Crisis Averted with Extraordinary Collaboration Between Hamburg Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet for Triumphant Harris Theater Return
What could have been a disaster turned out to be another momentous Harris Theater collaboration, this time between the Hamburg Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet, two of the world's greatest dance companies with ties to the Harris.
A freight ship carrying Hamburg's original costumes was delayed because of a massive storm that derailed the Chicago shipment date, postponing delivery indefinitely and threatening next week's much-anticipated presentation of the Hamburg Ballet's iconic Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler-the only two performances of John Neumeier's Third Symphony during Hamburg's 2014 North American tour, specially chosen following the company's Harris Theater debut last season.
Chicago can well understand the predicament facing the Hamburg Ballet, as 87% of the Great Lakes remains frozen and the city continues to face one of the harshest and most debilitating winters in the city's history. Enter Paris Opera Ballet Director of Dance Brigitte Lefèvre, close friend and colleague of Hamburg Ballet Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer John Neumeier.
Lefèvre, who just last season revived Neumeier's renowned work and most recently visited Chicago during her company's 2012 Chicago debut at the Harris, was told of the situation and offered to send her company's inventory of costumes to the Theater. Thanks to her tremendous efforts, Neumeier's dancers will don the classic couture that Neumeier himself conceptualized for this exceptional symphonic work, currently in the repertory of the Paris Opera Ballet and the Royal Swedish Ballet.
In a true collaborative effort, the Harris Theater has hired additional union members to accommodate custom fittings and tailoring specifications for all the Hamburg Ballet company members, so all costumes fit properly. Over the last ten years the Harris has worked with the top ensembles on the planet.
Tickets for the Wednesday, February 19 and Thursday, February 20 performances of Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler are $40-$95, available at HarrisTheaterChicago.org or by calling the Box Office at 312.334.7777.
The Harris Theater's presentation of The Hamburg Ballet's Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler is made possible in part by the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, Presenting Foundation Sponsor. Additional support has been provided by Pamela Crutchfield, Phil Lumpkin, Helen Melchior, Abby McCormick O'Neil, and D. Carroll Joynes, and members of the Harris Theater's See the Dance Consortium.
About John Neumeier
Since 1973, John Neumeier has been Director and Chief Choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet, and since 1996, he has been "Ballettintendant." Under Neumeier's direction The Hamburg Ballet became one of the leading ballet companies of the German dance scene and soon received international recognition. As a choreographer, Neumeier has continually focused on the preservation of ballet tradition, while giving his works a modern dramatic framework. In February 2006, Neumeier established the John Neumeier Foundation with the goal of bringing together his collection of dance and ballet related objects and his vast oeuvre. The Foundation will maintain and secure his life's work. In 2011, Neumeier founded the National Youth Ballet in Germany comprised of eight young dancers based at the Ballettzentrum in Hamburg. Last year, Neumeier was the recipient of the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse 2013 award for lifetime achievement. The award ceremony took place at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.