Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jerome Robbins at the New York City Ballet

The Rubinstein Atrium across from Lincoln Center is offering half-price tickets to the New York City Ballet this season so last night I attended a program that featured four works by Jerome Robbins.

In the Night (1970), set to Chopin's nocturnes, featured three duets that portrayed romantic love (Janie Taylor and Tyler Angle), courtly love (Maria Kowrowkski and Andrew Veyette), and tempestuous love (Wendy Whelan and Jared Angle). The final nocturne featured all three couples in various configurations and it still packs an emotional wallop - such an achingly beautiful performance by everyone involved. I rarely cry at the ballet but came very close with this one.

Whelan was as good as ever in one of her signature roles, The Novice in The Cage (1951). The theme is a colony of female creatures that prey on men, set to Stravinsky's Concerto in D for String Orchestra. Andantino (1981), on the other hand, was a more standard classical duet seemingly inspired by Balanchine, featuring Tyler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia in a radiant pairing, set to the second movement of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1.

The program ended with In G Major (1975) featuring Ravel's complete piano concerto. I heard the piece with the Boston Symphony Orchestra back in March and it was such a different experience seeing the music animated by ballet steps. Robbins's choreography here is full of wit and humor and he captured the youthful, jazz-age insouciance of the score. Sterling Hyltin and Adrian Danchio Waring were wonderful in the second movement. Danchio Waring in particular has such a noble stage presence and breathtaking line - he deserves to be promoted to principal soon.

Now I'm in the mood for Balanchine. I'll have to check the calendar.

Here's an except from In the Night performed by Sara Webb and Connor Walsh of the Houston Ballet.

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