'Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler' to Run 10/22-11/1 at Boston Opera House

Boston Ballet kicks off its 52nd season with Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler: A Ballet by John Neumeier. Captivating audiences with intensity and passion, Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler has been critically acclaimed as "a work of genius" (Clive Barnes, New York Post). Boston Ballet becomes only the fourth company in the world-after Hamburg Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and Royal Swedish Ballet-to present Neumeier's iconic work. Boston Ballet is also the first North American company to perform it. A musical tour-de-force, Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler: A Ballet by John Neumeier will feature the Boston Ballet Orchestra along with New World Chorale, Greater Boston's premiere choral ensemble, as well as accomplished American soprano and international opera singer Sarah Pelletier. Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler will run from October 22 to November 1, 2015 at the Boston Opera House.

"It has been one of my longtime goals for Boston Ballet to present this brilliant work," explains Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet. "This work is an ode to, and touches the essence of, humankind. If you have ever experienced birth, death, relationships, love, emptiness, jubilation, you can relate to it."
Since its premiere in 1975 by the Hamburg Ballet, Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler: A Ballet by John Neumeier has remained one of the defining works of Neumeier's prolific career. Choreographed to reflect Mahler's timeless score, Neumeier internalized and "translated the feelings experienced and images suggested while hearing Mahler's Third Symphony into the movement" (John Neumeier). The result is a stunning expression of the virtuosity of Mahler's monumental score - a skillful interpretation that stays "true to the subtext of Mahler's grandiose symphony" (Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times). Neumeier dedicated the fourth movement of Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler to the memory of his esteemed mentor and famed choreographer John Cranko. The full-length work will be performed in its entirety without an intermission.

The 30-minute first movement uniquely showcases 29 male dancers using their bodies to form complex geometric shapes through challenging partnering. Within the six movements of Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, Neumeier presents a dynamic spectrum of images and emotion; however, as Neumeier explains, just as a dancer is given the artistic liberty to interpret the movement, the audience should also be given the freedom to "feel what the images are projecting to [them] personally." Apart from its physical, demanding nature, Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler is also an intense emotional and spiritual journey for both the viewer and the dancer. While working with Boston Ballet in August, Neumeier called upon each dancer to become personally and emotionally invested in the work. Neumeier will return to work with the Company on October 15 until the premiere on October 22.

Rarely performed due to the immense orchestral forces it requires, Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D minor is his longest orchestral work, lasting approximately 100 minutes. In addition to a greatly enhanced Boston Ballet Orchestra-Mahler's piece harnesses the power of a full chorus and a female vocalist that both appear in the fourth and fifth movements. New World Chorale, one of Boston's most in-demand choral ensembles, and soprano Sarah Pelletier, who has been praised by The Boston Globe for her "purity of tone and expression," will join Jonathan McPhee, Music Director and Principal Conductor, and the Boston Ballet Orchestra in performing Mahler's monumental piece. The combined forces of the Boston Ballet Orchestra and New World Chorale will create a truly immersive experience, spilling out of the orchestra pit and into the opera boxes of the Boston Opera House. Known for his grand orchestrations, Mahler himself envisioned his Third Symphony to be "something the likes of which the world has never yet heard! In it the whole of nature finds a voice." Like Neumeier, Mahler wanted his work to serve as a canvas for the audience member's imagination to run wild. Even though Mahler's Third Symphony was written more than a century ago, Neumeier's contemporary choreography has been recognized as a strikingly appropriate partner for Mahler's late-Romantic score.

Dance legend John Neumeier is one of the leading choreographers and artistic directors of the 21st century. As one of the longest-serving artistic directors in the world of dance, Neumeier has led the Hamburg Ballet since 1973 where he has choreographed a diverse range of works that continue to be performed by premiere ballet companies across the globe. Renowned for his skillful interpretations and athletic choreography, Neumeier is a recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Dance Magazine Award (1983), the Nijinsky Award for Lifetime Achievement, and most recently, the 2015 Kyoto Prize in the arts and philosophy category. Neumeier dedicated the fourth movement of Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler to the memory of his esteemed mentor John Cranko. Of the many celebrated works Neumeier has created, Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler has been hailed as "his greatest and most deserved success" (Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times).

All performances of Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler: A Ballet by John Neumeier take place at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111):

Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 7:30pm
Friday, October 23, 2015 at 7:30pm
Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 1pm
Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 7:30pm
Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 1pm
Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7:30pm
Friday, October 30, 2015 at 7:30pm
Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 7:30pm
Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 1pm

Tickets start at $35. For more information, visit www.bostonballet.org or call 617-695-6955.

Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler: A Ballet by John Neumeier performance length is 1 hour and 50 minutes without an intermission.

Choreography: John Neumeier
Staging: Leslie McBeth, Janusz Mazon & Kevin Haigen
Music: Gustav Mahler's 3rd Symphony
Costume Design: John Neumeier
Lighting Concept: John Neumeier
Lighting Execution: Ralf Merkel

About Boston Ballet:
Since 1963, Boston Ballet's internationally acclaimed performances of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary ballets, combined with a dedication to world class dance education and community initiative programs, have made the institution a leader in its field, with a 52-year history of promoting excellence and access to dance.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Executive Director Max Hodges, the Company maintains a diverse repertoire, ranging from full-length ballets to new works by some of today's finest choreographers. Boston Ballet's second company, Boston Ballet II, is comprised of dancers who gain experience by performing with the Company and independently, presenting special programs to audiences throughout the Northeast.

Programming for Boston Ballet's 2015-2016 season includes Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler: A Ballet by John Neumeier, making Boston Ballet the first North American Company to perform the work; captivating classical works such as John Cranko's Onegin and Mikko Nissinen's Swan Lake; masterpieces by world-renowned choreographers such as George Balanchine and 20th century masters Leonid Yakobson and Léonide Massine; and two highly anticipated world premieres by Karole Armitage and Yury Yanowsky.

Boston Ballet School, the official school of Boston Ballet, has a long-standing dedication to excellence and access. Led by Director Margaret Tracey, the School reaches more than 5,000 students (toddler to adult) each year through Boston Ballet School classes, the Summer Dance Workshop, Pre-professional Summer Dance Program and the Pre-Professional Training held at three studio locations in Boston, Newton, and Marblehead.

Boston Ballet's nationally-acclaimed education programs include Citydance, Adaptive Dance, and ECI On Location. The programs are offered in partnership with the Boston Public Schools and in communities throughout the city and region.

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