Serenade & Angels’ Atlas
Serenade & Angels’ Atlas
Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite created Angels’ Atlas for The National Ballet of Canada in March 2020 to rapturous reviews. The ballet unfolds against a morphing wall of light that carries the illusion of depth and a sense of the natural world. Here, the dancing body becomes a sign of humanity’s impermanence and – equally – its vitality within a vast, unknowable world.
Set to original music by Owen Belton and choral pieces by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Morten Lauridsen, Angels’ Atlas is a profound new work from one of the world’s leading contemporary choreographers.
A former dancer with Ballet British Columbia and Ballett Frankfurt under William Forsythe, Crystal Pite is now a leading contemporary choreographer. She is Associate Choreographer of Nederlands Dans Theater, Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre and Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells, London. Her company, Kidd Pivot, performs her original creations around the world.
Canadian composer Owen Belton incorporates a range of acoustic and electronic instruments in his music together with found or common sounds. His many scores for dance have been performed by Kidd Pivot, Ballett Frankfurt and Nederlands Dans Theater, among others. Belton also performs as a singer-songwriter with the band Lost Hombre.
Morten Lauridsen is an American composer of choral music, former Composer-in-Residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (1994 – 2001) and professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. In 2007, he received the National Medal of Arts for “radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth.”
The late 19th century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky created some of the most popular works in the classical repertoire, particularly his three full-length scores for ballet: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. His body of work includes full-length operas, multiple symphonies and concertos.
“Human yearning is evoked powerfully onstage… Crystal Pite has a gift for bringing out the very best in dancers.” — Toronto Star
“A glimpse into the infinite... Angels’ Atlas explores the human condition to rapturous choral music and ingenious lighting design.” — The Globe and Mail
“Pite has created another masterpiece.” — Ludwig van Toronto
Created in 1934, Serenade was George Balanchine’s first original ballet created in the US and one of many he set to the music of his beloved composer Tchaikovsky, in this case the beautiful, mournful Serenade for Strings, Op. 48. Today, Serenade is an iconic Balanchine work, especially for its unforgettable opening scene – an ensemble of women standing together, heads turned, one arm raised to the sky.
Born in St. Petersburg, George Balanchine, co-founder and director of New York City Ballet, is one of the most renowned and prolific choreographers of the 20th century. He is credited with revolutionizing the look of classical ballet for a new era in works of unprecedented musicality and aesthetic brilliance.
The late 19th-century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky created some of the most popular works in the classical repertoire, particularly his three full-length scores for ballet: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. His body of work includes full-length operas, symphonies and concertos.
“Exquisitely captured by the mostly female Corps de Ballet who demonstrated just how strong the National [Ballet]’s women are.” — The Globe and Mail
“Undiminished by the 70 years that have passed since its creation… thanks, in no small part to the skill and devotion brought to the work by the artists of The National Ballet of Canada” — Toronto Star
“One of the masterpieces of 20th century ballet” — Toronto Star
Tanya Howard and Guillaume Côté in Soul. Photo by Karolina Kuras.
In lieu of intermission, the National Ballet will screen Soul, a beautiful work created for film by Canadian choreographer Jera Wolfe for the company’s virtual season in 2020/21. Soul explores the insular beauty of personal relationships through two duets set to the same piece of music, All Human Beings by Max Richter. The film, directed by Paul McNulty, was edited to show only half of each six-minute duet, leaving the remainder of the choreography unseen. This reinforces Wolfe’s theme that every relationship is a world unto itself and can never truly be known from the outside. This poetic film features Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté and First Soloist Tanya Howard, and Principal Dancers Harrison James and Ben Rudisin.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Opus 41, No. 6: Cherubic Hymn
Morten Lauridsen, O Magnum Mysterium
Reflective Light Backdrop Concept:
Jay Gower Taylor
Reflective Light Backdrop Design:
Jay Gower Taylor and Tom Visser
Assistant to the Choreographer:
Premiere: The National Ballet of Canada, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, February 29, 2020
Produced and commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada.
A co-production of The National Ballet of Canada and Ballett Zürich.
Philanthropic support for Angels’ Atlas is generously provided by An Anonymous Donor, Rosamond Ivey, Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The Producers’ Circle, The Volunteer Committee of The National Ballet of Canada and The Gail Hutchison Fund.
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 Garland & 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., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation, Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Serenade for Strings, Op. 48
Premiere: American Ballet, Adelphi Theater, New York City, March 1, 1935
The National of Canada Ballet Premiere: North Texas State University, Denton, TX, October 17, 1962
The performance of Serenade, 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.
All Human Beings, Performed by Max Richter, Kiki Layne & Mari Samuelsen
Courtesy of Decca Records, under exclusive license from Universal Music Canada Inc.
Wardrobe Department, Stacy Dimitropoulos, Wardrobe Supervisor
Rex Harrington, O.C.
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