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New York City Ballet: Ballo della Regina, Kammermusik No. 2, Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3
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New York City Ballet: Ballo della Regina, Kammermusik No. 2, Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Ballo della Regina
Kammermusik No. 2
Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3

Founders: George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Founding Choreographers: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Ballet Master in Chief: Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress: Rosemary Dunleavy
Children’s Ballet Master: Dena Abergel
Orchestra, Music Director: Andrew Litton
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects: Robert Daniels
Associate Dir. Communications: Katharina Plumb
Communications Associate: Kina Poon
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 3, 2016

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Ballo Della Regina (1978): Music by Giuseppe Verdi (from Don Carlo), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Ben Benson, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrews Sill, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Joaquin De Luz, Ashly Isaacs, Ashley Laracey, Lauren King, Erica Pereira, and the Company.

Tonight’s program opened like a regal coronation. With silky, pink costumes, the five female dancers, led by the spirited Megan Fairchild and the one male dancer, Joaquin De Luz, in pale teal, against a cloudy, impressionistic backdrop of peach and teal, dance in solos and ensembles to Verdi's sumptuous music from the opera, Don Carlo. The Corps creates interesting figurative formations, with Balanchine’s symmetry, but it is the lead duo here, Mr. De Luz and Ms. Fairchild, who command constant attention. Tonight, Mr. De Luz exuded buoyancy and vibrancy, and Ms. Fairchild added frivolity and flourish, an extra kick here, an extra spin there. They added solo and duo ornamentations, for this fanciful, flowing ballet. The orchestra was as sparkling as the dancers.

Kammermusik No. 2 (1978): Music by Paul Hindemith, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrews Sill, Piano Solo: Cameron Grant, Performed by Sara Mearns, Jared Angle, Teresa Reichlen, Amar Ramasar, and the Company.

It’s not often that we see Balanchine’s Kammermusik No. 2, and it was good to revisit the edgy Hindemith score and Balanchine’s angular choreography for a Corps of eight men and two Principal duos. The men’s arms swing like airplanes, in diagonal lines, twisting their torsos, hopping at times. The haunting, dissonant music has a quasi-glass harmonica effect, with French horn and piano, making this almost four decade-old work seem quite contemporary. Floating formations and dynamic demeanor were my impression of Sara Mearns and Jared Angle, along with Teresa Reichlen and Amar Ramasar. Cameron Grant’s solo piano passages were stark and stunning. And, visually stark was the chiaroscuro lighting by Mark Stanley, with men walking in the rear like the figures in Robbins’ Glass Pieces. This piece grabs the eye..

Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3 (1970): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Nicolas Benois, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Daniel Capps, Performed by Rebecca Krohn, Ask la Cour, Abi Stafford, Justin Peck, Georgina Pazcoguin, Daniel Ulbricht, Tiler Peck, Andrew Veyette, and the Company. In 1947, Balanchine produced “Theme and Variations” for Ballet Theater. Tschaikovsky composed Suite No. 3 in 1884, and it was premiered in 1885. Nicolas Benois, son of Diaghilev’s ballet designer, created scenery and costumes for Balanchine. (NYCB Notes).

Daniel Capps, tonight conducting Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3, brought out the sumptuous rapture inherent in the four, divergent movements. In the Élégie, Rebecca Krohn and Ask la Cour led the Corps ensemble of six women, all with hair down and flowing, chiffony gowns, barefoot and headstrong. In the Valse Mélancolique, Abi Stafford and Justin Peck led a new ensemble of six women, still with flowing hair and differently colored gowns. In the Scherzo, Georgina Pazcoguin and Daniel Ulbricht led a female ensemble of eight, with silky, loose gowns and loose hair. Then, for the Tema con Variazioni, Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette appeared in the brightly lit scene, with Ms. Peck’s hair tightly wound in her tiara, matched with a formal tutu and chandeliers glowing. This final, fourth movement is often danced in galas and busy, repertory programs.

The ambiance of the third movement is reminiscent of the sleepwalker in Balanchine’s La Sonnambula, flowing locks of hair, pointe shoes, and a dreamy, distant gaze. The stage lighting creates the illusion of a cavernous interior, like Versailles, with dim chandeliers that sparkle crisply in the fourth movement’s formal pas de deux. Ms. Krohn is perfectly suited for the first movement, with her long lines and long, auburn hair, visible features, and theatrical posture. Partnered by Mr. la Cour, Ms. Krohn was almost nymph-like, spritely, mesmerizing. Ms. Stafford, in the second movement, was subdued in gesture, internalized, but eloquent and languorous, partnered by Mr. Peck, the quintessential cavalier. Although Mr. Peck is busy with company and outside choreographic commissions, I’d like to see him cast as a Prince or other story ballet lead, as he has so much dramatic potential. Ms. Pazcoguin, in the third movement, was impulsive, vibrant, and energized, partnered by Mr. Ulbricht, who’s known for rapid, male solos. And, Ms. Peck, in the final movement, was virtuosic in leaps, fish dives, spins, and lifts, partnered by Mr. Veyette, who danced tonight with attentive expansiveness. They were well matched, with energy and daring.

Kudos to all.

Teresa Reichlen in George Balanchine's "Kammermusik No. 2"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

The David H. Koch Theater
Photo Taken the Night of the 9/15 Lunar Eclipse
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at