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New York City Ballet: Allegro Brillante, The Four Temperaments, Symphony in C
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New York City Ballet: Allegro Brillante, The Four Temperaments, Symphony in C

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Allegro Brillante
The Four Temperaments
Symphony in C

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
Resident Choreographer: Justin Peck
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
April 18, 2017

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Andrew Litton

Allegro Brillante (1956): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano Solo: Susan Walters, Performed by Tiler Peck, Andrew Veyette, and the Company. The Tschaikovsky “Third Piano Concerto" was first written as a symphony and then altered to include piano and orchestra. Balanchine said that this ballet "contains everything I know about the classical ballet in 13 minutes". (NYCB Notes).

Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante was too predictable tonight, with Tiler Peck dancing the lead with Andrew Veyette. Both Ms. Peck and Mr. Veyette were high powered, but lacking in intrigue and mystery. Ms. Peck was spinning like a top, truly drawing gasps in the audience. Mr. Veyette, too, spun tightly and vaulted about the stage, but he seemed understated, in presentation of affect. His upside-down lift of Ms. Peck into the wings, at the finale, was, however, breathtaking. Andrew Litton was in the pit, with a melodic but industrial pulse. Tonight’s pianist was Susan Walters, who brought out the exuberance and vivacity of this Tschaikovsky score.

The Four Temperaments (1946): Music by Paul Hindemith, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano Solo: Stephen Gosling, Performed by Gonzalo Garcia, Sara Mearns, Jared Angle, Ask la Cour, Teresa Reichlen, Lydia Wellington, Andrew Scordato, Lauren King, Daniel Applebaum, Ashley Laracey, Cameron Dieck, and the Company. The score (solo piano and strings) was commissioned by George Balanchine from Paul Hindemith in 1940. This ballet appeared at the opening program of Ballet Society, now City Ballet. (NYCB Notes).

This iconic Balanchine work is abstract and atonal, with simple black-white leotards and a grey-blue backdrop. Men carry the women off in scissor-legs motion, while staccato kicks and off-center balancing enunciate the choreography. Gonzalo Garcia led the Melancholic Variation with inherent speed and rambunctious resonance. Sara Mearns and Jared Angle led the Sanguinic Variation with focus and persuasion. My two favorite Variations were the third and fourth, with the under-utilized Ask la Cour leading in Phlegmatic, with his signature regal and princely posture, long torso, and charging charisma. Teresa Reichlen led the final Choleric Variation, with her extra-long limbs and direct gaze into the audience. Hindemith's score was well presented by Stephen Gosling and orchestral strings.

Symphony in C (1948): Music by Georges Bizet, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Ashley Bouder, Chase Finlay, Maria Kowroski, Tyler Angle, Alston MacGill, Harrison Ball, Brittany Pollack, Taylor Stanley, and the Company.

The final Balanchine ballet, one of my longtime favorites, on today’s program was his gorgeous Symphony in C, choreographed in 1948 to Bizet’s found manuscript, which Balanchine’s musical collaborator, Stravinsky, recommended. For New York City Ballet’s first program, in 1948, Symphony in C was premiered. (It had been shown in 1947, with a difference in title, sets, and costumes). Maestro Litton once again conducted, with power and momentum.

In the First Movement, “Allegro Vivo”, Ashley Bouder brought the more restrained Chase Finlay to center stage, as she pushed and pulled the music with her energized arms, along with the spellbinding, echoing theme. Mr. Finlay was cautious at first, but soon seized the moment with more pronounced partnering and a pulsating verve. This contagious symphony is built with four movements, each building upon the previous one. with energy abounding. At the start of each new movement, the fresh partners emerge from the rear wings and rush to stage front with bravura personality. Marc Happel’s recently redesigned tutus are illumined with Swarovski crystals, and shimmer with the bouncy score. The men, too, are bejeweled, and the entire scene is regal and sophisticated. Maria Kowroski and Tyler Angle captured the etherealness of the “Adagio”, exuding charisma and magnetism. Allston MacGill and Harrison Ball were coltish in their prancing, leaping, and cavorting, in the “Allegro Vivace”. Brittany Pollack and Taylor Stanley were smartly matched for refined spirit.

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