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Pacific Northwest Ballet Presents George Balanchine's JEWELS, 9/26

Pacific Northwest Ballet Presents George Balanchine's JEWELS, 9/26

Pacific Northwest Ballet sweeps onstage and into a spectacular new season arrayed in emerald green, ruby red, and luminous white. A triple-treat for both eyes and ears, the trio of gems in George Balanchine'sJewels™ pay tribute to golden ages of music and dance: Emeralds' graceful clouds of tulle whisper French fashion and fragrance; Rubies' jazzy, sassy merger with Stravinsky mirrors the carefree candor of America; and Diamonds' glittering splendor recalls the great choreographer's heritage, so that "if the entire Imperial Russian inheritance of ballet were lost, Diamonds would still tell us of its essence" (Mary Clarke and Clement Crisp). Jewels runs fromSeptember 26 through October 5 at Seattle Center's Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets and more information are available through the Pacific Northwest Ballet Box Office, 301 Mercer Street at Seattle Center, 206.441.2424, or online at PNB.org.

With the opening of Jewels, Pacific Northwest Ballet kicks off a year-long celebration marking the 25th Anniversary of PNB's renowned orchestra. Four programs during the 2014-15 season will feature specially-selected orchestral preludes selected by music director/principal conductor Emil de Cou. "Pacific Northwest Ballet's orchestra has long been superior...and in Emil de Cou it probably has America's finest ballet conductor." (The New York Times)

Orchestra Prelude

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Finale from "Tema con variazioni," Orchestral Suite No. 3 in G, Op. 55

Running Time: Five minutes

Pacific Northwest Ballet salutes the mighty PNB Orchestra as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary season. Each of the mixed reps during PNB's 2014-15 season will include an orchestral selection to spotlight our amazing musicians in the pit. Look for future Orchestra Preludes during DIRECTOR'S CHOICE, THE VERTIGINOUS THRILL OF FORSYTHE, and Carmina Burana.

George Balanchine's Jewels™

Music: Gabriel Fauré, Igor Stravinsky, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Emeralds: Fauré (from Pelléas et Melisande, 1898, and Shylock, 1889)

Rubies: Stravinsky (Capriccio for piano and orchestra, 1929)

Diamonds: Tchaikovsky (Symphony No. 3 in D major, Op. 29, 1975, first movement omitted)

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Staging: Elyse Borne

Costume Design: Karinska

Lighting Design: Mark Stanley

Premiere: April 13, 1967; New York City Ballet

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

Running Time: Emeralds: 31 minutes; Rubies: 22 minutes; Diamonds: 31 minutes

At its New York City Ballet premiere in 1967, Jewels was touted as the first "plotless full-length ballet." The story goes that Balanchine was inspired to create the ballet after a visit to the New York jeweler Claude Arpels of Van Cleef and Arpels. While each of its three ballets may not follow any definitive narrative, like real gems themselves, each can be viewed in multiple ways and from a variety of angles. The great American dance critic, Arlene Croce, described Jewels as "unsurpassed as a Balanchine primer, incorporating in a single evening every important article of faith to which this choreographer subscribed and a burst of heresy, too." Balanchine himself, in his typical noncommittal way, stated, "Of course, I have always liked jewels; after all, I am an Oriental, from Georgia in the Caucasus. I like the color of gems, the beauty of stones, and it was wonderful to see how our costume workshop, under Karinska's direction, came so close to the quality of real stones (which were, of course, too heavy for the dancers to wear!)."

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, Emeralds can 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 by Karinska, and Balanchine 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 Raymondaabound, 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.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine (1904-1983) is regarded as the 20th century's foremost choreographer in the world of ballet. He came to the United States in late 1933, at the invitation of arts patron Lincoln Kirstein. At Balanchine's behest, the School of American Ballet was founded in 1934, and in the years that followed, several ballet companies directed by Balanchine and Kirstein were created and dissolved, while Balanchine found other outlets for his choreography. In 1948, New York City Ballet was formed and Mr. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from that time until his death. George Balanchine's more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Concerto Barocco (1941), Le Palais de Cristal, later renamed Symphony in C (1947), Agon (1957), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Vienna Waltzes (1977) and Mozartiana (1981). He also choreographed for films, operas, revues, and musicals. As a major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Mr. Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet and asserted an inestimable influence on the growth of dance in America. Although at first his style seemed particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially those he trained, his ballets are now performed by all the major classical ballet companies throughout the world. [Copyright © 2002 The George Balanchine Foundation. Reprinted by permission.]


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