Artists have long been fascinated with the Greek myth of Orpheus, the gifted musician who rescues Eurydice from death only to lose her again in a moment of doubt. At its core, theirs is a story about love, trust and the redemptive potential of art. With Orpheus Alive, Choreographic Associate Robert Binet brings a fresh perspective to the myth, casting Orpheus as a woman, Eurydice as a man and the audience as gods of the underworld who decide their fate.
Toronto-born Robert Binet was appointed Choreographic Associate of The National Ballet of Canada in 2013 following his apprenticeship with Wayne McGregor, Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet. Robert has created new work for ballet companies worldwide. In 2018, he became Creative Producer of CreativAction, a new initiative by the National Ballet to support Canadian choreographers and the dance community.
Missy Mazzoli composes for stage, television and film, and recently made history as the first of two women to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. She is the Mead Composer-in-Residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and her music is performed internationally. In 2018, she was nominated for a Grammy for her work Vespers for Violin.
Orpheus Alive excerpts were performed at the Guggenheim’s Works & Process in New York City.
Orpheus Alive excerpts were performed at the Guggenheim’s Works & Process in New York City with a panel discussion featuring Robert Binet, Missy Mazzoli and Rosamund Small, moderated by Artistic Director Wendy Whelan.
“Binet’s vision was presented in a completely original concept with refreshing authenticity.” —Calgary Herald
“Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” —Time Out New York on Missy Mazzoli
At just 28 minutes long, Chaconne delights in movement for its own sake, from the lyricism of the opening pas de deux right through to the large ensemble dances and grand solos of the finale. Set to Gluck’s famous music for opera, Orfeo ed Euridice, it is George Balanchine’s most abstract meditation on the Orpheus myth, with choreography that glides seamlessly from light and otherworldly to regal and festive.
Born in Russia, George Balanchine arrived in America in 1933 to usher in one of the most exciting periods in contemporary ballet. He developed the first distinctly American style of dance and founded his own company, New York City Ballet, to showcase his work. He created an estimated 425 ballets in his lifetime.
Christoph Willibald Gluck was an 18th century German composer best known for reforming opera to heighten drama, encourage flow and integrate the chorus and ballet. The most popular of these was his Orfeo ed Euridice, which premiered in Vienna in 1762.
“George Balanchine's Chaconne moves from heaven to earth.” —The New York Times
“Chaconne is spun sugar… So engrossing, so full of surprises, that your heart sank when the curtain fell.” —The Washington Post
Orpheus Alive World Premiere
Writer, Dramaturge and Text Direction:
Set and Costume Design:
Produced and commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada.
Lead philanthropic support for Orpheus Alive is provided by The Producers’ Circle.
The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin & Roger Garland, C.M., Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan-Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., Lynda & Jonas Prince, Susan Scace & Arthur Scace, C.M., Q.C., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation, Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.
Chaconne Company Premiere
George Balanchine ©The George Balanchine Trust
Christoph Willibald Gluck, Orfeo ed Euridice
The performance of Chaconne, a Balanchine® Ballet, is presented by arrangement with The George Balanchine Trust and has been produced by arrangement with the Balanchine Style® and Balanchine Technique® Service standards established and provided by the Trust.
Video Credits: Robert Binet on Orpheus Alive
Featuring: Robert Binet, Harrison James, Heather Ogden, Sonia Rodriguez, Jack Bertinshaw, Ben Rudisin, Spencer Hack, Siphesihle November, Kota Sato, Calley Skalnik, Giorgio Galli, Genevieve Penn Nabity, Ethan Watts, Artists of the Ballet, Jeff Morris - Stage Manager, Liliane Stilwell - Stage Manager, Musicians of The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra
Video Credits: 5 Things About Orpheus Alive
Featuring: Robert Binet, Harrison James, Heather Ogden, Musicians of The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra
Photography: Robert Binet and Missy Mazzoli. Photo by Anne-Marie Jackson.
Musicians have been recorded by permission of the Toronto Musicians' Association, Local 149, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.
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