BOSTON BALLET PRESENTS FANCY FREE TO CLOSE THE 2011-2012 SEASON
Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, Harald Lander’s Etudes, and Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto Take The Stage at The Boston Opera House
Boston Ballet presents Fancy Free, a three-ballet program, May 10-20 at The Boston Opera House to bring the 2011-2012 season to a triumphant close. The program includes the headliner, Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, alongside Harald Lander’s Études and Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto.
Robbins’ Fancy Free was the master choreographer’s first ballet, premiered on April 18, 1944. It would become one of his greatest successes and one of the most popular ballets in American history. The premiere of Fancy Free is known as a thrilling evening in ballet history. Robbins, a member of American Ballet Theatre at the time, danced in the original cast and the work marked the emergence of both Robbins’ talent as a choreographer and the talents of a young composer, Leonard Bernstein. Weeks earlier, Berstein’s name had exploded on the national scene when he stepped in, without rehearsal, to conduct the New York Philharmonic. The ballet’s set design by Oliver Smith, who at the time was only twenty-five years of age, became the first of a series of iconic designs he would create for American Ballet Theatre.
Fancy Free follows the story of sailors on leave in New York City on a summer night. The sailors get into a bit of romantic mischief at a bar competing over the attentions of a girl. Each sailor has a distinct character and flavor that he presents to win her favor.
Robbins’ Fancy Free would later become a widely-popular musical comedy entitled On the Town, which introduced several classic songs including “New York, New York”. It was later adapted for the screen sensation of the same name starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Robbins and Bernstein also went on to collaborate on the smash hit, West Side Story.
Boston Ballet’s Robbins repertoire also includes Afternoon of a Faun, which received critical acclaim when the company performed it in 2011, and Antique Epigraphs. When Boston Ballet performed Antique Epigraphs in 2011, it became the only company outside of New York City Ballet to perform the work.
Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto, a company premiere for Boston Ballet, opens the program. Boston Ballet’s Martins repertoire also includes Distant Light, a work he created for the company in 2004. Martins, Ballet Master in Chief for New York City Ballet, choreographed Barber Violin Concerto for NYCB in 1988. This work features two couples, one classical and one contemporary. The couples change partners through the three distinct movements set to Samuel Barber. Barber’s masterful music evokes distinct styles of movement from each couple from melancholy, to lyrical, to energetic.
Danish dancer and choreographer Harald Lander’s Études completes Fancy Free. Études is considered Lander’s most acclaimed and popular choreographic work. The work premiered in 1948 with the Royal Danish Ballet and remains one of the most famous Danish ballets in the international repertory. It has an original score by Carl Czerny, arranged by Knudage Riisäger.
The work was recently been restored at the request of Harald Lander’s wife, Lise. In 2011, with the assistance of Thomas Lund and Nikolaj Hubbe of the Royal Danish Ballet, Lise returned the ballet to its origins and purest form. Boston Ballet is the first company to present this refined version after Royal Danish Ballet. Études was staged for Boston Ballet by Lund.
The one-act ballet has been referred to as an “homage to classical ballet training.” It follows the dancers from the five basic positions to the most difficult of combinations and explores the hard work in the rehearsal studio in contrast to the brilliance of a stage performance. The work shows the different facets of the art form, beginning simply with dancers at a barre and ending with a sequence of thrilling choreography. Lander said of the work, “Études means so much to me, because this ballet is an expression for myself and for my thoughts on dance. Dancing is not just delivering some steps to the audience. The purpose of ballet is, increasingly so, to combine spirit, dance and music.”
All performances of Fancy Free will take place at The Boston Opera House:
Thursday, May 10, 7:30 PM
Friday, May 11, 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 12, 1:00 PM
Saturday, May 12, 7:30 PM
Sunday, May 13, 1:00 PM
Thursday, May 17, 7:30 PM
Friday, May 18, 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 19, 7:30 PM
Sunday, May 20, 1:00 PM
For more information, please visit Boston Ballet’s website.
2011-2012 Season Tickets
Individual tickets, subscriptions, and Group Sales tickets are on sale now. Subscriptions and individual tickets are available online 24 hours a day at www.bostonballet.org, by phone at 617.695.6955, and in person at the box office at 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, Mon–Fri, 9:30am-5pm. Tickets start at $25 for season ballets. Group Sales tickets for parties of 10 or more are available through the box office at 617.695.6955.
About Boston Ballet
Since 1963, Boston Ballet has been one of the leading dance companies in the world on stage, in the studio and in the community. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Executive Director Barry Hughson, the Company maintains an internationally acclaimed repertoire and the largest ballet school in North America, Boston Ballet School.
Boston Ballet maintains a repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to new works by some of today’s finest choreographers. Boston Ballet’s second company, Boston Ballet II, is comprised of dancers who gain experience by performing with the Company and independently, presenting special programs to audiences throughout the Northeast.
Boston Ballet School, the official school of Boston Ballet, has a long-standing dedication to providing excellence and access to dance education. It reaches more than 10,000 students, ages 9-month to adult each year through its four core programs: Children’s Program, Classical Ballet Program, Adult Dance Program and Pre-Professional Program. Boston Ballet’s award-winning community outreach initiatives include Citydance, Taking Steps, and Adaptive Dance. The wide array of dance programs are held at three studio locations in Boston, Newton, and Marblehead with additional programs throughout New England, as well as at community centers and in the Boston Public Schools.
Boston Balletgratefully acknowledges the following institutional partners:
State Street Corporation, 2011 Presenting Sponsor, The Nutcracker
The Boston Foundation
Massachusetts Cultural Council
National Endowment for the Arts