|Peter Boal. Photo © Angela Sterling.
People are always asking me “What is the highlight of next season?” The response I want to give is, “What isn’t?” Let’s be honest here. We have one of the richest and most varied repertories of any company in America, and I have to pick a highlight? Well, there’s no short and easy answer here, but I have to go with Alexei Ratmansky’s new production of Don Quixote.
PNB will be the second company and the first American company to present this winning production, created for Dutch National Ballet in 2010. I was pleased to see it unveiled in Amsterdam to a well-deserved standing ovation. Alexei has a beautiful reverence for tradition, a sly penchant for humor, and a gift for storytelling that is rare. With the explosion of color and clever design by set and costume designer Jérôme Kaplan (Roméo et Juliette), this production is spectacular. You might want to keep your tickets in a safe place.
I think about programming in a curatorial way, wanting to build collections of works by artists whom I feel are important contributors to our profession. Christopher Wheeldon is one of those artists. We kick off the season bragging about our recent acquisitions and growing collection of works by this young master. The ALL WHEELDON program impresses with range: innovation, beauty, charm, and a few belly laughs are the words that I would use to describe this program, It’s a great one for the whole family too.
LOVE STORIES offers two new works for PNB, one by Balanchine and one by Robbins. We draw from three of our most treasured full-lengths to complete this program. Five works, five choreographers, elaborate sets and costumes, and a few heart-pounding tales of love make this one mixed rep you don’t want to miss.
Our commitment to new works continues in the spring with three new additions to the repertory, including two World Premieres. David Dawson, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Victor Quijada are all fresh voices in choreography with works that promise to intrigue. Also in March is the revivial of Snow White, with new sets and costumes. This charmer completes a trilogy of children’s ballets by Bruce Wells.
Kent Stowell’s magnificent Carmina Burana returns to the McCaw Hall stage after five years alongside one of Balanchine’s earliest triumphs, Apollo. The thunder of Carl Orff’s music for full orchestra and chorus is matched by Kent’s poetic and powerful choreography and an awe-inspiring set by Ming Cho Lee. If you haven’t seen it, you must, and if you have, I know you’ll fall in love with this tour de force all over again.
The season comes to a close with the return of George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova’s sweet staging of the enchanting Coppélia. There’s something for everyone this season, and the luckiest of us will experience it all. Season highlight? Sure, it’s the entire season. I look forward to seeing you there. – Peter Boal.