American Ballet Theatre Announces First Round of Casting for 2016 Spring Season at the Met
Casting for the first two weeks of American Ballet Theatre's 2016 Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.
The season will begin on Monday, May 9 with eight performances of Frederick Ashton's Sylvia, led by Gillian Murphy (Sylvia), Marcelo Gomes (Aminta), Craig Salstein (Eros) and James Whiteside (Orion). Jeffrey Cirio will debut as Eros on Tuesday evening, May 10. Exchange Artist Xander Parish, of the Mariinsky Ballet, will make his American Ballet Theatre debut as Aminta at the matinee on Wednesday, May 11, opposite Isabella Boylston (Sylvia), Gabe Stone Shayer (Eros) and Daniil Simkin (Orion), each also dancing these roles for the first time. Hee Seo and Blaine Hoven will debut as Sylvia and Aminta, respectively, at the evening performance on Wednesday, May 11. Maria Kochetkova will dance the title role for the first time on Friday evening, May 13. A ballet in three acts, Sylvia is set to music by Léo Delibes and features costumes and scenery after original designs by Robin and Christopher Ironside. Additional designs for Sylvia are by Peter Farmer and lighting is by Mark Jonathan. The World Premiere of the original production of Sylvia was given by The Royal Ballet on September 3, 1952 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, danced by Margot Fonteyn (Sylvia), Michael Somes (Aminta), John Hart (Orion) and Alexander Grant (Eros). The World Premiere of this revival of Sylvia by was given by The Royal Ballet on November 4, 2004 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, danced by Darcey Bussell (Sylvia), Jonathan Cope (Aminta), Thiago Soares (Orion) and Martin Harvey (Eros). Sylvia received its American Ballet Theatre Company Premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York on June 3, 2005, danced by Gillian Murphy (Sylvia), Maxim Beloserkovsky (Aminta), Marcelo Gomes (Orion) and Herman Cornejo (Eros). Sylvia was last performed by ABT in 2013.
The 2016 Spring Gala will be held during the second week of the Met season, on Monday, May 16 at 6:30 P.M. The Gala performance will feature a World Premiere by Alexei Ratmansky set to Leonard Bernstein's Serenade after Plato's Symposium, with scenery and costumes by Jérôme Kaplan and lighting by Brad Fields. The World Premiere will be led by Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, Blaine Hoven, Calvin Royal III, Gabe Stone Shayer, Daniil Simkin, James Whiteside and Devon Teuscher. The evening will also feature Gillian Murphy in an excerpt from Sylvia, Hee Seo, Veronika Part and Cory Stearns in the vision scene from Act II of The Sleeping Beauty, Isabella Boylston and Jeffrey Cirio in the Pas de Ruban from La Fille mal gardée as well as a full performance of Ratmansky's Firebird led by Misty Copeland, Marcelo Gomes, Stella Abrera and Cory Stearns. In addition, guest artist Alessandra Ferri will perform the Pie Jesu solo from Kenneth MacMillan's Requiem, set to music by Gabriel Fauré and sung by soprano Ying Fang.
The second week of American Ballet Theatre's Spring season will feature two repertory programs of works choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky. The first program, Ratmansky's 2013 Shostakovich Trilogy will be given three performances, May 17, 20 and 21 evening. A triple bill of Ratmansky works, featuring the Ratmansky/Bernstein premiere, Seven Sonatas (2009) and Firebird (2012), will have four performances, May 18 matinee and evening, May 19 and the matinee of May 21.
Set to music by Dmitri Shostakovich and featuring scenery by George Tsypin, costumes by Keso Dekker and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, the Shostakovich Trilogy includes Symphony #9, Chamber Symphony and Piano Concerto #1. Polina Semionova, Marcelo Gomes, Herman Cornejo, Stella Abrera and Craig Salstein will lead the season's first performance of Symphony #9 on Tuesday, May 17. Joseph Gorak will debut in the ballet on Friday, May 20. James Whiteside, Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston and Sarah Lane will lead the opening night cast of Chamber Symphony, with Boylston dancing this role for the first time. Jeffrey Cirio, Devon Teuscher, Gillian Murphy and Cassandra Trenary will debut in these roles on Friday, May 20. Gillian Murphy, Cory Stearns, Maria Kochetkova and Daniil Simkin will lead the season's first performance of Piano Concerto #1. Symphony #9 received its World Premiere at New York City Center on October 18, 2012, led by Polina Semionova, Marcelo Gomes, Herman Cornejo, Simone Messmer and Craig Salstein. Chamber Symphony and Piano Concerto #1 both received their World Premieres at the Metropolitan Opera House on May 31, 2013, with Chamber Symphony danced by David Hallberg, Isabella Boylston, Paloma Herrera and Julie Kent, and Piano Concerto #1 led by Diana Vishneva, Cory Stearns, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev.
On Wednesday, May 18, the new Ratmansky ballet will include debuts by Jeffrey Cirio at the matinee and by Alexandre Hammoudi, Thomas Forster, Jose Sebastian, Tyler Maloney, ArRon Scott, Joseph Gorak and Hee Seo at the evening performance.
The season's first performance of Seven Sonatas, at the matinee on Wednesday, May 18, will be led by Veronika Part, Blaine Hoven, Hee Seo, Joseph Gorak, Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo. Thomas Forster will debut in the ballet at the evening performance on Wednesday, May 18. Set to keyboard sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, Seven Sonatas features costumes by Holly Hynes and lighting by Brad Fields. Seven Sonatas received its World Premiere at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York on October 2, 2009.
Misty Copeland, Marcelo Gomes, Stella Abrera and Cory Stearns will lead the performance of Firebird at the matinee on Wednesday, May 18. The evening performance on Wednesday, May 18 will feature Isabella Boylston as the Firebird, Alexandre Hammoudi as Ivan, Roman Zhurbin as Kaschei and Cassandra Trenary in her debut as the Maiden. Set to music by Igor Stravinsky, with sets by Simon Pastukh, costumes by Galina Solovyeva, lighting by Brad Fields and projections by Wendall K. Harrington, Ratmansky's Firebird received its World Premiere on March 29, 2012 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, danced by Natalia Osipova, Marcelo Gomes, Simone Messmer and David Hallberg.
Tickets for American Ballet Theatre's 2016 Metropolitan Opera House season, beginning at $20, are available online, at the Met box office or by phone at 212-362-6000. The Metropolitan Opera House is located on Broadway between 64th and 65th streets in New York City. For more information, visit ABT's website at www.abt.org.