New York City Ballet (David H. Koch Theater) tickets 3 March 2024 - Balanchine + Wheeldon | GoComGo.com

Balanchine + Wheeldon

New York City Ballet (David H. Koch Theater), New York, USA
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Important Info
Type: Ballet
City: New York, USA
Starts at: 15:00
Duration: 36min
Cast
Performers
Ballet company: New York City Ballet
Creators
Composer: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns
Composer: Hershy Kay
Composer: John Philip Sousa
Composer: Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Overview

A delighfully imaginative and brilliantly charming set of high-spirited works.

Christopher Wheeldon’s Carnival of the Animals makes a welcome return to the repertory. An engagingly whimsical tale, with a libretto by the actor John Lithgow, the dance depicts a young boy who falls asleep in the Museum of Natural History, only to dream that the people in his life have taken animal shapes. Three varied Balanchine classics complete this family-friendly program: the lively pas de deux Tarantella; the effervescent Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, which showcases its dancers’ virtuosic technique; and the jubilant Stars and Stripes, Balanchine’s danced celebration of America and the march-master John Philip Sousa.

With delightful narration written by John Lithgow, Carnival of the Animals imagines a schoolboy’s night in the Museum of Natural History and the outlandish museum residents who come to life as versions of his teachers, classmates, and family members.

Created for New York City Ballet in 2003, Christopher Wheeldon’s Carnival of the Animals is set to Camille Saint-Saëns' humorous musical suite of 14 movements that the composer created for a private performance in 1886. Wheeldon’s ballet features a cast of nearly 50 dancers and tells the story of a young boy, Oliver Pendleton Percy the Third, who falls asleep in New York’s American Museum of Natural History, and dreams that the people in his life — family members, teachers, classmates — have all been transformed into animals. The production features a text written by the award-winning actor John Lithgow, who performed the narration in the original NYCB production. For the 2013 revival of Carnival of the Animals, the narration was performed by the stage and screen actor Jack Noseworthy.

The virtuosic pas de deux Tarantella showcases two pyrotechnical dancers in an ever growing profusion of steps.

This sprightly music, despite its Italian air, was composed by Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869), a New Orleans­–born composer and pianist who made a large impact in his brief life. The audacity and wit of his works, along with his brilliance at the keyboard, made his compositions immensely popular — perhaps too popular, as he fell out of favor after his death, considered old-fashioned and clichéd. But Gottschalk was a true American original, and his achievements had a great impact on composers and performers who followed. Balanchine admired this particular composition and choreographed a pas de deux for Patricia McBride and Edward Villella — two virtuosic dancers — in 1964. In his Complete Stories of the Great Ballets, Balanchine wrote of the music, “It is a dazzling display piece, full of speed and high spirits. So, I hope, is the dance, which is ‘Neopolitan’ if you like and ‘demi-caractère.’ The costumes are inspired by Italy, anyhow, and there are tambourines.”

A virtuosic ballet, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux is brief, beautiful, and beloved – an adrenaline rush for both dancers and audiences.

For the original production of Swan Lake in Moscow in 1877, Tschaikovsky composed a pas de deux for Act III at the request of Anna Sobeshchanskaya, a Bolshoi prima ballerina who was one of the first dancers to perform the lead role. Since it was composed later than the rest of the music, it was not included in the published score and was therefore not available to Marius Petipa when he choreographed his famous Swan Lake in St. Petersburg, in 1895. In its place, Petipa moved some music from Act I to Act III, and it is this piece that is now well-known as the Black Swan pas de deux. Well over half a century later, the complete and original Swan Lake score was found, including an appendix with the lost pas de deux. Hearing of its historic discovery, George Balanchine asked for — and was granted — permission to use it for his own choreography. The result is an eight-minute display of ballet bravura and technique.

Set to Sousa's buoyant marches and dressed in Karinska's delightful all-American costumes, Stars and Stripes contains as much pure dancing as many full-length classical ballets.

For all its exuberant patriotic touches, Stars and Stripes contains as much pure dancing as many full-length classical ballets. The work is divided into five “campaigns,” each of which uses different themes from John Philip Sousa’s marches. When asked why he chose to choreograph a ballet to Sousa, Balanchine replied, “Because I like his music.” Stars and Stripes has been performed for many memorable occasions, including Nelson Rockefeller’s inauguration as governor of New York, tributes for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and the opening ceremonies for the New York State Theater (now the David H. Koch Theater) at Lincoln Center. The ballet is dedicated to the memory of Fiorello H. LaGuardia, mayor of New York City from 1934 to 1945 and founder of the City Center of Music and Drama.

History
Premiere of this production: 14 May 2003, New York State Theater

Carnival of the Animals is a ballet choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon to the Le Carnaval Des Animaux by Saint-Saëns, with narrations written by John Lithgow, costumes and sets designs by Jon Morrell and lighting designed by Natasha Katz. The ballet is about a little boy who falls asleep at the American Museum of Natural History and dreams of people he knew as animals.

Premiere of this production: 07 January 1964, New York City Ballet, New York City Center of Music and Drama

Tarantella is a ballet choreographed by George Balanchine to Grande Tarantelle by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, arranged by Hershy Kay. The ballet premiered on January 7, 1964, at the New York City Center, performed by New York City Ballet's Patricia McBride and Edward Villella.

Premiere of this production: 29 March 1960, City Center of Music and Drama, New York

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux is a ballet choreographed by George Balanchine to a composition by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky originally intended for act 3 of Swan Lake (Op. 20, 1875–76). With costumes by Barbara Karinska and lighting by Jack Owen Brown, it was first presented by New York City Ballet at the City Center of Music and Drama, New York, on 29 March 1960. Robert Irving conducted the New York City Ballet Orchestra. The dancers were Violette Verdy and Conrad Ludlow.

Premiere of this production: 17 January 1958, City Center of Music and Drama

Stars and Stripes is a neoclassical ballet choreographed by George Balanchine to music by John Philip Sousa, orchestrated by Hershy Kay. The ballet was made as a tribute to the United States, Balanchine's adopted country. It premiered on January 17, 1958, at the City Center of Music and Drama, danced by the New York City Ballet. It is dedicated to Fiorello La Guardia, former mayor of New York City. The ballet had been revived by multiple ballet companies, and at different special occasions.

Venue Info

New York City Ballet (David H. Koch Theater) - New York
Location   20 Lincoln Center Plaza

The David H. Koch Theater is the major theater for ballet, modern, and other forms of dance, part of the Lincoln Center, at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. Originally named the New York State Theater, the venue has been home to the New York City Ballet since its opening in 1964, the secondary venue for the American Ballet Theatre in the fall, and served as home to the New York City Opera from 1964 to 2011.

The New York State Theater was built with funds from the State of New York as part of New York State's cultural participation in the 1964–1965 World's Fair. The theater was designed by architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee, and opened on April 23, 1964. After the Fair, the State transferred ownership of the theater to the City of New York.

Along with the opera and ballet companies, another early tenant of the theater was the now defunct Music Theater of Lincoln Center whose president was composer Richard Rodgers. In the mid-1960s, the company produced fully staged revivals of classic Broadway musicals. These included The King and I; Carousel (with original star, John Raitt); Annie Get Your Gun (revised in 1966 by Irving Berlin for its original star, Ethel Merman); Show Boat; and South Pacific.

The theater seats 2,586 and features broad seating on the orchestra level, four main “Rings” (balconies), and a small Fifth Ring, faced with jewel-like lights and a large spherical chandelier in the center of the gold latticed ceiling.

The lobby areas of the theater feature many works of modern art, including pieces by Jasper Johns, Lee Bontecou, and Reuben Nakian.

Important Info
Type: Ballet
City: New York, USA
Starts at: 15:00
Duration: 36min
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