Boston Ballet’s 2011-2012 season celebrates Mikko Nissinen’s 10th Anniversary

March 15, 2011

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BOSTON BALLET’S 2011-2012 SEASON CELEBRATES ARTISTIC DIRECTOR MIKKO NISSINEN’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Boston Ballet’s Thrilling Season of Dance Features Classics, New  Works and Final Season of Current Nutcracker Production

BOSTON, MA – March 14, 2011 – Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen announced today the programming for the 2011-2012 season. Boston Ballet’s 48th season, its third full season at The Boston Opera House, includes masterful story ballets such as John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet and Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote. The season also features the sixth annual Night of Stars, three diverse repertory programs, and the New England favorite, The Nutcracker, in its final season with the current sets and costumes. The season is also marked as Nissinen’s 10th anniversary season. Nissinen joined the company as Artistic Director in 2001 and has since redefined the Company’s image on stage, in the studio and in the community.

“We are thrilled to unveil our 2011-2012 season at The Boston Opera House,” said Nissinen. “We are only two years away from Boston Ballet’s 50th anniversary season, and the company has more momentum than ever. I can’t wait to share these classic story ballets and fresh, new works with our audiences – as well as one phenomenal, final presentation of this production of The Nutcracker. With this season, Boston Ballet continues to present a diverse range of repertoire that excites, engages and challenges our audiences. It will be an especially exciting season for me, as it marks my tenth year with the Company and is a great time to celebrate how far we’ve come together.”

Boston Ballet’s 2011-2012 season begins on Saturday, October 29 with Night of Stars followed by Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, November 3-13, and Nissinen’s The Nutcracker, November 25-December 31. After more than 20 years on stage, the 2011 Nutcracker run will mark the final season that the current production by Helen Pond and Herbert Senn, and costumes by David Walker, will be presented. The Company returns to the stage in 2012 with a repertory program, featuring Florence Clerc’s world premiere staging of Les Sylphides, Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, and George Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements, February 9-19, 2012. Boston Ballet is hosting a ‘Your Choice’ online contest now through April 7, allowing fans to pick the name of this program. For more information visit the Boston Ballet website. 

Play with Fire continues the season with three cutting-edge works including Jorma Elo’s Sharp Side of Dark, a revival of Jiří Kylián’s Bella Figura, and a Company premiere of Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, featuring music of The Rolling Stones, March 1-11.  Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote takes the stage next, April 26-May 6, and Fancy Free, featuring Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto, and Harald Lander’s Etudes, May 10-20, concludes the season.

Nissinen’s 10th anniversary season presents Boston Ballet’s signature range of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works – a wide-ranging repertoire that Nissinen has curated during his decade leading the Company. In his tenure with Boston Ballet, Nissinen has increased the Company’s neo-classical and contemporary repertoire, as well as obtained the finest classical story ballets. Nissinen joined Boston Ballet in 2001 after dancing with San Francisco Ballet as a principal for ten years, directing Marin Ballet in San Rafeal, California and later, Alberta Ballet in Calgary, Canada. Nissinen’s direction of Boston Ballet has positioned the company as one of the leading ballet organizations in the world, acclaimed for its excellence, artistry and versatility. He has succeeded in engaging new audiences by making Boston Ballet inclusive to the community through a wide-ranging repertoire, increased engagement opportunities, and a high level of visibility on local, national, and international levels.

Highlights from Nissinen’s ten years with Boston Ballet include the Company’s first international touring engagements in 16 years to Spain, Korea and Canada, which received critical acclaim; appointment of Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo, who has since created seven world premiere works for the Company; leading in the dual role as Artistic Director and Interim Executive Director from 2008-2009; the major redesign of the organization’s image, branding and website; and the Company’s move to its permanent performance home, The Boston Opera House in 2009. Nissinen is a member of the Artistic Committee for the New York Choreographic Institute, an advisory board member of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and the recipient of the Finlandia Foundation’s 2008 Arts and Letters Award, the 2007 United Nations Association of Greater Boston Leadership Award, and Boston’s Guide for the Arts 2009 Ambassador for the Arts Award.

In the 2011-2012 season, beyond Boston Ballet’s work on stage, the organization will continue its extensive work in the studios and in the community with Boston Ballet School. The largest ballet school in North America, Boston Ballet School, reaches over 10,000 students annually through its classes and Boston Ballet’s unparalleled community outreach programs, Citydance, Adaptive Dance, and Taking Steps. Boston Ballet celebrates Citydance’s 20th anniversary in fall 2011. Citydance, the largest provider of free dance education to Boston Public Schools, reaches nearly 3,000 students each year and has touched the lives of more than 40,000 children in its 20 year history. Through its education and outreach initiatives, Boston Ballet continues to reach thousands of lives each year and encourage access to the art form of dance for students of all backgrounds and experience levels.

All performances are held at The Boston Opera House

Night of Stars – ONE NIGHT ONLY

October 29, 2011

Boston Ballet’s one-night-only Night of Stars opens the 2011-2012 season. Last season’s Night of Stars was a sold-out success. The Boston Globe called the performance “meticulously curated” and The Boston Herald asserted “there was something onstage for everyone.” The sixth annual performance promises to thrill audiences with a range of classical to contemporary highlights from the Company’s diverse repertoire. Night of Stars, a fantastic entrée to the world of ballet, will highlight all of Boston Ballet’s dancers from the accomplished principals and soloists to the promising second company, Boston Ballet II.

Romeo and Juliet

November 3 – 13, 2011

Music: Sergei Prokofiev

Choreography: John Cranko

Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet premiered in 1962 and was first performed by the Stuttgart Ballet. The exquisitely rendered ballet, set to Sergei Prokofiev’s magnificent score, is an inspired realization of William Shakespeare’s timeless tale. While Prokofiev’s original composition initially faced heavy criticism, it has become one of the most popular of all ballet compositions. When the Stuttgart Ballet danced the American premiere of John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet in 1969, Clive Barnes wrote in The New York Times that this staging of Prokofiev’s score “is, quite simply, the best of a surprisingly distinguished bunch. Many choreographers have attempted the score . . . but it has been left to Cranko to give the work its complete fulfillment.” Upon its Boston Ballet premiere, the Company became the only American company to hold three of Cranko’s greatest works, including Onegin and The Taming of the Shrew, as part of its extensive repertoire. In Boston, Romeo and Juliet was met with rave reviews; The Boston Globe described it as offering “elegant dancing, eye-popping pageantry, and vivid storytelling.”

The Nutcracker

November 25 – December 31, 2011

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreography: Mikko Nissinen

New England’s most popular winter classic, Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker, returns to the stage for the holiday season. Last year’s production saw record sales and sell-out performances. The Boston Herald wrote, “This year’s “Nutcracker” again [served] up its great score and outstanding staging as a feast for all.” The production showcases the accomplished Company dancers with more than 250 children from Boston Ballet School in Nissinen’s exquisite choreography. Each performance features Music Director and Principal Conductor Jonathan McPhee’s expert direction of Boston Ballet Orchestra.

The 2011 Nutcracker run will mark the final season the current production, with beloved sets by Helen Pond and Herbert Senn and costumes by David Walker, will be presented on stage. The sets and costumes, created in 1978, will be retired after gracing the stage for a final year in November and December 2011. The Nutcracker will return to the stage in 2012 will new sets and costumes, as well as revitalized choreography by Nissinen.

“We are so excited to welcome old and new friends this year to experience Boston Ballet’s current Nutcracker production one last time,” said Nissinen. “This production has brought so much joy to New England for over 20 years. Boston Ballet looks forward to continuing in that great tradition and sharing The Nutcracker’s holiday magic with the community for decades to come.”

‘YOUR CHOICE’ REPERTORY PROGRAM

February 9 – 19, 2012

Symphony in Three Movements

Music: Igor Stravinsky

Choreography: George Balanchine

Les Sylphides

Music: Frederic Chopin

Choreography: Florence Clerc after Michel Fokine

Polyphonia

Music: Gyorgy Ligeti

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon

Boston Ballet is hosting a ‘Your Choice’ online contest now through April 7, allowing fans to pick the name of this repertory program. For more information visit www.bostonballet.org/yourchoice

Your Choice includes three powerful works by three master choreographers George Balanchine, Michel Fokine and Christopher Wheeldon. Symphony in Three Movements is a large ensemble work, distinct in both its complexity and energy. The work is set to a score by Stravinsky, Balanchine’s long-time collaborator, and premiered in 1972 at a Stravinsky Festival at New York State Theater. The choreography, marked by its turned in movements and athletic sequences, is set to three movements originally composed by Stravinsky for three different films.

Florence Clerc’s world premiere staging of Les Sylphides after Michel Fokine, is also included in this repertory program. This one-act romantic work follows a poet as he dances with ghostly sylphs in a forest. The corps de ballet is integral to the feeling and character of Les Sylphides and appears onstage throughout almost the entire work. Les Sylphides first premiered at the Maryinsky Theatre in 1908, under the title Reverie Romantique: Ballet sur la musique de Chopin. The work received its U.S. premiere by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes at the Century Theatre in New York in 1916.  

Polyphonia, Christopher Wheeldon’s playful romance for four couples, completes the program. The New York Times has described the work as “[handling] the classical vocabulary of Balanchine, Ashton and others without being inhibited or retro… with a constant supply or inventiveness.” Wheeldon’s mastery is displayed in his unique ability to weave classical and more contemporary dance movement in to four pas de deuxs which exude distinct qualities. Polyphonia first premiered in 2001 with New York City Ballet and has been in Boston Ballet’s repertoire since 2007. The Company presented Polyphonia to critical acclaim on the 2008 tour to Korea.

PLAY WITH FIRE

March 1 – 11, 2012

Sharp Side of Dark

Music: Johann Sebastian Bach

Choreography: Jorma Elo

Bella Figura

Music: Lukas Foss, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Allessandro Marcello, Antonio Vivaldi, and Giuseppe Torelli

Choreography: Jiří Kylián

Rooster

Music: The Rolling Stones

Choreography: Christopher Bruce

Play with Fire includes a trio of contemporary works by three of today’s most noted choreographers Jorma Elo, Jiří Kylián, and Christopher Bruce.

Boston Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo premiered Sharp Side of Dark with Boston Ballet in 2002. It was his first commission for the Company. The work is choreographed to Bach’s Goldberg Variations and features large-scale architectural sets and a haunting lighting design.

Elo, who danced with Netherlands Dans Theater for 15 years, became Boston Ballet’s Resident Choreographer in 2005 where he has since created seven new works. His works for Boston Ballet include Sharp Side of Dark (2002), Plan to B (2004), Carmen (2006), Brake the Eyes (2007) In on Blue (2008) Sacre du Printemps (2009), and his 2010 world premiere presentation Elo Experience. He has also choreographed new works for New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater and Finnish National Ballet, among others. In 2005, Elo won the Helsinki International Ballet Competition choreographic prize and he is a recipient of the Prince Charitable Trust Prize and the 2006 Choo-San Goh Choreographic Award. Most recently, two of Elo’s works were nominated for the 2011 Benois de la Danse. The New York Times has written of Elo, “he knows classical technique and how to use it in new ways, how to transform it. This is not modern dance and ballet: it is modern ballet.”

Play with Fire also includes Jiří Kylián’s Bella Figura, a work Boston Ballet will premiere in the U.S. in April 2010. The Los Angeles Times wrote of it, “in an increasingly dark world, [Kylián’s] dancers are beautiful enough to give almost anyone renewed faith.” Bella Figura will be an addition to Boston Ballet’s Kylián repertoire, which includes the five-ballet Black and White program presented by the Company in 2009 to rave reviews and again in 2010. The work is tangibly sensual in its adoration and reverence towards the human body and contains partial nudity.

Christopher Bruce’s Rooster completes Play with Fire. This distinct work, first premiered in 1991 with the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, is set to music by The Rolling Stones. The Brittish choreographer is known for his the unique settings and concepts of his pieces and often pulls inspiration from literature and more contemporary music. Rooster features eight well-known tunes from The Rolling Stone’s song book, including Paint it Black, Ruby Tuesday, Lady Jane and Not Fade Away. Rooster has taken international stages to both popular and critical acclaim. When asked what he thought of Rooster after the London premiere performance, The Rolling Stone’s front man Mick Jagger responded, “I love it! It was great. I was looking at them and thinking ‘that’s a good move, I must nick that.”

Don Quixote

 April 26 – May 6, 2012

Music: Ludwig Minkus

Choreography: Rudolph Nureyev

Rudolph Nureyev’s acclaimed production of Don Quixote was last performed by Boston Ballet in 2006. The production was originally staged on Boston Ballet by Nureyev himself in 1982 when Nureyev danced the leading role of Basilo, first in Boston and then on a tour of the U.S., Mexico and Europe. He first choreographed his version of Don Quixote in Vienna in 1966 and it would later become one of his greatest successes. Nureyev’s Don Quixote is based on the Marius Petipa-Alexander Gorsky production familiar to him from his days with the Kirov. The focus is not on Miguel de Cervantes’ hero but on the romance between two of the novel’s minor characters, Basilo and Kirtri.  The production is danced to the score by Ludwig Minkus, arranged by John Lanchbery with sets and costumes by Nicholas Georgiadis.

FANCY FREE

May 10 – 20, 2012

Barber Violin Concerto

Music: Samuel Barber

Choreography: Peter Martins

Fancy Free

Music: Leonard Bernstein

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Études

Music: Carl Czerny arranged by Knudage Riisäger

Choreographer: Harald Lander

Fancy Free is headlined by Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, and includes Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto and Harald Lander’s Études. Robbins’ Fancy Free was the master choreographer’s first ballet, premiered on April 18, 1944. It would become one of his greatest successes and be one of the most popular ballets in American history. The work marked the emergence of both Robbins’ talent as a choreographer and the talents of a young composer, Leonard Bernstein. Robbins, a member of American Ballet Theatre at the time, danced in the ballet’s premiere. It would later become a musical comedy entitled On the Town and then adapted for the screen sensation starring Gene Kelly. Fancy Free follows the story of sailors on shore leave getting into a bit of romantic mischief.

Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto continues the program. This work, set to Samuel Barber, presents three movements for two couples in various pas de deuxs. Barber’s masterful music evokes distinct styles of movement from each couple from melancholy, to lyrical, to energetic. The dancers, dressed all in white, provide a blank canvas for the distinct choreography and composition of this work.

Danish dancer and choreographer Harald Lander’s Études completes Fancy Free. Études is considered Lander’s most acclaimed and popular choreographic work. It has an original score by Carl Czerny, arranged by Knudage Riisäger. The one-act ballet has been referred to as “an homage to classical ballet training.” The work begins simply with dancers at a barre and ends with a sequence of thrilling choreography. The work, premiered in 1948 with the Royal Danish Ballet is beloved for its adoration of the art form of ballet and its magnificent culmination. Études is a fitting way to end the 2011-2012 season.

Boston Ballet 2011-2012 Season at a Glance

All performances are held at The Boston Opera House.

Night of Stars – ONE NIGHT ONLY

October 29, 2011

Romeo and Juliet

November 3 – 13, 2011

Music: Sergei Prokofiev

Choreography: John Cranko

The Nutcracker

November 25 – December 31, 2011

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreography: Mikko Nissinen

‘YOUR CHOICE’ REPERTORY PROGRAM

Boston Ballet is hosting a ‘Your Choice’ online contest now through April 7, allowing fans to pick the name of this repertory program. For more information visit the Boston Ballet website.

February 9 – 19, 2012

Symphony in Three Movements

Music: Igor Stravinsky

Choreography: George Balanchine

Les Sylphides

Music: Frederic Chopin

Choreography: Florence Clerc after Michel Fokine

Polyphonia

Music: Gyorgy Ligeti

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon

PLAY WITH FIRE

March 1 – 11, 2012

Sharp Side of Dark

Music: Johann Sebastian Bach

Choreography: Jorma Elo

Bella Figura

Music: Lukas Foss, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Allessandro Marcello, Antonio Vivaldi, and Giuseppe Torelli

Choreography: Jiří Kylián

Rooster

Music: The Rolling Stones

Choreography: Christopher Bruce

Don Quixote

April 26 – May 6, 2012

Music: Ludwig Minkus

Choreography: Rudolph Nureyev

FANCY FREE

May 10 – 20, 2012

Barber Violin Concerto

Music: Samuel Barber

Choreography: Peter Martins

Fancy Free

Music: Leonard Bernstein

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Études

Music: Carl Czerny arranged by Knudage Riisäger

Choreographer: Harald Lander

2011-2012 Season Tickets

New subscriptions and group tickets go onsale March 28.  Individual tickets for The Nutcracker go onsale June 6 and individual tickets for season ballets go onsale August 29  Subscriptions and all tickets will be available for sales online 24 hours a day at the Boston Ballet website or by phone at 617.695.6955 or in person at the box office at 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, Mon–Fri, 9:30am-5pm and on performance days on Sat and Sun, 11am – 4pm.  Prices for season ballets start at $25.  Tickets to Night of Stars and The Nutcracker start at $35.  Discounted group tickets (10 or more) are available by calling 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 excellence and access and reaches more than 10,000 students ages 2-adult each year through Boston Ballet School classes, Summer Dance Workshop, Summer Dance Program, 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 community centers and in Boston Public Schools.

Boston Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following institutional partners:

State Street Corporation, 2010 Presenting Sponsor, The Nutcracker

The Boston Foundation

Jane’s Trust

Massachusetts Cultural Council

National Endowment for the Arts

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