Inspired by the beauty of gemstones the choreographer saw in the display windows of the New York jewellers Van Cleef and Arpels, this full-length ballet in three movements is Balanchine’s tribute to emeralds, rubies and diamonds.
Russian-born George Balanchine brought with him to the USA the classical ballet technique of his home country; but was fascinated by the jazzy rhythms and sheer energy of his adopted country, and at its best his work reflects a very harmonious fusion of the two.
Jewels, which he created in 1967 for his own New York City Ballet (NYCB), is certainly a case in point. Emeralds uses Fauré’s pensive music as a basis on which to probe the mysterious depth of this precious stone. Both soloists and corps are dressed in luscious green costumes, with diaphanous long tule tutus for the women.
In complete contrast, the cast of Rubies are dressed in bright red satin, their choreography all sassy fire and jazz on an energetic Stravinsky score. No tutus here: just legs free to kick and twirl in ever more intricate and exhilarating patterns.
Diamonds, the stones which more than any others epitomise elegant grandeur, draw this extraordinary ballet to a close. Needless to say, the classical costumes are white and glittery. Tchaikovsky - who else? - provides the score, the richness of his Third Symphony an apt throwback to the opulence of Imperial Russia.
Throughout, the women are, of course, bejewelled, while the men’s jerkins are liberally embroidered with sparkling stones in the costume designs from the original NYCB production.
Together, the three movements bear testimony to the genius of George Balanchine; and the Royal Ballet give a committed account of their brilliance. Go!
Live Cinema Relay 11th April.
|What||The Royal Ballet, Jewels at Covent Garden|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
01 Apr 17 – 21 Apr 17, 19:30 Sat mats 14:30 sat eves 19:00
|Website||Click here to book via Culture Whisper and See Tickets|