Classic Ballets from the Company’s Repertoire Highlight the Roster for 16th Season

RALEIGH, NC – – – Carolina Ballet is pleased to announce the line-up of programs for the 2013-2014 season. With an extensive repertory, after fifteen seasons, Carolina Ballet is showcasing several its most popular works, choreographed by artistic director Robert Weiss. Weiss will also create a new ballet to add to the near fifty ballets that he has choreographed on the company since 1998. The schedule for the 16th season is as follows:

Balanchine Celebration – October 10-27, 2013, A. J. Fletcher Theater (AJF)

Messiah – November 29-December 1, 2013, Raleigh Memorial Auditorium (RMA)

Nutcracker – December 20-29, 2013, RMA

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (World Premiere) – February 13-March 2, 2014, AJF

Romeo and Juliet – March 13-30, 2014, AJF

Sleeping Beauty – May 15-18, 2014 RMA

During the company’s fifteen seasons, Carolina Ballet has presented 22 ballets choreographed by Robert Weiss’ mentor and founder of New York City Ballet, the incomparable George Balanchine. One of the most popular Balanchine ballets (and often requested by audience members) is Rubies to music of Igor Stravinsky from a larger work titled Jewels. Robert Weiss was a dancer at New York City Ballet when Balanchine choreographed Rubies in 1966 and he says “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Here was something really new – a totally classical ballet that really incorporated jazz in a seamless manner.” Carolina Ballet last performed Rubies in 2004 to commemorate George Balanchine’s 100th birthday. A selection of other Balanchine ballets will accompany Rubies.

During Thanksgiving weekend, November 29-December 1, Carolina Ballet is presenting Messiah to officially start the holiday season. It has been four years, since Carolina Ballet last presented Messiah to the Triangle area audiences and there are many people new to the area who haven’t experienced this artistic tradition for Raleigh. In a review in 2004, the News & Observer critic said “Weiss’ Messiah is a lovely example of dance as praise…a stunning reminder of the power of art and music, and the miracle of the human body and imagination.” Robert Weiss’ Messiah to Handel’s magnificent score is accompanied by live music and 130 voices of the North Carolina Master Chorale. In 2002 Carolina Ballet took Messiah to Hungary and presented it in Budapest and Gyor as part of an international dance festival. A critic for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeiting, praised Messiah as “choreography Europe needs to see.” The story of Christ is played out in brilliant images through mesmerizing dancing, lighting and tableaux. Marija Jankovic wrote for Ballet Review, “the ballet’s essence is deeply ethical. It is a celebration of human dignity, human generosity, freedom of thought, and tolerance, both religious and political.” Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia has presented Weiss’ Messiah in two different seasons at the Academy of Music where it received rave reviews. The Philadelphia Inquirer said it was one of Pennsylvania Ballets’ “largest and most ambitious productions.”

The two full-evening story ballets on the roster for the season are Romeo and Juliet to Sergei Prokofiev’s powerful score; and Sleeping Beauty to the beloved ballet music of Tchaikovsky. When Weiss premiered Romeo and Juliet on his new company at the end of its first season, in May 1999, the ballet was called “a triumph on several levels” (News & Observer). And when the ballet opened in 2001, the week after the events of 9/11, a critic at the News and Observer wrote “in these unsettled times, it was a tonic to walk into a theater and find it still possible to experience vicariously some form of clean emotion.” Weiss’ ballet captures the essence of Shakespeare’s play with action packed dancing in the streets of Verona, dramatic sword fights between the feuding families, and tender love scenes for the two young lovers. The late Frances Mason, editor of Ballet Review, said on WQXR, the Radio Station of the New York Times that Weiss’ Romeo and Juliet was “stunning, dramatically engrossing and beautifully danced.”

One of Carolina Ballet’s biggest undertakings has been Robert Weiss’ new Sleeping Beauty presented in 2010. Weiss knew that he couldn’t improve upon Petipa’s choreography for this iconic classical ballet so he kept all the signature pieces in place – the Rose Adagio, the Lilac Fairy solos, the wedding pas de deux and the Blue Bird pas de deux – while creating new choreography for the corps numbers and adding a giant dragon that the Prince must slay to reach the Princess Aurora. He also expanded the role of Carabosse, the evil Fairy Godmother, who becomes even more menacing with her familiar, a Raven, another addition by Weiss. The critic for the News & Observer wrote “the production successfully delivers this revered choreography and received tradition.” The scenery and costumes were new for this production in 2010 and they match Tchaikovsky’s score in grandeur.

The new ballet for the 16th season is Robert Weiss’ choreography to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Weiss says “even if you have never heard The Four Season, you will readily recognize each season in the music – the chill of winter, the languor of summer, the freshness of spring and the melancholy of fall.” This ballet will express the cycle of life through the emotions the seasons evoke.

And of course, the season would not be complete without the annual run of Carolina Ballet’s “magical” Nutcracker. Once again Carolina Ballet will present Nutcracker in all three Triangle cities – Chapel Hill at Memorial Hall on the UNC campus, December 7 & 8; Durham at DPAC, December 15 & 16; and Raleigh at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, December 20-29.

Subscription packages may be purchased now by calling the Carolina Ballet box office at 919 719-0900. A sales representative will assist patrons to put together the package, with their preferred seating choices, that best fits their schedule and budget. Subscribers also get the first opportunity to purchase Nutcracker tickets.

Now into the fifteenth season, Carolina Ballet, Inc. has taken its place among America’s premier arts organizations. Under the innovative direction of artistic director Robert Weiss, a talented company, fiscally responsible management and community support, Carolina Ballet continues to expose audiences to traditional ballet by legendary masters and new works of contemporary choreographers. The company reflects the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and ever-increasing quality of life experienced in North Carolina.

By Triangle A&E

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