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New York City Ballet: Divertimento No. 15, The Red Violin, Fancy Free

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 9, 2006
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

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New York City Ballet: Divertimento No. 15, The Red Violin, Fancy Free

New York City Ballet

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 Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Andrea Quinn
Managing Director, Marketing and Communications, Robert Daniels
Associate Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns
Press Coordinator, Joe Guttridge

New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
(See Other NYC Ballet Reviews)

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 9, 2006

The Diamond Project: The Diamond Project is the sixth such festival of new works, with seven choreographers, from unique international backgrounds, presenting new ballets. Tonight's program features a new work by Peter Martins, Ballet Master in Chief, NYC Ballet.

Divertimento No. 15 (1956): (See January 21, 2005 Review). Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Guest Conductor: Benjamin Pope, Performed by Yvonne Borree, Megan Fairchild, Sterling Hyltin, Abi Stafford, Miranda Weese, Jason Fowler, Andrew Veyette, Jonathan Stafford, and the Company. A Divertimento does not have a fixed structure, and this particular one is choreographed for eight dancers and adds a cadenza for violin and viola. (NYCB Notes).

This Balanchine masterpiece creates a showcase for six solo dancers, two male dancers, plus the ensemble. Andrew Veyette, a replacement for Philip Neal, was stately and poised, and the ensemble work was pure, graceful dancing. The skipping, frolicking motif in the Variations, plus the elegant extensions of the Andante seemed the most visually memorable, in addition to two lines of syncopated, rhythmic motion.

The Red Violin (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra) (2006): (See May 20, 2006 Review). (See an Orchestral Review of The Red Violin.) Music by John Corigliano, Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Carole Divet, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrea Quinn, Violin: Kurt Nikkanen, Performed by Jennie Somogyi, Tyler Angle, Sara Mearns, Amar Ramasar, Sterling Hyltin, Andrew Veyette, Tiler Peck, and Sean Suozzi.

This was my second viewing in a couple of weeks, and well worth the decision. Peter Martins' newest work, as part of The Diamond Project, is composed to John Corigliano's The Red Violin, the wrenching score from a riveting film. Kurt Nikkanen performed on solo violin with requisite poignancy and passion. Jennie Somogyi again wore the brilliant, red costume, this time partnered by Tyler Angle, a star rising fast. His fresh take on the role was obvious, in this powerful, percussive score, and Ms. Somogyi maintained tantalizing tension. Sterling Hyltin, once again, exuded extreme abandon.

Fancy Free (1944): (See May 26, 2004 Review). Music by Leonard Bernstein, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Scenery by Oliver Smith, Costumes by Kermit Love, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Conductor: David Briskin, Performed by Tyler Angle, Jonathan Stafford, and Daniel Ulbricht as the Sailors, Amanda Hankes, Rachel Rutherford, and Rebecca Krohn as the Passers-by, and Christopher Boehmer as the Bartender. Leonard Bernstein performed as conductor, pianist, lecturer, and media personality, in addition to his composing career. He was conductor of the New York Philharmonic. (NYCB Notes).

This renowned Robbins piece, to Bernstein's score, never gets dull. Rather, it generates new feats in the bravura gymnastics of the sailors and in the vaudevillian gestures of the lady passers-by. A star of tonight's performance was Daniel Ulbricht in what could become one of his signature roles, a sailor made of inner springs. Mr. Ulbricht bounced and cavorted about mid-air with his usual hormonal, outsized force. He was not just good. He was exciting. Dancers like this emerge rarely, and Daniel Ulbricht is a new treasure at City Ballet. Tyler Angle, as a fellow sailor, was endearing and energized. Of the lady passers-by, Rachel Rutherford seemed so suited to the 1940's fashion and persona. David Briskin kept the music tight. Kudos to Leonard Bernstein.

Megan Fairchild and Jonathan Stafford in New York City Ballet's Divertimento No. 15
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Sterling Hyltin and Jason Fowler in New York City Ballet's Divertimento No. 15
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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