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Ballet West 2019-20 Season


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Ballet West's 19/20 Season Announced

February 26, 2019





SALT LAKE CITY, UT-- With two world premieres, one United States Premiere, two Ballet West premieres, two revivals, and the return of two cherished audience favorites, Ballet West’s 2019/2020 season is replete with legendary and bold ballets that will explore and advance the boundaries of this extraordinary art form. The Company will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of Mr. Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker, the first American production and potentially the longest running in the world.

“This will be a season of history, mystery, glamour, and drama,” said Artistic Director Adam Sklute. “I am thrilled to be able to present works that have fascinated me for many years, and build a season that highlights the great technical and theatrical versatility that I believe have become a hallmark of Ballet West.” Sklute adds, “Each program has a unique magic all its own, and the entire season is designed to take our audiences on a journey through great historical landmarks into new and untried territory.”

Celebrating the 110th anniversary of Sergei Diaghilev’s revolutionary company, “Balanchine’s Ballets Russes” will explore the origins of George Balanchine’s choreographic genius, and open our season from October 25 through November 2. This historic and groundbreaking triple bill will chronologically reconstruct his most significant early works for Ballet Russes while living in France, showing his development into a master choreographer while collaborating with some of the world’s most renowned artists and composers.

The program begins with a United States premiere, The Song of the Nightingale (Le chant du rossignol). Balanchine created this work in 1925 when he was only 21 years old and it marks the first time he partnered with Igor Stravinsky, leading to a 46-year friendship that produced some of the greatest ballets of the 20th century. With sets and costumes by Henri Matisse, it tells the tale of a mysterious songbird who cures an ailing Chinese emporer. This production makes Ballet West the second company in the world to present this important reconstruction. Apollo, their second collaboration is next on the bill. This Ballet West premiere will include the rarely performed original childhood scene and the final ascent to Mount Olympus. Elegant and restrained, Apollo remains a standard of Balanchine’s clean and refined approach to dance.

Finally, Prodigal Son’s story of sin and redemption, taken from the Gospel of Luke, presents a universal message through its powerful, revolutionary choreography and music by Sergei Prokofiev. It presents striking images with its expressionistic sets and costumes by Georges Roualt. Prokofiev composed the score for Prodigal Son, and soon after the premiere in 1929 he and Diaghilev died, closing the chapter on a short-lived, but brilliant company, and ushering Balanchine to the United States to found the New York City Ballet and develop his iconic American style.

The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation presents the milestone 75thstaging of Mr. Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker, December 6—24. Utah native and Ballet West founder, Mr.C, as he was affectionately known, staged the first full-length version in 1944, as the Artistic Director of San Francisco Ballet. Afterward, the Sacramento Union reported, “We can’t understand why a vehicle of such fantastic beauty and originality would not be produced in its entirety in this country until now.” In 1955, he returned to Utah to open the first accredited ballet school at the University of Utah and continued his Nutcracker tradition there until he founded Ballet West. The Nutcracker is now an international phenomenon, permeating holiday traditions, and being performed by thousands of companies around the globe.

Since its Paris premiere in 1841, Giselle has been an instant triumph with audiences and especially beloved in Utah. A love story, a ghost story, and a tale of forgiveness from beyond the grave, this enduring masterpiece was reconceived in 2014 by Artistic Director Adam Sklute and called “exquisite” by The Salt Lake Tribune. Giselle will run February 7—15.

Dynamic power and comedic timing are on full display April 17—25 with Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream, and resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte’s Bolero. Based on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ashton’s Victorian retelling of the Bard’s ironic farce is both hilarious and charming and its music by Felix Mendelssohn is instantly recognizable. Ravel’s energetic score is combined with athletic and dynamic movement in Fonte’s acclaimed Bolero, being restaged for the first time since 2012.

The intimacy of Rose Wagner Theater will host the 2020 World Choreographic Festival. Ballet West will host renowned international companies Singapore Dance Theater, Royal New Zealand Ballet, for one week of explosive new works. Ballet West will premiere two new creations from athletic and soulful international choreographer Jennifer Archibald and Matthew Neenan, who last staged The Sixth Beauty, an inventive work on Ballet West in 2014.

In addition to the regular season, Ballet West II performs Snow White, a world premiere from gifted in-house choreographers Pamela Robinson and Peggy Dolkas. A new addition to the popular Family Classics Series, this recreation runs for just three performances, November 8—9. The Grimms’ fairy tale is given a ballet treatment, to a score from Edvard Grieg, and is presented in 90 minutes with guided narration to ensure the youngest audience members can enjoy the ensuing drama on stage.

Single ticket do not go on sale until September, so patrons are encouraged to subscribe now or renew their season memberships for best availability. Three-show subscription packages begin at just $64. Contact Ballet West at 801-869-6920, or visit www.balletwest.org

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I'm not seeing anything yet on the Ballet West web site about next season. Perhaps they'll tell us more about the Le Chant du Rossignol . Has this been performed before in recent years? It says "US premiere." I actually took a quick look at plane schedules into Salt Lake City that weekend. Could be a very big deal, but I'd like to know more. I hope they make the most of it - perhaps a lecture or Q&A session.

Here's video of the 1999 performances in Monte Carlo.


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I found a news item that there will be a lecture about the Ballet West performances of Le Chant du Rossignol (yes, the Hodson/Archer version) and Apollo, with excerpts performed by Ballet West dancers. Not in Salt Lake City though - rather at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Lecture times are 3 pm and 7:30 pm on Sunday, Sept 29.  "Ballets Russes expert Lynn Garafola, Professor Emerita of Dance, Barnard College, Columbia University, moderates a discussion with Hodson, Archer, Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute, and Balanchine Trust repetiteur Victoria Simon." The event description mentions that the Ballet West Apollo is a reconstruction of the original 1928 performance and includes a birth scene which is omitted from some versions.

(perhaps this should be added to the links page)



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