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Tchaikovsky’s Masterpieces

George Balanchine, Mai Murdmaa
Viesturs Jansons, Viki Psihoyos
November 20, 2020 at Estonian National Opera

Short ballet by George Balanchine

Choreographer George Balanchine
Staged by Viki Psihoyos
Conductors Arvo Volmer, Vello Pähn, Kaspar Mänd
Designer Karinska
Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48

"Serenade" is a milestone in the history of dance. It is the first original ballet Balanchine created in America and is one of the signature works of New York City Ballet’s repertory.
Originating it as a lesson in stage technique, Balanchine worked unexpected rehearsal events into the choreography. When one student fell, he incorporated it. Another day, a student arrived late, and this too became part of the ballet.
After its initial presentation, "Serenade" was reworked several times. In its present form there are four movements: "Sonatina", "Waltz", "Russian Dance", and "Elegy". The last two movements reverse the order of Tschaikovsky’s score, ending the ballet on a note of sadness.

Balanchine had a special affinity for Tschaikovsky. "In everything that I did to Tschaikovsky’s music," he told an interviewer, "I sensed his help. It wasn’t real conversation. But when I was working and saw that something was coming of it, I felt that it was Tschaikovsky who had helped me."

George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6
Short ballet by Mai Murdmaa

Choreographer Mai Murdmaa
Staged by Viesturs Jansons
Conductors Arvo Volmer, Vello Pähn, Kaspar Mänd
Designer Marja-Liisa Pihlak
Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, “Pathétique”
World premiere in 1990 at the Latvian Opera and Ballet Theatre

Murdmaa created her ballet as a tribute to one of the greatest Russian composers, Pyotr Tchaikovsky. His brilliant and emotional work hid a sensitive and contradictory artist. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 ("Pathétique") portrays perfectly the various aspects of the nature of a beloved composer but a lonely man: creative turmoil, love, self-discovery, passion and depression. Viesturs Jansons created the role of Tchaikovsky for the world premiere.