Ballet West's 1991-92 season will include the national premiere of a work by world-renowned choreographer John Neumeier, and three other works never seen by Utah audiences, says artistic director John Hart. Two full-length ballets and two repertory shows, plus "The Nutcracker" with new costumes and scenery, will highlight the season.
Ballet West looks forward to opening the Kennedy Center's dance season in Washington, D.C., in early October. Accordingly, a Bon Voyage Festival showcasing dances scheduled for the center will take place Sept. 4-21, with back-to-back productions of the full tour repertoire.A varied repertory program Sept. 4-8 will begin with Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15, followed by the "The Gilded Bat," choreographed by Peter Anastos, with scene and costumes designed by Edward Gorey. The piece has an original score by Peter Golub and costumes executed by Jennifer Craig.
Completing the program is Neumeier's "Age of Anxiety," a dance/drama loosely based on the W.H. Auden poem of the same name. That's also the subtitle for Leonard Bernstein's Second Symphony, which provides the musical score. Zack Brown has designed sets and costumes for this work, commissioned for Ballet West by the Kennedy Center. It's one of six such commissions to ballet companies of the United States, all elements of whose production must come from Americans.
Also scheduled for Washington is "Anna Karenina," an evening-length piece based on Tolstoy's Victorian tragedy, which will be danced here Sept. 13-21. Andre Prokovsky is choreographer, with musical score assembled from Tchaikovsky and arranged by Guy Wollfenden. Sets and costumes are by Peter Farmer.
The Kennedy Center engagement is the fourth for Ballet West, making it the regional company most frequently invited to Kennedy Center. "We are honored to open the dance season at the Kennedy Center Opera House, and conscious of our responsibility, representing Utah and the West," said artistic director John Hart. "We know we take the love of all our friends with us to Washington in October 1991."
On Friday, Dec. 13, Ballet West will open its ever popular seasonal production of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker." Choreography is by Willam Christensen, with new sets and costumes designed by Ariel Ballif and funded by donations from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation and private citizens of Utah. The "Nutcracker" will have 22 performances in Salt Lake City, with 15 performances on tour to Ogden, Anchorage, Alaska, and San Antonio, Texas.
"Rosalinda," an effervescent full-length piece by British choreographer Ronald Hynd, will enliven the winter season, with performances Feb. 14-22, 1992. It's an elegant 1920s version of the comic opera "Die Fledermaus," with the same waltzes and polkas by Johann Strauss, set amid scenery and costumes of Peter Docherty.
The spring repertory season, March 27-April 4, 1992, will feature works by Ballet West danseur Raymond Van Mason and Val Caniparoli, plus Balanchine's "Theme and Variations," a showy abstract ballet with music of Tchaikovsky.
Van Mason's "Seasons" is sometimes lyrical, sometimes jazzy, with music by Utah composer Kurt Bestor, costumes by David Heuvel. "I have tried to create a fun ballet that evokes the experiences of spring, summer, fall and winter in our great state," said Mason.
Utahns will again see Caniparoli's "White Mourning," which premiered here in 1989. A modern ballet that mystically explores Hungarian folk customs surrounding marriage and death, it is set to Schubert's "Death and the Maiden," arranged by Mahler, with sets and costumes by Nadine Baylis.
John Hart is encouraged by the company's successful 1990-91 season, which saw sold-out performances of "Sleeping Beauty" and "Nutcracker," and added matinees for "Beauty" and "Romeo and Juliet."
"It's a result of many things, including better planning at the box office, our successful mini-series sales, and our telephone campaign," he said. "Everyone is busy, rushing around, and all departments working well. Our budget for next year is back up to $4 million, thanks to lots of help, both private and corporate."
Orders for season tickets may be placed beginning April 15, and renewal notices to current subscribers will be mailed this month. Prices range from $27 to $148, up to one-fourth less than single ticket prices. For information, call the Ballet West box office, 363-9318, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.