Jewels uses three gem stones as starting points to explore an array of musical and dance styles that are intimately connected to Balanchine’s own life and career.
George Balanchine’s glittering ballet was inspired by the beauty of the gem stones he saw in the jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels. It was created in 1967 for the New York City Ballet and is the first abstract three-act ballet. Jewels was performed in full by The Royal Ballet for the first time in 2007. The production uses costume designs from the original version and new set designs by Jean-Marc Puissant.
Each of the three movements draws on a different stone for its inspiration and a different composer for its sound. The French Romantic music of Fauré provides the impetus for the lyricism of ‘Emeralds’. The fire of ‘Rubies’ comes from Stravinsky and the jazz-age energy of New York. Grandeur and elegance complete the ballet in ‘Diamonds’ with the splendour of Imperial Russia and the music of Tchaikovsky. Each section salutes a different era in classical ballet’s history as well as a distinct period in Balanchine’s own life. Through it all, Balanchine displays his genius for combining concert music with visionary choreography.
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