Music: Gabriel Fauré (from Pelléas et Melisande, 1898, and Shylock, 1889)
Choreography: George Balanchine, © The George Balanchine Trust
Staging: Elyse Borne
Costume Design: Karinska
Lighting Design: Mark Stanley
Duration: 31 minutes
Premiere: April 13, 1967; New York City Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: June 1, 2006

Rachel Foster, Benjamin Griffiths, and Chalnessa Eames in Emeralds.
Photo © Angela Sterling

Emeralds is a romantic evocation of France. It is also Balanchine's comment on the French school of dancing and its rich heritage. France is the birthplace of classical ballet and French is its language. 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."

Recommended Listening:
A Balanchine Album, New York City Ballet Orchestra/Robert Irving, Nonesuch (also includes music for Serenade, Theme and Variations, and Agon

Notes by Doug Fullington.

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