Boston Ballet Presents RHAPSODY

Boston Ballet Presents RHAPSODY

Boston Ballet's season concludes with Rhapsody, a mixed-repertory program featuring rarely-seen works by George Balanchine and Leonid Yakobson, followed by a world premiere by Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Paulo Arrais. Rhapsody runs May 16-June 9 at the Citizens Bank Opera House.

"As artistic director, it is my great pleasure to assemble this program of important works by revolutionary choreographers George Balanchine and Leonid Yakobson with a debut for Boston Ballet Principal Paulo Arrais who has shown tremendous choreographic talent," said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. "This program also highlights the versatility of Boston Ballet dancers by balancing challenging choreography across a spectrum of diverse works."

Principal Dancer Paulo Arrais' ELA, Rhapsody in Blue is a world premiere and his first work choreographed for the Citizen Bank Opera House stage. Featuring a cast of 14 men and one central female dancer, the work is set to a jazzy and sultry score by George Gershwin with scenic and costume design by Nissinen. Inspired by his mother and other female influences, the ballet tells a deeply personal story of one woman's experience of defying expectations and rising against the odds. Arrais hopes this ballet will generate conversation while celebrating powerful women everywhere.

A series of works by transformative Russian choreographer Leonid Yakobson includes Vestris, Rodin, and Pas de Quatre. Specifically created by Yakobson for a young Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vestris is a seven-minute solo based on Auguste Vestris, the most famous of the Vestris dynasty of dancers in the 18th century. This marks Boston Ballet's premiere of Vestris and is the 50th anniversary of the Vestris premiere, when Baryshnikov won the gold medal performing this role at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1969.

Rodin is inspired by the works of French sculptor August Rodin. Rodin, a Boston Ballet premiere, features a suite of duets or "ballet miniatures" (short choreographic studies on a given subject) set to the music of Claude Debussy and Allen Berg that explore various aspects of love suggested in Rodin's sculptures including adolescent love, mature love, and erotic love.

In 1845, choreographer Jules Perrot created Pas de Quatre for the Romantic era's finest ballerinas-Marie Taglioni, Fanny Cerrito, Carlotta Grisi, and Lucille Grahn. Each of the variations showcased the dancers' specific talents while amplifying rivalries among them. This version was performed just four times; afterwards, the authentic choreography was lost as no notation was preserved. In 1971, Yakobson created his own version of Pas de Quatre, but this choreography created a sense of sisterhood between the dancers, where the four women link arms and move together as one. Boston Ballet premiered Pas de Quatre in 2015.

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 was choreographed by George Balanchine to pay homage to the grandeur of St. Petersburg, where he was born. It was first staged as Ballet Imperial in 1941 for American Ballet Caravan, which was an early predecessor of New York City Ballet where Balanchine was Ballet Master and Principal Choreographer. After several modifications, including eliminating tutus and adding details to showcase the advancement of ballet, it was renamed Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1973.

Tickets start at $37. For more information, visit or call 617.695.6955.

Photo Credit: Rosalie O'Connor

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