When the curtain rose at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris on May 29, 1913, the performance that unfolded was so revolutionary and so shocking that it caused a riot, and the police had to be called to quell the violence. The premiere of The Rite of Spring was a watershed moment in Western culture, forever changing the course of classical music and dance. This provocative work is a collaboration of three of the most storied artists of the 20th century: the barrier-breaking composer Igor Stravinsky; the legendary Russian dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky; and the brilliant, maddening impresario Serge Diaghilev.
One hundred years later, this seminal event still reverberates through the culture. In March 2013, Stanton Welch, artistic director of the Houston Ballet, will present a new staging of The Rite of Spring, deploying the company’s full complement of 54 dancers in an epic interpretation of the work. *
Tuesday, February 19: Delve deeply into the rich, scandalous history of the Russian ballets with Dr. Nancy Bailey of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She will also present scenes from the documentary of The Joffrey Ballet’s recreation of the 1913 work. Dr. Bailey holds M. A. and Ph.D. degrees in musicology from the University of Southern California. Her lecture will be presented at the Center for Dance.
Thursday, February 21: Go behind the scenes at the magnificent new award-winning Houston Ballet Center for Dance for a tour with General Manager Emeritus C. C. Conner and Executive Director Jim Nelson.
Tuesday, February 26: Visit the Booker Lowe Galleries to see the stunning canvases by indigenous Australian artist Rosella Namok that inspired Mr. Welch’s re-creation of The Rite of Spring. After visiting the gallery, you and the speakers are invited to a reception at a private home in nearby River Oaks.
Wednesday, March 6: Be among the first in Houston to see the world premiere of a new production of The Rite of Spring when you attend the final dress rehearsal.
*Participants may also want to attend (on their own) the modern-dance staging of this work by Shen Wei of Beijing Olympics fame on Saturday, May 18 presented by Society for the Performing Arts. Please note this performance is NOT part of the Houston Seminar course.