LIEBESTRAUM appears on programs for the weeks beginning February 16, 23, and March 2, along with ‘other dances produced by George Balanchine (Director of Serge Diaghileff’s Russian Ballet).’The Coliseum was distinguished by having ‘the finest revolving stage in the world.’ In his setting of LIEBESTRAUM, Balanchine used the stage as a giant phonograph record, with a small dog in the center as ‘His Master’s Voice,’ and the women as phonograph needles.
107. Dances for Sir Oswald Stoll's Variety Shows 1931
In addition to these works documented from programs of Sir Oswald Stoll’s variety shows at the London Coliseum (February 16- March 21) and Alhambra (April 6-May 30), reviews and conversations with dancers identify the following: Tango (Sonne and Briggs); Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee (Gregorova, Sonne, Gaya); can-can from Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers for a corps of girls in front of the curtain; a short jazz number for four women to the recorded music of Jack Hilton and His Dance Orchestra, performed in front of the curtain; an ensemble number to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture; a pas de deux for Briggs and Betty Scorer to Lord Berners’ Scottish Rhapsody; and a ‘futuristic Scottish-American reel’ for a group. Mention is made of the ‘Balanchine Girls . . .dancing to the strains of modern foxtrots and later to Borodin’s Nocturne.’ Publicity material suggests that costumes were designed by Hedley Briggs and scenery by Frederick Stafford, but Natasha Gregorova remembered that Barbara Karinska was also involved with costuming. Dennis Stoll (son of Sir Oswald) conducted some of the performances. Balanchine’s group of sixteen women (Hedley Briggs was the single male performer) was variously billed as the Balanchine Ballet, Balanchine’s Girls, Balanchine’s Sixteen Novelty Dancers, George Balanchine’s Sixteen Delightful Dancers, and 16 Delightful Balanchine Girls 16.
Balanchine, Elizabeth Baron [Betty Scorer], Natasha Gregorova Cookson, Alicia Markova, Doris Sonne Toye, Barbara Newman, and brief reviews in Era and The Performer.
421. Tango 1982
Igor Stravinsky (1940 [1953 instrumentation by Stravinsky])
June 10, 1982, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater. Conductor: Robert Irving. (Annual New York City Ballet Gala Benefit.)
Karin von Aroldingen, Christopher d’Amboise
The dancers performed in vaudeville-style costumes, the woman in abbreviated black lace, the man in Spanish dress. The premiere used Stravinsky’s orchestration for jazz ensemble; subsequent performances were danced to the composer’s score for solo piano, with the pianist on stage. Tango was first presented on the opening night of the Stravinsky Centennial Celebration of the New York City Ballet, which included the premieres of four Balanchine works [421-424]. The décor throughout the Centennial Celebration incorporated the architectural settings created by Johnson/Burgee for the Tchaikovsky Festival of 1981, arranged and lighted by Ronald Bates. (See FESTIVALS DIRECTED BY BALANCHINE.)
424. Perséphone 1982
Igor Stravinsky (Mélodrame in three scenes for tenor, narrator, mixed chorus, children’s choir, and orchestra, commissioned by Ida Rubinstein, 1933). Text by André Gide
Staged by George Balanchine, John Taras, and Vera Zorina
Designed by Kermit Love
June 18, 1982, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater. Conductor: Robert Craft. Singers: Members of the New York City Opera chorus; Chorus Master: Lloyd Walser. The American Boychoir prepared by Brad Richmond and Robert Hobbs
Perséphone (spoken), Vera Zorina; Eumolpus the Eleusinian Priest (tenor), Joseph Evans; Spirit of Perséphone, Karin von Aroldingen; Pluto, Mel Tomlinson; Mercury, Gen Horiuchi; Nymphs, 9 women; Shades of the Underworld, 9 women, 6 men
Staged Choral Work
Presented by Balanchine on the one-hundredth anniversary of the composer’s birth as the last ballet of the Stravinsky Centennial Celebration, forty-nine years after its first production, which Stravinsky had hoped Balanchine would choreograph. Perséphone was originally presented by Ballets Ida Rubinstein in 1934, choreographed by Kurt Jooss and narrated by Ida Rubinstein. In the Balanchine staging, the costumed chorus was grouped on both sides of the stage, framing the action. Perséphone, abducted by Pluto, dwells in the underworld during Autumn and Winter, but is restored to earth each year to bless mankind in Spring and Summer. Gide’s text ends:
No spring can ever live again
Unless the seed beneath the ground
Consents to die, and wakens then
To make the future’s field abound.
(See FESTIVALS DIRECTED BY BALANCHINE.)
The premiere of this ballet intended for the Stravinsky Centennial Celebration took place two weeks after its official close. Balanchine had first choreographed a solo for Suzanne Farrell to this music as the final section of his 1966 work for the New York City Ballet , in which the music was played three times. The 1982 ballet was entirely rechoreographed. This was Balanchine’s final work.
Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, 1893 [first movement omitted])
George Balanchine (ADAGIO LAMENTOSO) and Jerome Robbins
Costumes for ADAGIO LAMENTOSO by Rouben Ter-Arutunian
June 14, 1981, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater. Conductor: Robert Irving
FOURTH MOVEMENT, ADAGIO LAMENTOSO: Karin von Aroldingen, Judith Fugate, Stephanie Saland; 16 women; 12 Angels; group of hooded figures; child
The first movement of the symphony was omitted; the second, ALLEGRO CON GRAZIA, was choreographed by Robbins; the third, ALLEGRO MOLTO VIVACE, was played by the orchestra with curtain lowered. The fourth and final movement was Balanchine’s ADAGIO LAMENTOSO: Women mourners danced in grief; angels with tall white wings and hooded figures in purple were followed by a procession of monks who prostrated themselves to form a living cross; a child entered carrying a candle. To the final chords, the child extinguished the candle. The ADAGIO LAMENTOSO closed the Tchaikovsky Festival of the New York City Ballet. (See FESTIVALS DIRECTED BY BALANCHINE.)