David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza (Columbus Ave. at 63rd St.)
Description: Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's ballet chant� (sung ballet) has a long association with George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet. Originally commissioned for Balanchine's experimental Les Ballets 1933, it starred Weill's wife, singer/actress Lotte Lenya and dancer Tilly Losch. In 1958, at the suggestion of Lincoln Kirstein, Balanchine revived the production for City Ballet, again starring Lotte Lenya and young dancer Allegra Kent, with a new English translation from the German by poets W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman.
The Seven Deadly (or Cardinal) Sins?Sloth, Pride, Anger, Gluttony, Lust, Greed, and Envy?do not appear as such in the Bible. Since early Christian times theologians incorporated them into Church teachings as examples of sins that led to other sins. In the Weill-Brecht collaboration, these forbidden human frailties are explored in a cabaret-style melding of music, song, dance, and spectacle. A sometimes bittersweet, sometimes sardonic morality play set in an imagined America (neither composer or librettist had yet been to the United States), it tells the story of two Annas (perhaps sisters, perhaps alter-egos) as they travel to seven cities to earn enough money so their family can "build a little home down by the Mississippi in Louisiana," encountering in each city one of the title sins. The two Annas are very different: Anna 1 sings "[Anna 2's] the one with looks, I'm realistic/She's just a little mad, my head's on straight?" Weill's score combines popular music from the 1920s and 30s (foxtrots, waltzes), with a barbershop quartet, marches and hymns into a melodic symphonic whole filled with the driving rhythms and unusual orchestrations that are a hallmark of his work. Brecht's libretto has been open to various interpretations. At the 1933 premiere, audiences could see a reflection of a decadent Berlin, the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, and the turmoil caused by the Great Depression. Over the years, others have viewed it as Brecht's critique of capitalism. One reviewer called the current City Ballet production a depiction of a "not-so-mythical America, a world in which for the sake of money, moral values are turned sharply on their head." Choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett has commented that in light of the country's on-going political, social, and economic polarizations, the nearly 80-year-old work continues to speak to and resonate with today's audiences.
Venue Description: Founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine, New York City Ballet (NYCB) has the largest repertoire of any American ballet company and is currently the largest dance organization in America. The company stages more than 60 ballets in its winter and spring seasons at Lincoln Center each year and more than 20 in its summer season in Saratoga Springs. Balanchine's creativity influenced dance both across the United States and in Europe and The School of American Ballet (SAB), which Balanchine founded, is the official training school of New York City Ballet, where young American dancers are trained and schooled under the guidance of the world's greatest ballet masters. New York City Ballet has made numerous appearances in the world?s most influential capitals, with an active repertory of over 150 works, principally choreographed by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins. NYCB's performances include "The Nutcracker," "Romeo and Juliet," and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," among others. The New York City Ballet also has a permanent orchestra and holds annual classical music festivals like the Stravinsky Festival, the Tchaikovsky Festival, and the American Music Festival.
The New York City Ballet's permanent performance space is located at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on 63rd Street in Manhattan, and the other at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY. The School of American Ballet is located in the Samuel B. & David Rose Building at Lincoln Center. For more information: nycballet.com.
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