New York and the Nureyev Tapes:
Here’s a run through of what we saw in New York this May!
On May 18th we made our debut visit to Lincoln Center’s Met Opera House where we saw American Ballet Theatre’s performance of Giselle featuring the highly broadcast David Hallberg and Natalia Osipova.
The historic ballet which triumphed from its very premiere on June 28, 1841 in France with the legendary Italian ballerina Carlotta Grisi in the lead continues to strike a remarkable chord with audiences today. The classical choreography of Giselle is based on the staging of the great French-Russian choreographer Marius Petipa.
The ballet tells the story of a peasant girl named Giselle who dies of a broken heart upon finding out that the one she loves has cheated her with his engagement to another.
Giselle is called from her grave to join a haunting group of supernatural women called the Wilis, young virgins who have all died of a broken heart, seeking to destroy those who have betrayed them by ruthlessly dancing the men to death. The Wilis target Giselle’s Albrecht, but Giselle finds it in her heart to forgive him and saves him from the dreadful fate.
Jerome Robbins Tribute: Fancy Free
On May 20th we trotted down to Lincoln Center once again, where we saw New York City Ballet perform a trio suite of Fancy Free, Dybbuk and West Side Story, celebrating the legendary partnership between Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein.
The first collaboration between Robbins and Bernstein, Fancy Free premiered in 1944 showcasing the exploits of three off-duty sailors in 1940’s wartime New York City, an echo to the scenes from Robbins own life. This ballet was the forerunner to Robbins’ and Bernstein’s Broadway hit On the Town.
Jerome Robbins Tribute: Dybbuk
Adding a new and haunting dimension to the term “monkey on your back”, Dybbuk is an abstraction on the play The Dybbuk or Between Two Worlds written by S. Ansky between 1913 and 1916. Robbin’s production focuses on the occult aspect of Russian-Jewish folklore whereby a lost and tormented spirit exists between worlds by inhabiting the susceptible mind of a living person through which it speaks and acts. Originally written in Russian, the play was later translated to Yiddish by Ansky himself.
S. Ansky whose actual name was Solomon Zanvel Rappoport was born in Vitebsk, Russia (now in Belarus) in 1863 and died in Warsaw, Poland on November 8, 1920. Ansky was a Russian-Jewish writer and folklorist best known for his play The Dybbuk.
Jerome Robbins Tribute: West Side Story
A modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in gang-ridden 1950’s New York, this work took the partnership between Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein to new heights. The mammoth Broadway hit West Side Story premiered in 1957, followed by the 1961 movie version which garnered 10 Academy Awards.
Hope these production silhouettes spark you to bring more ballet into your life!