Performances

Program Notes

La Source

Music: Léo Delibes (excerpts from La Source, 1866, and Le Pas des Fleurs, 1867, arranged as Naila Waltz, c. 1880s)
Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Staging: Peter Boal
Lighting Design: Ronald Bates, recreated by Randall G. Chiarelli
Duration: 24 minutes
Premiere: November 23, 1968; New York City Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: June 2, 2017

© Lindsay Thomas

The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of George Balanchine’s La Source is generously underwritten by Bob Benson. The works of George Balanchine performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet are made possible in part by The Louise Nadeau Endowed Fund.

George Balanchine loved the music of Léo Delibes, considering him one of the three great composers for ballet, along with Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky. Balanchine returned to the music of Delibes throughout his career. La Source is a hybrid work, drawn from several earlier Balanchine ballets and first presented in 1968 as an extended pas de deux for Violette Verdy and John Prinz. The legendary Verdy was a seasoned artist with piquant technique and theatrical flair, while Prinz was just coming into his own as a dancer. In 1969, Balanchine added dances for a second ballerina and eight women from his 1965 Pas de Deux and Divertissement (which itself was an extension of his 1950 Sylvia: Pas de Deux) and a revision of his “Naila Waltz,” choreographed in 1951 as part of Music and Dance, a presentation by the National Orchestral Society at Carnegie Hall.

Reminiscing about La Source, Verdy wrote, “Mr. B’s idea of France in La Source was almost a platonic ideal of the French. It was France through the eyes of an educated person from St. Petersburg who remembered how much France and Russia had in common and how much France brought to Russia with Catherine and the tsar and all the artists that came to St. Petersburg—Petipa, Didelot, the builders, and the constructors. The city is built like a beautiful theater, like Paris is a theater. …For me, dancing La Source was being home once more. The movements Mr. B gave me and that music—they are like family, they are in my genes.”

Notes by Doug Fullington.

Opus 19/The Dreamer

Music: Sergei Prokofiev (Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19, 1915-1917)
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Staging: Peter Boal
Costume Design: Bob Benson
Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton, recreated by Perry Silvey
Duration: 23 minutes
Premiere: June 14, 1979; New York City Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: June 2, 2017

Benjamin Griffiths © Angela Sterling

Benjamin Griffiths © Angela Sterling

The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Jerome Robbins’ Opus 19/The Dreamer is generously underwritten by Marcella McCaffray.

Jerome Robbins choreographed Opus 19/The Dreamer for Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1979, at the end of the single season the famed Russian dancer was a member of New York City Ballet before becoming artistic director of American Ballet Theatre in 1980. The double title refers both to the ballet’s music—Prokofiev’s first violin concerto, composed on the eve of the October Revolution—and its moody protagonist. The score is haunting, dreamy, and ethereal. The dance recalls the atmosphere of earlier Robbins ballets, Facsimile (1946) and Age of Anxiety (1950), both with music by Leonard Bernstein, which explored the psychology of the human experience and whose companions walked a grey line between reality and imagination. Baryshnikov, who partnered ballerina Patricia McBride at the premiere, has suggested an autobiographical tone for Robbins’ dreamer: “He’s a bit of an outsider, a bit of a loner, a bit of a thinking man; there’s a bit of action, a bit of unrealized romance, which is very much Jerry’s life.”

Peter Boal danced the role of the Dreamer and chose the ballet for his retirement performance at New York City Ballet in June 2005, partnering Wendy Whelan. He remembers, “Jerry and I worked for endless hours on Opus. The ballet was very dear to him and he entrusted it to very few after Misha. During rehearsals, he spoke of the ethnicity of the music and, in turn, the choreography, referring to Russian peasants and Slavic folk dances. The movements were at times grounded and tribal and alternately manic and meditative. I felt I always gave 100% in everything I danced, but for Opus Jerry wanted more—a level of physicality and commitment that was almost beyond human ability.”

Notes by Doug Fullington.

Pictures at an Exhibition

(Modest Mussorgsky / Alexei Ratmansky)

The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Pictures at an Exhibition is generously underwritten by Patty Edwards.

More notes coming soon.

LA SOURCE IS BALANCHINE AT HIS MOST ELEGANT—A PERFECT APERITIF. You’ll smell the perfume in this sublime work originally created for Violette Verdy. Opus 19 is a darker work by Jerome Robbins originally created for Mikhail Baryshnikov. It is also a work I danced for most of my career, working closely with Robbins in the studio. It’s an emotional and physical marathon with enormous rewards for audience and artist alike. Our final ballet is by Alexei Ratmansky (Don Quixote, Concerto DSCH), a man as humble as he is talented. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is paired with Wassily Kandinsky’s vivid geometric images; the work showcases dancers as priceless masterpieces —just like this season. You won’t want to miss a bit of it.

-Peter Boal

Events

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June 1 | $15 (Lecture Only) or $30 (Lecture & Dress Rehearsal)

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Run Times

PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION is approximately 2 hours including two intermissions.

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