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ABT News

October 26, 2017

World Premieres of AFTERITE by Wayne McGregor and Harlequinade by Alexei Ratmansky to Highlight ABT's 2018 Spring Season, May 14-July 7, at Metropolitan Opera House

Guest Artist Natalia Osipova to Dance Title Role in Giselle May 18

Family Matinee of Whipped Cream Scheduled For Friday, July 6

Costume sketch for Harlequinade by Robert Perdziola.

American Ballet Theatre’s 2018 Spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, May 14-July 7, will feature the World Premieres of AFTERITE by Wayne McGregor and Harlequinade by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, it was announced today by ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

Principal Dancers for the 2018 Metropolitan Opera House are Stella Abrera, Roberto Bolle, Isabella Boylston, Jeffrey Cirio, Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Sarah Lane, Alban Lendorf, Gillian Murphy, Hee Seo, Christine Shevchenko, Daniil Simkin, Cory Stearns, Devon Teuscher and James Whiteside.


2018 Spring Gala Performance and World Premiere of AFTERITE

American Ballet Theatre’s 2018 Spring Gala on Monday, May 21 will feature the World Premiere of AFTERITE by Wayne McGregor, Resident Choreographer at The Royal Ballet.  In his first work for ABT, McGregor will create a new scenario set to Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of SpringAFTERITE will be brought to the stage by set and costume designer Vicki Mortimer, with video designs by Ravi Deepres and lighting by Lucy Carter, all of whom have previously collaborated with McGregor.

The 2018 Spring Gala will also feature excerpts from Ratmansky’s Harlequinade.  The all-new production of Harlequinade, staged by Ratmansky after the original by Marius Petipa, will be given its World Premiere by American Ballet Theatre on June 4, 2018.  A comic ballet in two-acts, Harlequinade is set to music by Riccardo Drigo and first premiered in 1900 in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The new production will feature sets and costumes by Robert Perdziola and lighting by Brad Fields.  Following its World Premiere, the ballet will be given seven performances during the 2018 Spring season. A co-production with The Australian Ballet, Harlequinade is ABT’s first full-length production of the ballet.  For more information on ABT’s 2018 Spring Gala, please call the Special Events Office at 212-477-3030, ext. 3310.

McGregor’s AFTERITE will share the program with Ratmansky’s Firebird for seven performances through Saturday, May 26. The one-act Stravinsky classic with original choreography by Ratmansky, features scenery by Simon Pastukh, costumes by Galina Solovyeva, lighting by Brad Fields and projections by Wendall K. Harrington.  Ratmansky’s production of Firebird was given its World Premiere at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa, California on March 29, 2012, danced by Natalia Osipova (Firebird), Marcelo Gomes (Ivan), David Hallberg (Kaschei) and Simone Messmer (Maiden).  Ratmansky’s Firebird, co-commissioned by American Ballet Theatre and Dutch National Ballet, is American Ballet Theatre’s fourth production of the ballet.

Full-length Ballets

American Ballet Theatre’s 2018 Spring season opens with eight performances of Giselle beginning Monday evening, May 14, led by Hee Seo in the title role, opposite Cory Stearns as Albrecht and Gillian Murphy as Myrta.  Guest Artist Natalia Osipova will perform the title role on Friday, May 18 opposite David Hallberg as Albrecht.

Set to music by Adolphe Adam, with scenery by Gianni Quaranta, costumes by Anna Anni and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Giselle features choreography after Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa and has been staged for ABT by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.  The world premiere of Giselle, one of the oldest continually‑performed ballets, occurred at the Theatre de l’Academie Royale de Musique in Paris on June 28, 1841.  The ballet was first presented by ABT (then Ballet Theatre) at the Center Theatre in New York City on January 12, 1940 with choreography by Anton Dolin and scenery and costumes by Lucinda Ballard.  The leading roles were danced by Annabelle Lyon and Anton Dolin.  American Ballet Theatre’s sixth production, featuring scenery by Gianni Quaranta and costumes by Anna Anni, was created for the film Dancers, produced in 1987 by Cannon Films.  This production’s first public performance was given on March 20, 1987 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, with Marianna Tcherkassky as Giselle and Kevin McKenzie as Albrecht.  The current staging is by McKenzie, using the Quaranta and Anni designs.

The first of seven performances of La Bayadère on Tuesday, May 29 will be led by Hee Seo as Nikiya, David Hallberg as Solor and Gillian Murphy as Gamzatti.  Choreographed by Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa, La Bayadère is set to music by Ludwig Minkus, specially arranged by John Lanchbery, and features scenery by PierLuigi Samaritani, costumes by Theoni V. Aldredge and lighting by Toshiro Ogawa.  The full‑length La Bayadère received its World Premiere by the Imperial Ballet at the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg on February 4, 1877.  La Bayadère, Act II (The Kingdom of the Shades) was first performed in the West by the Leningrad‑Kirov Ballet in 196l.  Natalia Makarova first staged The Kingdom of the Shades scene for American Ballet Theatre in 1974, and it received its premiere at the State Theater in New York City on July 3 of that year, danced by Cynthia Gregory as Nikiya and Ivan Nagy as Solor.  Makarova subsequently produced and choreographed the complete version of La Bayadère (in three acts) for American Ballet Theatre, which received its World Premiere on May 21, 1980 with Natalia Makarova as Nikiya, Anthony Dowell as Solor and Cynthia Harvey as Gamzatti.

Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet will be given eight performances beginning Monday evening, June 11 with Gillian Murphy as Juliet, Marcelo Gomes as Romeo and Daniil Simkin as Mercutio.  Set to the score by Sergei Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet features scenery and costumes by Nicholas Georgiadis and lighting by Thomas Skelton. Romeo and Juliet received its World Premiere by The Royal Ballet in London on February 9, 1965 and was given its ABT Company Premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House on April 22, 1985 with Leslie Browne and Robert La Fosse in the leading roles.

Eight performances of Swan Lake, choreographed by Kevin McKenzie after Marius Petipa, will be given beginning Monday, June 18 with Devon Teuscher and Marcelo Gomes leading the opening night cast.  Swan Lake is set to the score by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky and features scenery and costumes by Zack Brown and lighting by Duane Schuler.  This production of Swan Lake premiered on March 24, 2000 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. with Julie Kent (Odette-Odile), Angel Corella (Prince Siegfried) and Marcelo Gomes (von Rothbart).

Don Quixote will begin the first of eight performances on Monday evening, June 25 led by Isabella Boylston as Kitri, Daniil Simkin as Basilio, Hee Seo as Mercedes and James Whiteside as Espada.  The ballet is staged by Kevin McKenzie and Susan Jones, with choreography after Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky.  Don Quixote is set to music by Ludwig Minkus and features scenery and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Natasha Katz.  The McKenzie/Jones staging of the current production was first performed by ABT on June 12, 1995.

Last season’s World Premiere production of Whipped Cream returns to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House for eight performances beginning Monday, July 2 featuring Daniil Simkin, Stella Abrera, David Hallberg and Sarah Lane in the leading roles.  Choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, the ballet features scenery and costumes by artist Mark Ryden and lighting by Brad Fields.  Whipped Cream, with a libretto and score by Richard Strauss, is based on the two-act ballet originally created as Schlagobers, which premiered at the Vienna State Opera in 1924.  Ratmansky’s production received its World Premiere by ABT on March 15, 2017 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California.  Whipped Cream will be given eight performances at the Metropolitan Opera House through Saturday evening, July 7, including a special matinee performance on Friday, July 6 at 2:00 P.M.


ABTKids, American Ballet Theatre’s annual one-hour introduction to ballet, is scheduled for Saturday morning, May 19 at 11:30 A.M.  All tickets for ABTKids are $25.

Subscriptions for American Ballet Theatre’s 2018 Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House, on sale beginning Wednesday, November 1, are available by phone at 212-362-6000, or online at ABT’s website

American Airlines is the Official Airline of American Ballet Theatre. Northern Trust is the Leading Corporate Sponsor of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. ABT is supported, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

American Ballet Theatre’s performances of Giselle are generously supported through an endowed gift from Sharon Patrick. 

La Bayadère is generously supported by an endowed gift from Drs. Philip and Marjorie Gerdine. In loving memory of Caroline Newhouse. 

American Ballet Theatre’s performances of Romeo and Juliet are generously underwritten through an endowed gift from Ali and Monica Wambold. 

Firebird is generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

Swan Lake is generously underwritten by R. Chemers Neustein. Costumes for Swan Lake are generously sponsored through Ellen Everett Kimiatek Costume Preservation Trust. 

Don Quixote is generously supported through an endowed gift from Anka K. Palitz in memory of Clarence Y. Palitz Jr. 

Leadership support for The Ratmansky Project, including Harlequinade and Whipped Cream, has been generously provided by Avery and Andrew F. Barth, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton E. James, and The Ted and Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund. Additional major support has been provided by Linda Allard, Sarah Arison, Lisa and Dick Cashin, Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation, The Susan and Leonard Feinstein Foundation, William J. Gillespie, Brian J. Heidtke, Howard S. Paley, Bernard L. Schwartz, Melissa A. Smith, The H. Russell Smith Foundation/Stewart R. Smith and Robin A. Ferracone, and the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation.  ABT gratefully acknowledges Dr. Joan Taub Ades, Steven Backes, Mark Casey and Carrier Gaiser Casey, Linda and Martin Fell, Vicki Netter Fitzgerald, John Leland Sills and Elizabeth Papadopoulos-Sills, and Barbara and Sedgwick Ward for their generosity.

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