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Classical Ballet Concerto Barocco. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux . Agon. Tarantella . Symphony in C (Ballet in one act)
World famous Bolshoi Ballet and Opera theatre (established 1776) - Small Stage


Schedule for Concerto Barocco. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux . Agon. Tarantella . Symphony in C (Ballet in one act) 2020

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky
Composer: Georges Bizet
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Choreography: George Balanchine

Orchestra: Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra

Premiere of this production: March 12, 2004.

Concerto Barocco

Ballet in one act
to music by Johann Sebastian Bach

This Balanchine’s masterpiece has a solid history. At first it was not more than an exercise - Balanchine staged it for the School of American Ballet. Nonetheless he included that piece in the program of the historic tour of American Ballet Caravan to South America at the beginning of the World War II. Then the work entered the repertory of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. At last, on October 11, 1948, Concerto Barocco among two other ballets was shown at New York City Ballet’s first performance.

In the first movement of the concerto, vivace, the two ballerinas personify the violins, while a corps of eight women accompany them. In the second movement, largo, the male dancer joins the leading woman in a pas de deux. In the concluding section, allegro, the entire ensemble expresses the syncopation and rhythmic vitality of Bach’s music.

  • Characters and performers

    Agon

    Ballet in one act
    Igor Stravinsky

    Sacred Dozen

    Supersophisticated in its music and choreography, Agon created by late Stravinsky and mature Balanchine is undoubtedly "a joke of two genius­es". Calculated to highly experienced "balanchinists", first and most (both performers and specta­tors) , it crowns by itself the so-called Grecian-inspired triptych by Balanchine and Stravinsky.

    Owing to sophisticated freak of mind and delicate calculation, the choreog­rapher and the composer assembled, by common efforts, separate serial "building blocks" into their own "ideal urban ballet" which Agon is like, as a result. His dancers, perfectly working, but thinking machines, as they were called by Balanchine himself, served as initial material for these "blocks" if any troubles or disturbances could be seen in functioning of this "divine mechanism", the whole main structure of the ballet started going to ruin and the agony began.

    There proved to be nothing Grecian in Agon but its name, translated as "struggle", "argument" or "contest". But when in 1954 Stravinsky and Balanchine set to work on Agon, they never got into argument. On the contrary, they worked in harmony, enjoying their joint creative process.

    At the time Stravinsky took a great interest in dodecaphonia, that told on the score of the ballet. It was just number twelve to be the key to the composition, where playing a curious game on numerology can be observed. A twelve symbolies a full circle in many metaphysical conceptions. The creators of the ballet played the idea up from different points. Certainly, there are twelve dancers (8 female and 4 male) engaged in the ballet.

    Naturally, it consists of twelve scenes, where all the different forms of solos, pas de deux, pas de trois, pas de quatre are presented. These dancing forms are also typical to the 17th century, when ballet just started arising under the French Royal Court. The authors of Agon even adopted from a manual of court dancing melodies of partic­ular ancient dances, such as saraband, galliard, various branles, which were introduced into the ballet, interpreted in modern way. But in Agon these melodies, as well as classical dance itself, in general submit to the 20th century art regu­larities. They carry a powerful impulse of energy, escaping through a dancer, the medium.

    Violetta Mainietse (text from the handbook, abridged)

  • Characters and performers

    Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux

    Ballet in one act
    to music from the ballet Swan Lake

    Two Words about History

    A showcase of great but joyful technique, this eight-minute piece was staged to music that the composer created for Act III of Swan Lake. It was written for Anna Sobeshchanskaya, a prima ballerina of the Bolshoi who was to make her debut in the main role at the fourth performance of the first production of the ballet. She wanted to enrich the part of Odile.

    Because the music was not in the original score, it was not published with the rest of Swan Lake, and disappeared for more than half a century. When it was discovered in the composer’s memorial house in Klin in 1953, Balanchine got permission to use it for his own creation.

  • Characters and performers

    Tarantella

    Ballet in one act
    to music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk

    Tarantella, as is the case with many of Balanchine’s choreographic miniatures, has the weight and value of a full-length ballet. Created in 1964 for Patricia McBride and Edward Villella, Tarantella at once became so popular with the public that it may be described as one of the long-standing hits in New York City Ballet’s repertoire.
    The ballet owes its success in no small measure to the rousing music of the talented pianist and compos­er, Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869), who toured Europe several times and was known in his lifetime as ’the American Chopin’.

    Edward Villella has described this superlatively difficult for artists ballet - it is like an endless marathon for two dance virtuosos - as follows:
    ’The dancers of the Tarantella have striking characters. Who is this fellow? He is unsophisticated, open, sparkles with merriment, and he knows that he is a dash­ing dancer. Popular with all the villagers, he is full of the joys of life, and happy: he is dancing, together with the girl he loves, the tarantella which they know from their childhood, both for those who have gathered to watch them, and for themselves, just for the fun of it. The style of the dance is in his blood, together with his passion for his partner. Of prime importance here is the cou­ple’s relationship: the flashing glances, understood without a word, which they exchange during the dance, are an intrinsic characteristic of this ballet. This exchange of glances amounts to a playful dia­logue with each other and, at the same time, with the music, which they now overlook, now skillfully over­take, setting a new, even quicker tempo.

  • Characters and performers

    Symphony in C

    Ballet by in one act
    to music by Georges Bizet

    The Symphony of a Palace

    Le Palais de cristal, one of the most famous ballets of the 20th century, was presented in June, 1947, at the Paris Opera, and in March, 1948, it was performed in New York, by Balanchine’s own company, as Symphony in C, the title under which it is danced to this day by companies around the globe.

    The story of the creation of this Balanchine masterpiece is remarkable and comes close to being improbable. In l947, the Paris Opera Ballet was left without a choreographer. So George Balanchine was invited to transfer to the Opera three ballets from his New York repertoire. Having fulfilled his obligations in this respect, Balanchine became so enamoured of the artistic charm of the Paris dancers that he decided to present them with an unplanned work - and this was to be Le Palais cristal. The metaphorical title, an image of the Paris school of clas­sical dance, was not accidental. In addition to which, Le Palais cristal, is a choreographic portrait of the Paris Opera Ballet: its hierarchical structure (which, in his company, Balanchine did away with) is preserved and secured in the structure of each movement. At the cen­ter are the etoile and the premier danseur, slightly fur­ther off are the two soloist couples, while closer to the backdrop is the corps de ballet. All this is a reflec­tion of the entrenched, spatial and professional laws of the Paris Academic Company. Balanchine had no intention of infringing these laws, he admired them and brought out their artistic wisdom.

    The seventeen-year-old Georges Bizet had written his 1st (Youthful) Symphony as a diploma work in the year - 1855 - that he had completed his studies at the Conservatoire. Having won the Grand Prix de Rome, Bizet went off to Italy and was to write no more symphonies, while the score of Symphony in С gathered dust in the Conservatoire library until 1935, when it was given its first public performance - which, incidentally, was not a great success. Balanchine heard about this from Stravinsky. The former read the score, adapted it for the stage, and only after this did he begin to appreci­ate the musical world of the symphonic Bizet as much as he did that of the operatic Bizet.

    By giving each of the four movements its own contingent of dancers and bringing all the partici­pants together in an exultant finale, Balanchine too achieved an exemplary ’reading’ of the music. Balanchine’s text follows that of Bizet, repeating the flow of the music and the pattern of the musical form in a skilful design and exquisite configurations. Theme, elaboration, recapitulation, general intonation, dynam­ic play and, finally, the very sound of the orchestra, its instrumental color, its agility - all this is translated into the language of choreography with a truly hypnot­ic skill.

    Balanchine has made a ballet about ballet. If one was to attempt to answer the question, what is its signifi­cance, in a single word, this word would be genius. The genius of the ensemble, the structural genius of the grand classical pas, each of the four sections of which - entree, adagio, variations, coda - Balanchine embellished choreographically and developed symphonically, deploying them in space and uniting them in time - into the flow of the dance. Le Palais de cristal is an ode to the dance logic of the grand classi­cal pas and, at the same time, an ode to the dance genius of the classical ballet company.

    Vadim Gaevsky (text from the handbook, abridged)

  • Characters and performers

    Additional information






    Schedule for Concerto Barocco. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux . Agon. Tarantella . Symphony in C (Ballet in one act) 2020


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