PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET PRESENTS Apollo & Carmina

March 14, 2012

Press Releases

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET PRESENTS Apollo & Carmina

                       

April 13-22, 2012

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109

 

April 13-14 & 19-21 at 7:30 pm

April 14 & 21 at 2:00 pm

April 22 at 1:00 pm

 

SEATTLE, WA — Pacific Northwest Ballet continues its 39th season with a potent program of masterworks.  From Greek gods to 13th century monks, Apollo & Carmina is a blockbuster double-bill that reaches through centuries to resonate with powerful impact. Apollo, George Balanchine’s oldest surviving ballet, was his first international success as well as the start of his remarkable collaboration with Igor Stravinsky.   In the ballet, Apollo – described by Balanchine as “a wild, half-human youth who acquires nobility through art” – is instructed by three muses: Terpsichore, muse of dance and song; Polyhymnia, muse of mime; and Calliope, muse of poetry.

 

Pacific Northwest Ballet Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell’s magnificent rendering of Carl Orff’s 1937 musical cantata, Carmina Burana, has played to packed houses since its Seattle premiere in 1993. The famous cantata’s poems about the fickleness of fortune, the joy of renewal, and the perils of sin come vividly to life in the shadow of Ming Cho Lee’s colossal twenty-six-foot golden wheel as Stowell’s evocative choreography, the powerful Seattle Choral Company.

 

Apollo & Carmina runs for eight performances only, April 13 through 22 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $28 and may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, online at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s website, or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer St. See “Ticket Information” below for more details.

 

In conjunction with Apollo & Carmina, PNB will be presenting Balanchine Then and Now, a special lecture-demonstration featuring PNB Founding Artistic Director Francia Russell, Artistic Director Peter Boal, and PNB company dancers.  See “Special Events” below for more information.


PROGRAM NOTES and ARTIST BIOS

Apollo
Music: Igor Stravinsky (Apollo Musagetes, 1927-1928)
Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Staging: Peter Boal
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Duration: 35 minutes
Premiere: June 12, 1928; Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes (Paris)
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: February 23, 1993

Apollo, choreographed in 1928 for the Ballets Russes by the 24-year-old George Balanchine and known originally as Apollon Musagète, is widely regarded as the fountainhead of contemporary classicism. The significance of Balanchine’s achievement was apparent from the first, most notably to Serge Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes’ great impresario, who, watching a rehearsal one day before the premiere, is said to have remarked: “What he is doing is magnificent. It is pure classicism, such as we have not seen since Petipa’s.”

This comment must be understood within the context of experimental choreography that Diaghilev himself had done so much to foster. Since the early years of the century, dance works had been created by young choreographers, among them Fokine, Nijinsky, Massine, Nijinska, and Balanchine himself, who, in their determination to bring ballet into the modern age, often had strayed far from their classical inheritance. With Apollo, Balanchine reclaimed that inheritance, demonstrating unmistakably that, in Lincoln Kirstein’s words, “tradition is…the very floor which supports the artist, enabling him securely to build upon it elements which may seem at first revolutionary, ugly, and new both to him and to his audience.” Unusual lifts, heel-shuffles, jazzy hip action, syncopated pointe work, swivels close to the floor, startling plastic configurations—these and a wealth of other innovations may have shocked Apollo’s first viewers, but, as Kirstein reminds us, “they were so logical an extension of the pure line of Saint-Léon, Petipa, and Ivanov that they were almost immediately absorbed into the tradition of their craft.”

Balanchine’s own account of the significance of Apollo gave credit, characteristically, to its music—the radiant neoclassical score that Igor Stravinsky had composed a year earlier for an American production but which he ultimately intended for Diaghilev’s company. Recalling the beginning of the extraordinary creative relationship between himself and Stravinsky that was to extend over nearly 50 years, Balanchine described Apollo as “the turning point of my life.” In examining Stravinsky’s score, Balanchine said, he first realized how he, too, might intensify the aesthetic effect of his own work by selection and restrain, by containing energy and feeling within formal unity. In essence, he affirmed anew the timelessness of classical values and appropriated them for himself.

It is perfectly apt that this commitment should first have been expressed by Balanchine in Apollo, a work whose subject matter itself is the genesis of classicism. In the ballet’s narrative, the infant god, here identified with music, is born, begins to develop his strength, meets and frolics with the three muses most closely associated with his art—Calliope (poetry and its rhythm), Polyhymnia (mime), and Terpsichore (dance), bestows on each the symbol of her art—the tablet, mask, and lyre respectively, watches as they invent those arts, celebrates the favored relationship between himself and Terpsichore, and, finally, fully masterful, assumes his godhead.

 

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine (1904-1983) is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. He came to the United States in late 1933, at the age of 29, accepting the invitation of the young American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein (1907-1996), whose great passions included the dream of creating a ballet company in America. At Balanchine’s behest, the School of American Ballet was founded in 1934, the first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration. Several ballet companies directed by the two were created and dissolved in the years that followed, while Balanchine found other outlets for his choreography. Eventually, with a performance on October 11, 1948, New York City Ballet was born. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from 1948 until his death in 1983. Balanchine’s more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Concerto Barocco (1941), Le Palais de Cristal, later renamed Symphony in C (1947), Orpheus (1948), The Nutcracker (1954), Agon (1957), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Vienna Waltzes (1977), Ballo della Regina (1978), and Mozartiana (1981). His final ballet, a new version of Stravinsky’s Variations for Orchestra, was created in 1982. He also choreographed for films, operas, revues, and musicals. Among his best-known dances for the stage is Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, originally created for Broadway’s On Your Toes (1936). The musical was later made into a movie. A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet. Taking classicism as his base, he heightened, quickened, expanded, streamlined, and even inverted the fundamentals of the 400-year-old language of academic dance. This had an inestimable influence on the growth of dance in America. Although at first his style seemed particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially those he trained, his ballets are now performed by all the major classical ballet companies throughout the world.
(Bio reprinted by permission of The George Balanchine Foundation.)

Carmina Burana

Music: Carl Orff (1937)
Choreography: Kent Stowell
Scenic Design: Ming Cho Lee
Costume Design: Theoni V. Aldredge and Larae Theige Hascall
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Duration: 70 minutes
Premiere: October 5, 1993; Pacific Northwest Ballet
PNB performances of Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana are generously underwritten by Peter & Peggy Horvitz.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell’s magnificent rendering of Carl Orff’s 1937 musical cantata, Carmina Burana, has played to sold-out audiences since its Seattle premiere in 1993. Uniting sets, costumes, chorus, soloists, dancers, and choreography in a multi-media visualization of Orff’s primal score, Stowell’s Carmina Burana is that “total theater” which Orff dreamed might cut across social, educational, and temporal boundaries to engage audiences in a powerful communal experience.

For his text, Orff turned to a collection of irreverent medieval songs and poems discovered in 1803 at the Bavarian monastery of Benediktbeuren. Hence, Carmina Burana, or “Songs of Beuren.” In these profane lyrics of minstrels and monks long dead, Orff heard clearly the voice of the human condition, with its indestructible hunger for the sensual pleasures of the world persisting through the capricious turns of Fortune’s wheel. Setting this text to music of primitive force rivaled in our time only by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Orff married the medieval and the modern in a timeless vision of humanity’s vitality and endurance.

That musical vision takes on corporeal life in PNB’s production of Carmina Burana. Set designer Ming Cho Lee’s massive golden wheel of Fortune dominates the world of the ballet, as does musically the hymn to the goddess Fortuna, which opens and closes Orff’s score and frames all the various songs between. Beneath the wheel, subject to its rule, the dancers—cast as ragged everymen, lusty country revelers, debauched tavern-haunters (including clerics fallen from grace), and aristocratic celebrants—express the indomitable yearning for fulfillment in love that persists no matter what life deals us.

Within each grouping, and reflecting the medieval interest in numerology as a key to divine order, Stowell has choreographed patterns based on the number twelve, thereby subtly reinforcing the experience of cosmic forces beyond human control. But, for all the limits placed upon our lives, Stowell suggests (through recurring contrasts between the clothed and the naked) that the first relationship in paradise, though it eludes us in this fallen world, informs our fantasies and may be experienced by us in moments of grace.

 

Kent Stowell was Artistic Director and principal choreographer of Pacific Northwest Ballet from 1977 until his retirement in June 2005. Mr. Stowell began his dance training with Willem Christensen at the University of Utah, later joining San Francisco Ballet. He joined New York City Ballet in 1962 and was promoted to soloist in 1963. In 1970, he joined the Munich Opera Ballet as a leading dancer and choreographer. In 1973, Mr. Stowell was appointed ballet master and choreographer of Frankfurt Ballet, and he was named, with Francia Russell, Co-Artistic Director of the company in 1975. In 1977, Mr. Stowell and Ms. Russell were appointed Artistic Directors of Pacific Northwest Ballet. His many contributions to the repertory include Swan Lake, Cinderella, Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, Firebird, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Hail to the Conquering Hero, Carmen, and Silver Lining.

In 2001, the University of Utah honored Mr. Stowell with its Lifetime Achievement Award. His other awards and honors include the Washington State Governor’s Arts Award, the Dance Magazine Award and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Seattle University. In 2004, Mr. Stowell received the ArtsFund Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was recognized by the King County Council for his achievements in the arts. On June 12, 2010, Mr. Stowell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Washington.

 

SPECIAL EVENTS

BALANCHINE THEN & NOW

Monday, April 2, 5:30-7:00 pm

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle

Founding Artistic Director Francia Russell and Artistic Director Peter Boal join Company dancers for an exploration of the work of George Balanchine over the span of the great master’s career, focusing on his earliest work still performed – Apollo. Tickets, $20 each, may be purchased through the PNB Box Office.

 

BALLET PREVIEW — FREE
Tuesday, April 10, 12:00 noon
Central Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle
Join PNB for a free lunch-hour preview lecture at the Central Seattle Public Library. Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington will offer insights about Apollo & Carmina, complete with video excerpts that illuminate the ballets being discussed. FREE of charge.

PNB LECTURE SERIES & DRESS REHEARSAL
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall
Join PNB artistic staff, choreographers, and/or stagers during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the dress rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $30 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at pnb.org or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street.

PRE-PERFORMANCE LECTURES
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Join Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.

POST-PERFORMANCE Q&A
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a conversation with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers. Immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.

 

LISTEN TO THE BALLET!

PNB partners with 98.1 Classical KING FM to bring listeners some of the world’s most popular ballet scores, featuring the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra direct from McCaw Hall. Tune in to KING FM for an opening weekend performance of Apollo & Carmina on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 pm. Only on 98.1 fm or online at king.org/listen.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets ($28-$168 advance) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

  • By Phone – 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 9am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • In Person – 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • Online – (24/7)

Subject to availability, tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street.

 

STUDENT AND SENIOR RUSH TICKETS
Half-price rush tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) may be purchased in-person with ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to show time at the McCaw Hall box office. Subject to availability.

$15 TICKETS FOR 25 & UNDER
All Thursday and Friday performances: April 13, 19 & 20 at 7:30 pm
One ticket for $15 or two for $25 for patrons 25 years and younger! To purchase tickets, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 or visit 301 Mercer Street. This offer is good for April 13, 19 & 20 performances only. Offer is subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. Each attendee must present valid I.D. upon ticket retrieval.

TEEN TIX
PNB is a proud participant of Seattle Center’s Teen Tix program. Young people 13 to 19 years old can purchase tickets to PNB performances and other music, dance, theater and arts events for only $5. To join Teen Tix or view a list of participating organizations, visit Seattle Center’s Teen Tix webpage at seattlecenter.com/teentix.

GROUP SALES
Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets, please call 206.441.2416, email juliej@pnb.org or use PNB’s Online Group Builder (at pnb.org) which assists audience members to gather friends, family and co-workers to see any performance and save.

 

Apollo & Carmina is made possible by presenting sponsor Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and major sponsor the Nesholm Family Foundation. PNB’s performances of Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana are generously underwritten by Peter & Peggy Horvitz. PNB’s 2011-2012 Season is proudly sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. Additional season support is provided by Artsfund, the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and 4Culture – King County Lodging Tax.

 

Schedule and programming subject to change.

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