On March 7, 2013, Boston Ballet will premiere three powerful works by world-renowned contemporary choreographer, Ji?í Kylián. The program, titled All Kylián, will feature Wings of Wax, Tar and Feathers, and Symphony of Psalms. Boston Ballet is the first American company to present these ballets. Performances run from March 7 - 17, 2013 at The Boston Opera House.
"Ji?í Kylián is truly a living legend," said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. "His groundbreaking work has repeatedly stretched and revolutionized contemporary dance. This program illustrates why."
All Kylián opens with Wings of Wax which Nederlands Dans Theater premiered in 1997. This piece takes the audience on a perplexing yet entrancing journey. Wings of Wax features an enormous, bare tree suspended over the stage. Eight dancers in black continue to appear and disappear on a dramatically lit stage, creating an esoteric atmosphere throughout the ballet. The hauntingly beautiful score is a combination of selections by musical giants Philip Glass, Heinrich von Biber, John Cage, and Johann Sebastian Bach.
The program continues with Tar and Feathers, an avant-garde and thought provoking experience set to W.A. Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9. The grand refrains of Mozart's concerto are layered with the music of Japanese pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama, the only pianist in the world to accompany this work. Mukaiyama improvises her compositions on stage, playing from a grand piano elevated on 10 foot stilts. Above the complex aural textures, the voice of Ji?í Kylián himself is heard sporadically throughout the piece reciting Samuel Beckett's poem, What is the Word. The choreography exhibits sharp movements by the dancers that lead to breathtaking moments on stage.
All Kylián closes with Symphony of Psalms, a transcendent piece choreographed in 1978 for Nederlands Dans Theater. This iconic Kylián work is set to a choral masterpiece by Igor Stravinsky that will be performed live by Boston Ballet Orchestra, and the 58 vocalists of New World Chorale. Igor Stravinsky composed Symphonie de Psaumes for the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1930, when Serge Koussevitzky requested a commissioned work to celebrate their 50th anniversary. The backdrop for Symphony of Psalms is an intricate mosaic of Persian tapestries in elegant contrast to the neutral costumes worn by the dancers. While discussing Symphony of Psalms Kylián stated, "In this work we were able to create a certain kind of "spiritual architecture" filled with physicality, and a certain degree of faith."
Dancer and choreographer Ji?í Kylián was born in Prague, Czech Republic in 1947. These three works expand Boston Ballet's Kylián repertoire that currently includes Bella Figura, and the five-ballet Black and White. Boston Ballet is the only company outside of Nederlands Dance Theater to be granted Black and White, which was met with rave reviews when it was last presented in 2010. Since joining the organization in 2001, Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen has been committed to cultivating contemporary repertoire, including the work of Ji?í Kylián.