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All Balanchine I


David H. Koch Theater / New York / Stage

George Balanchine bent the knee to his older compatriot Igor Stravinsky, but as his own artistic authority grew he became bolder about making changes to Stravinsky’s scores. The ballet Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fée’ is a case in point. Balanchine had choreographed the complete ballet score, Le Baiser de la Fée, in 1937. Unhappy with the result, he revised it in 1940, again in 1947, and yet again in 1950. In 1972, he did a whole new plotless version, using Stravinsky’s 1934 concert suite of the ballet, Divertimento. But the suite wasn’t sacrosanct. Daringly Balanchine rearranged and cut, while also splicing in bits from the full score; he tinkered still more in 1974. The final score, as NYCB timpanist Arnold Goldberg said, “was all chopped up. It was really something to play. We were flipping pages back and forth.” Balanchine had made Le Baiser his own. After an absence from repertory, the ballet comes back this spring—echoing, haunting, heartbreaking. Also on the program, another Balanchine-Stravinsky gem—Rubies—and that ravishingly dark romance set to Ravel, La Valse. —L.J.

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