JEWELS Performances in Seattle - PNB

Performances

Program Notes

Emeralds

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
PNB Premiere: June 1, 2006

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.”

Notes by Doug Fullington.

Rubies

Music: Igor Stravinsky (Capriccio for piano and orchestra, 1929)
Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Staging: Elyse Borne
Costume Design: Karinska
Lighting Design: Mark Stanley
Duration: 22 minutes
Premiere: April 13, 1967; New York City Ballet
PNB Premiere: February 3, 1988

Rubies is the central ballet of Balanchine’s full-length Jewels, which premiered in its entirety in 2006 at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Choreographed for Patricia McBride and Edward Villella, two of the most vivacious dancers in American dance history, plus a supporting female lead and a corps of twelve, Rubies effuses glam wit and jazzy chic. The saucy leading couple plays and competes as equals, and a second, siren-like ballerina takes on the men of the corps de ballet, requiring all four of them to partner her at once. Former PNB Director of Education Jeanie Thomas wrote, “‘Capriciousness’ [referring to the title of Stravinsky’s score] might also be said to characterize Balanchine’s choreography, which is half elegant, half street-smart. With its jutting hips, flexed feet, show biz kicks and witty counter-rhythms, Rubies is a many-faceted example of the exuberantly distorted classicism that Balanchine invented to render Stravinsky’s musical idiom three-dimensionally.”

Notes by Doug Fullington.

Diamonds

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Symphony No. 3 in D major, Op. 29, 1875, first movement omitted)
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

Diamonds is George Balanchine’s homage to his native St. Petersburg, Russia. The ballet pays homage to Balanchine’s youth: the grandeur of St. Petersburg, the Maryinsky Theater, and the Imperial Ballet, where Balanchine trained. Echoes of Petipa’s Swan Lake and Raymonda abound, and the centerpiece of the ballet is an intimate pas de deux, potent in its chivalrous reserve, for the ballerina and her cavalier. At its end, the entire cast joins the principal couple for a gloriously spirited polonaise.

Diamonds is the third and final ballet of Balanchine’s Jewels. At its New York City Ballet premiere in 1967, Jewels was touted as the first “plotless full-length ballet.” The story goes that Balanchine was inspired to create the ballet after a visit to the New York jeweler Claude Arpels of Van Cleef and Arpels. While each of its three ballets—Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds—may not follow any definitive narrative, like real gems themselves, each can be viewed in multiple ways and from a variety of angles. The great American dance critic, Arlene Croce, described Jewels as “unsurpassed as a Balanchine primer, incorporating in a single evening every important article of faith to which this choreographer subscribed and a burst of heresy, too.” Balanchine himself, in his typical noncommittal way, stated, “Of course, I have always liked jewels; after all, I am an Oriental, from Georgia in the Caucasus. I like the color of gems, the beauty of stones, and it was wonderful to see how our costume workshop, under Karinska’s direction, came so close to the quality of real stones (which were of course too heavy for the dancers to wear!).”

Notes by Doug Fullington.

Emeralds © Angela Sterling

Emeralds © Angela Sterling

GEORGE BALANCHINE’S MASTERFUL HOMAGE TO BALLET celebrates its 50th anniversary adorned with new costume and scenic designs created for PNB by Jerome Kaplan (Roméo et Juliette, Cendrillon, Giselle, Don Quixote). Emeralds whispers of grace, courtesy, and French perfume; Rubies sizzles with American sass; and Diamonds conjures the glittering magnificence of old St. Petersburg.

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Events

Friday Preview

September 15th | The Phelps Center

PNB’s popular Friday Previews are hour-long studio rehearsals hosted by Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB artistic staff, featuring Company dancers in excerpts from upcoming ballets.

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First Look Gala

September 22nd | McCaw Hall

Spend the evening with guest of honor Jérôme Kaplan, designer of new costumes and scenery for Jewels, at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s annual gala event. After an exclusive cocktail party and dazzling performance, guests will be whisked backstage with Company dancers for a glamorous black-tie dinner and auction, followed by dessert, drinks, and dancing onstage.

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PNB Conversations & Dress Rehearsal

September 21st | McCaw Hall

PNB Conversations offers in-depth interviews with choreographers, stagers, designers, dancers, and other artists during the hour preceding dress rehearsal reveal the creative process involved in the development of a ballet.

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Ballet Talk

Free for Ticketholders

Join PNB Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington or guest speakers for an engaging 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design, and the process of bringing ballet to the stage.

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Listen to our Past Podcasts

Meet the Artist

Free for Ticketholders

Ever want to ask what it’s like to dance a masterpiece, participate in the creation of a new work, or wear pointe shoes? Here’s your chance. Skip the post-show traffic and join Artistic Director Peter Boal or a member of PNB’s artistic staff with PNB Company dancers for a lively question-and-answer session following each performance.

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Run Times

JEWELS is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes including two intermissions.

2017-18 Season

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