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Jewels: 22-23 Sep and 28 Sep-1 Oct

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From the press release:


PNB Shines Bright like a Diamond with Season-Opener


September 22 – October 1, 2017

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109



September 22 at 6:30 pm

September 23 at 2:00 and 7:30 pm

September 28 – 30 at 7:30 pm

October 1 at 1:00 pm


SEATTLE, WA – Pacific Northwest Ballet raises the curtain for its 45th season with Jewels, George Balanchine’s masterful homage to three golden ages of music and dance. Jewels celebrates its 50th anniversary adorned with new costume and scenic designs created for PNB by Jerome Kaplan (Roméo et Juliette, Cendrillon, Giselle, Don Quixote.) Emeralds whispers of grace, courtesy, and French perfume; Rubies sizzles with American sass; and Diamonds conjures the glittering magnificence of old St. Petersburg.Jewels runs for seven performances only, September 22 through October 1 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.




Music: Gabriel Fauré, Igor Stravinsky, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Staging: Elyse Borne

Scenic and Costume Design: Jerome Kaplan

Premiere: April 13, 1967; New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: June 1, 2006 (Rubies premiere: February 3, 1988)


Emeralds is a romantic evocation of France, the birthplace of classical ballet. It is also Balanchine’s comment of the French school of dancing and its rich heritage. With a score by Gabriel Fauré and dancers dressed in Romantic-length tutus, Emeraldscan also be a window on the nostalgia inherent in much late 19th-century art, with its idealized view of the Middle Ages, chivalry, and courtly love. Balanchine considered Emeralds “an evocation of France – the France of elegance, comfort, dress and perfume.”


Rubies is considered the American jewel, with its Jazz Age score by Igor Stravinsky, stylized flapper costumes, and Balanchine’s choreography in his sophisticated mode. A saucy leading couple plays and competes as equals, and a second, siren-like ballerina takes on the men of the corps de ballet, requiring all four of them to partner her at once.


Diamonds is Balanchine’s homage to his native St. Petersburg. Echoes of Petipa’s Swan Lake and Raymonda abound, and the centerpiece of the ballet is an intimate pas de deux, potent in its chivalrous reserve, for the ballerina and her cavalier. At its end, the entire cast joins the principal couple for a gloriously spirited polonaise.


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Part 2:





Friday, September 15, 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.


BALLET 101: The Business of Ballet

Tuesday, September 19, 7:00 pm

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Artistic Director Peter Boal and senior artistic and administrative staff for a discussion of PNB’s 2017-2018 season, including the business of ballet acquisition, commissioning, touring, and working with scenery, costumes, and music rights. This is the first of a four-part series exploring a range of topics, from ballet terminology, steps, and partnering, to casting, contemporary works, and the business of ballet. Tickets are $25 per two-hour session, or $75 subscription (four sessions for the price of three.) For more information, visit PNB.org.



Thursday, September 21

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join PNB Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington in conversation with designer Jerome Kaplan during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. The conversation begins at 6:00 pm, followed by the dress rehearsal at 7:00 pm. Tickets ($30) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office.



Friday, September 22, 2017

Celebrate the opening night of PNB’s 45th season with a glamorous cocktail party, an elegant backstage dinner, and a dance party onstage after the performance! Featuring special honored guest, Jerome Kaplan, creator of new scenic and costume designs for Jewels. For tickets and more info, call 206.441.2429 or visit PNB.org/FirstLook. (Performance tickets sold separately.)



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. (No Q&A on Friday, September 22.)



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 Jewels on Saturday, September 23 at 7:30 pm. Only on KING FM, 98.1 fm or online at KING.org/listen.



Friday, September 29
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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Part 3:  Program Sponsors


Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s Jewels is made possible by Patty Edwards. The 2017 PNB production of Emeralds is supported by Lynne E. Graybeal & Scott Harron. Principal support for the 2017 PNB production of Rubies is provided by Bob Benson, with additional support from Marcella McCaffray. Presenting support for the 2017 PNB production of Diamonds is provided by Patty Edwards, with additional support from Lyndall Boal and an anonymous donor. The works of George Balanchine performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet are made possible in part by The Louise Nadeau Endowed Fund.


Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2017-2018 season is proudly sponsored by ArtsFund and Microsoft. Special thanks also to 4Culture, National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and The Wallace Foundation. PNB media sponsorship provided by The Seattle Times and KOMO 4.

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PNB just posted on Facebook a wonderful 20+ minute video (Lindsey Thomas, of course) compling a number of clips taken in 2014 when 4 of the original Jewels cast members (Violette Verdy, Mimi Paul, Edward Villella and Jacques d’Amboise) came to Seattle to coach PNB dancers. (I presume this video has been published before, but I don't remember it all together like this.)


This is a must see IMHO.  Here is the direct YouTube link:



Edited by SandyMcKean
extra thought
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On September 12, 2017 at 1:08 PM, Helene said:

Casting is up for first weekend:



(Look under the "Performance" section)


Lucien Postlewaite makes his return on Opening Night in "Emeralds," partnering Noelani Pantastico in her debut in the Verdy role.


Here's the downloadable spreadsheet:

Jewels Casting Week 1 12_Sep_17.xlsx

Looking forward to hearing about Lucien and his return to PNB.  

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Casting for Week 2 should be coming shortly, but, in the meantime, Jonathan Porretta is out of Week 1 of Rubies; James Moore will dance both the matinee and evening performances, with Leta Biasucci and Angelica Generosa respectively.



Here's a link to the revised Week 1 spreadsheet:

Jewels Casting Week 1 19_Sep_17.xlsx


Here's a video with Jerome Kaplan with some footage of the costumes and images of his drawings.  He also speaks about the differences between costume design and fashion, although "Twirl" spans both:


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Casting is up for second weekend:



Here is the link to the downloadable spreadsheet:

Jewels Casting Weeks 1-2 21_Sep_17.xlsx


There aren't any "*" indications of debuts, but there are new casts in second weekend:  

  • Emeralds Verdy couple:  Leah Merchant (who danced with Steven Loch last time Emeralds was performed) and Joshua Grant (Thurs/Fri)
  • Emeralds Paul couple:  Emma Love Suddarth and Miles Pertl (Thurs/Fri)
  • Emeralds Pas de Trois:  Elle Macy, Madison Taylor, and Dylan Wald (Thurs/Fri)
  • Rubies Tall Girl:  Cecilia Iliesiu (Fri)
  • Diamonds Couple:  Sarah Ricard Orza and William Lin-Yee (Fri)
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I went to the dress rehearsal tonight and enjoyed Jewels more than any other time.  The new production is so beautiful!  The skirts in Emeralds and Diamonds have amazing movement quality.  The colors/hues for Diamonds I found particularly fresh and current yet still based on tradition.  I'm excited to see it up close this weekend!

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Some initial thoughts on opening night of "Jewels":


I <3, <3, <3 ^1000th the costumes.  I love that the bodices have a vertical ribbed "theme."  The "Emeralds" (all) and "Diamonds" corp tutus have sweep and finesse, and the contrast between the brighter green tulle with the dark green in "Emeralds" bodices are a great visual match.  My very favorite aspect is the skirts for the "Rubies" women:  they move with the body, and avoid the flapping visual and audio delay of the originals.   The "Diamonds" costumes have an unusual color palate:  the ballerina's shorter, more conventional tutu, is bright white, while the tulle corps tutus have a lovely blush pink under layer, and the corps men's tunics have a silvery-irony cast to the gold, almost armor-like.  From the first balcony, the tiaras and jeweled bodices were bands of sparkle, but I wouldn't have recognized the detailed work and darker jewels from the photos.  The "Rubies" tunics for the men reminded me of "Grand Budapest Hotel," and the "Emeralds" men had a small skirt with nice drape. 


The "Emeralds" and "Rubies" tiaras couldn't be more contrasting, but each are equally stunning.  The "Emeralds" principal tiaras are high and bold, and remind me of a Irish runes, medieval and Iseult-like, with some of the loft of the Siren's headdress in "Prodigal Son."  I love their height and authority as a balance to the long skirts, and no one was impaled.  The principal "Rubies" tiara, a band close to the head, was perfectly proportioned to the short "Rubies" dresses.  "Diamonds" tiaras were the most classic, and again, had the magic balance to the costumes.   Each set of headpieces was a match for the costume, instead of the standard attempt to find one common type across all ballets.


Jerome Kaplan also tried to avoid having a common, one size approach to the sets, although there was at least one major common element from ballet to ballet.  For "Emeralds," there were constellations of lights against the black background, with changes to the lights between movements.  In "Rubies," he retained the dark floor and black background, but put a 3/4 narrowish white border on the floor on the sides and across upstage, with three stiff, widely spaced wing panels on the sides, and a narrow upper border of drops.  I thought I had been transported to an abstraction of a Lincoln Center building. The border around the floor made it at once a boxing ring, a gymnastics mat, and a neighborhood with distinct boundaries.   It was an easy, five-minute or so set change from "Emeralds" and "Rubies":  the performance started at 6:30 and had a pause between the first two ballets instead of intermission:  the gala dinner had to start at a reasonable hour.


For "Diamonds" Kaplan added additional white wing panels, and the entire floor was white.  The black backdrop was changed for a giant picture frame with a light background.  I have that picture frame.  Like most people, I've never lived in any place resembling Imperial Russia, and my picture frames reflect that.


The lighting for "Emeralds" was evocative and was fully integrated with the set and costumes.  From where I was sitting, in the far side section of the first balcony, "Rubies" lighting was fine in the center, while it was darker around the perimeter, where the corps spends a lot of time.  From above in "Diamonds"  there were pools of bright and dark strips between them, the sides were noticeably darker, and there were shadows everywhere, and not it a good way.  Perhaps it looked better from the orchestra, but not from above.  I'll have another looks from the front of that level this afternoon, but while I've seen some productions I've felt were underlit, particularly from above, this was the weakest lighting I can remember at PNB.


The orchestra played beautifully -- live broadcast tonight on KING FM radio -- and kudos to Alan Dameron for his solo work in the Stravinsky.



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