Last night in front of a capacity crowd at their presentation of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Portland Ovations and Executive Director Aimée M. Petrin announced next season's dance series that will include the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet on March 21, 2013. Portland Ovations presentation of the Joffrey Ballet will anchor a season long theme honoring two important centennials the opening of Portland's cherished Merrill Auditorium and the premiere of one of the greatest works of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.
Making the connection between the shared centennials, Portland Ovations knew that Stravinsky's seminal masterpiece; Rite of Spring/Le Sacre du Printemps was the perfect work to anchor a season-long celebration. Originally written as an orchestral score for dance, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring was premiered by Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky on May 29, 1913. Controversial in its time, history now sees it as a work that changed classical dance and music forms, as well as how audiences hear and see.
Recognized as America's premier ballet company and world-renowned for it's interpretations of classical works as well as pioneering modern dance pieces, the Chicago-based Joffrey Ballet, who reconstructed Rite of Spring in 1987 based on meticulous research of the original costumes, design and choreography will bring one of their crowning achievements to life on the Merrill stage for its' Maine debut. "Hosting a company of this stature, with as many as 46 dancers, performing a work of this magnitude will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community," explains Ovations Executive Director Aimée M. Petrin.
Along with the performance by the Joffrey Ballet, Portland Ovations centennial celebration will also include other interpretations of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Up and coming award-winning classical pianists So Yeon Lee and Ran Dank will perform the piece in the not-often performed four-hand arrangement (one piano, two musicians). Acclaimed jazz trio, The Bad Plus will perform their project On Sacred Ground: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, a multi-media event taking the original composition to its farthest reaches and bringing it into the 21st century and North America's premier wind quintet, Imani Winds the Grammy nominated chamber music ensemble will perform a unique arrangement of Rite of Spring created by Jonathan Russell for wind instruments.
Portland Ovations is in the midst of planning a variety of Ovations Offstage activities to coincide with the Rite of Spring series and centennial celebration, many in collaboration with local partners and inspired by Portland and Maine's own artistic legacy. Andrew Downs, Portland's Director of Public Assembly Facilities states, "We are thrilled Portland Ovations has found such an innovative and artful way to mark the 100th Anniversary of Merrill Auditorium. We eagerly await the performance by The Joffrey along with all of the Rite of Spring activities -- and know it will be an exciting time for our community."
The full 2012-13 Portland Ovations season will be announced to Members at a special preview party in early June and tickets to all performances will go on-sale first for Members shortly after the party and then to the general public in the middle of June. If you want to get first dibs on tickets, Membership for Portland Ovations, the non-profit performing arts presenter starts at a $40 donation.