A ballet as multifaceted as the gemstones of its name, George Balanchine’s Jewels is one of the great masterpieces of 20th-century dance. In 2005, the Paris Opera Ballet performed the work in all its glittering beauty at the Palais Garnier with Paul Connelly at the head of the Paris Opera Orchestra.
Premiered in 1967 by the New York City Ballet, Jewels’s three parts can be seen as three separate ballets that become one whole through their jewel-colored costumes. At the heart of Balanchine’s chef-d’œuvre are the three unique dance traditions—French, American, and Russian—that shaped his career and defined the history of ballet in the 20th century. First comes Emeralds, set to excerpts from Gabriel Fauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Shylock, a delicately shimmering music by the French Romantic composer par excellence. The irresistible rhythms of Broadway then command the stage in Rubies, a choreography inspired by Balanchine’s experiences on the Great White Way set to Stravinsky’s jazzy Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra. Finally, the lush music of Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony announces Diamonds, with white crystalline tutus and gentle melodies recalling the beauty of Russian ballets like Swan Lake.
With the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra
Bernice Coppieters (Sleeping Beauty), Chris Roelandt (The Prince), Nicolas Kahn (The King)... – Les Ballets de Monte Carlo