Pennsylvania Ballet and Artistic Director Angel Corella will take audiences on a classical yet modern journey with works by three choreographers in A Program of Firsts. George Balanchine’s Serenade, Liam Scarlett’s Asphodel Meadows, and a much anticipated World Premiere from Pennsylvania Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence Matthew Neenan, May 12-15 at The Academy of Music, sponsored by Bank of America.
“This program brings together classical scores as well as modern touches,” said Artistic Director Angel Corella. “I’m excited to present another Matthew Neenan World premiere, along with the North American Premiere of Asphodel Meadows, and the return of George Balanchine’s masterpiece Serenade, the first ballet Balanchine created in America. These ballets showcase how our artists’ technical abilities can be used to create emotional and moving performances for our audience.”
The program opens with George Balanchine’s Serenade, a milestone in the history of dance set to the classic score of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48. Four different styled movements are incorporated into this program including “Sonatina,” “Waltz,” “Russian Dance,” and “Elegy,” with the last two movements reversing the order of Tchaikovsky’s score, the ballet reflects the emotions heard in the music. Throughout the piece, Balanchine includes unexpected events that happened during the creation of the ballet, such as students falling or arriving late, into the choreography.
Choreographer in Residence Matthew Neenan will debut his latest World Premiere, which takes audiences into the mind of a performer, experiencing the emotional tolls they face on and off the stage, and the memories that they have made throughout their career. With a newly commissioned orchestral score composed by Troy Herion, the piece is an intimate glimpse into the mind of a dancer.
“This piece is a reflection on what a dancer’s memory might be like, set to an original score by Troy Herion.” said Matthew Neenan. “Troy and I worked hard to make a structure for the composition that would feel Baroque and modern at the same time. And we aim to make the Academy of Music stage look different than it ever has, more open and bare than any audience usually sees it.”
Finally, created for The Royal Ballet in 2010, Pennsylvania Ballet performs the North American Premiere of Liam Scarlett’s Asphodel Meadows. The music for this ballet, Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos in D Minor features a dialogue between the two pianos, which is mirrored in the compelling series of pas de deux performed by three principal couples. This contemporary interpretation of classical style closely follows the score and quickly shifts in mood throughout the movements of the piece.
“Asphodel Meadows is choreographed to a lovely piece of music that has many textures in the three movements,” said Amanda Eyles, stager for Liam Scarlett. “Scarlett’s choreography creates a synergy through the melding of the movements and the music that is striking to the audience.”
The performances at The Academy of Music:
- Thursday, May 12 at 7:30pm
- Friday, May 13 at 7:30pm
- Saturday, May 14 at 2:00pm
- Saturday, May 14 at 8:00pm
- Sunday, May 15 at 2:00pm
Tickets are available online at paballet.org or by phone at 215.893.1999, and in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office.