.  Great job by Lindsey Thomas!


I didn't realize until this video this is Wendy's first staging, and hopefully the first of many to come to PNB.  I'm really looking forward to hearing her speak at the dress rehearsal lecture on Thursday and of course the program itself.

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