During the summer of 2016, New York City Ballet made a triumphant return to Paris for a three-week season at the historic Théâtre du Châtelet. The engagement’s closing night performance, featuring four ballets by NYCB co-founder George Balanchine to the music of French composers, will now air as a special two-part Great Performances broadcast on consecutive Fridays, February 17 and February 24 at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS.
The first program, New York City Ballet in Paris opens with Walpurgisnacht Ballet, set to music by Charles Gounod, and originally choreographed for a Paris Opera Ballet production of the opera Faust in 1975. First performed as an independent work by NYCB in 1980, Walpurgisnacht Ballet is a joyful embodiment of classical choreography, ending with a surging finale that sends 24 ballerinas soaring across the stage. The cast for Walpurgisnacht Ballet includes Sara Mearns, Adrian Danchig-Waring, and Lauren Lovette. The first program culminates with La Valse, set to the music of Maurice Ravel, and created in 1951. A neo-Romantic, narrative work, La Valse depicts a young woman at a ball who is simultaneously horrified and fascinated by her own vanity, and finds herself strangely drawn to a figure of Death.
The second program, New York City Ballet Symphony in C, opens with Sonatine, a pas de deux of polished simplicity and emotional interplay to the music of Maurice Ravel. Created in 1975 for the French-born dancers Violette Verdy and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, it is danced here by Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz, with solo pianist Elaine Chelton. The finale of the two-part Great Performances special is Balanchine’s Symphony in C, a signature work of the New York City Ballet to a score by Georges Bizet. This landmark ballet in four movements is performed by more than 50 dancers, including Tiler Peck, Andrew Veyette, Teresa Reichlen, Tyler Angle, Alston Macgill, Anthony Huxley, Brittany Pollack, and Taylor Stanley. The program will also feature music performed by l’Orchestre Prométhée led by NYCB Resident Conductor Daniel Capps.
Tune in Fridays, February 17 and February 24 at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS.