The Jewels, staged by George Balanchine for his troupe of the New York City Ballet in 1967, went down in history as the first full-length plotless ballet. It had a happy lot, having toured on numerous stages around the world and been an invariably great success.
The history of the creation of a great work of art is always surrounded with a whole lot of legends. There is a version that the choreographer George Balanchine and the jeweler Claude Arpel met each other while visiting the third celebrity – the violinist Nathan Milstein.
They found out that they have interests in common when George Balanchine was surveying the shop windows of the famous Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry house on Fifth Avenue. Claude Arpel had kept the impressions of viewing the performances of the Diaghilev ballet enterprise for many decades. George Balanchine, fascinated by the brilliance of precious stones, came up with the idea of staging a ballet, in which the dance would flicker and shimmer like the light playing on the facets of the gems.
It is also believed that each gemstone symbolized one of the three stages of the choreographer’s life and career: “The Emeralds” set to the music of G. Foret reflected the sophistication and elegance of France that is also inherent in the French ballet school, and “The Rubies” set to the music by Igor Stravinsky, paid a tribute to the sharply syncopated rhythms of America with its Broadway, whereas “The Diamonds" to music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky became a nostalgic reminder of the crystal clear purity of the imperial Petersburg ballet school.
Hardly any review on The Jewels goes without a quote from the appreciation by the famous American ballet critic of English origin, Mr. Clive Barnes. It is so impressive that the temptation to cite it cannot be resisted:
“Hardly has George Balanchine ever before created an opus, in which the idea would find such strong support, the resourcefulness would be as imaginative, and the concept as impressive as in the three-act ballet, the world premiere of which took place at the New York State Theater yesterday”.
- The New York Times, 14.4.1967.
New Version of Christmassy Ballet “The Nutcracker” in Moscow
to the music by Gabriel Foret;
to the music by Igor Stravinsky,
Music material provided by Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Limited;
to the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Tutors - Sandra Jennings, Merrill Ashley, and Paul Bowes
Production Designer - Alyona Pikalova
Costume Designer - Elena Zaitseva
Conductor - Pavel Sorokin
Where: the Bolshoi Theater (Main Stage) at the address 1, Theater Square, next to metro station Okhotny Ryad, Moscow.
When: at 7 pm on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
Author: Vera Ivanova