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Introduction to the Database

Preface by Lincoln Kirstein

Chronology: Life and Works
Roles Performed By Balanchine

Chronological Title List
Titles By Category

Festivals Directed By Balanchine

Itineraries Undertaken by
Balanchine's American

Research Resources

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       Titles of works are in the language of the premiere performance, with the exception of works first performed in Russia, which are given their most common Western title. Later or variant names of works appear in parentheses following the title; when a work enters the repertory of a later company under a different (or translated) name, that name is given as title, with the original following in parentheses. Subtitles of works are retained when they appear in printed programs, and are supplied to identify works other than ballets.

       Subsequent mountings of a ballet that has entered the repertory of more than one of the companies directed by Balanchine, or entered the repertory of a company directed by him after having first been performed by another company, are given separate records. Full information is included in the first record; the later mountings appear in chronological sequence, with the principal record number starred in the italic cross references, which also note different works choreographed to the same music. This serves to indicate the repeated and varying use of certain scores and the importance of works that have remained in the repertory of different companies with which Balanchine has been associated. Apollo (Apollon Musagète), for example, has entries in 1928 [84, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes], 1937 [176, American Ballet], 1941 [198, American Ballet Caravan], and 1951 [284, New York City Ballet]. For works which continued from the Ballet Society repertory directly into that of the New York City Ballet, no second record is given. Student performances are included only in cases where they are unique (such as Circus Polka, 1945 [230]), not when they are precedent to professional performances (such as Serenade, 1934 [141]).

       Catalogue records are derived primarily from the printed programs of premieres. Each work is treated as it appeared at the time of its opening night, without attention to its reception or survival. However, the long life in repertory of such well-known or key ballets as Apollo, Serenade and Ballet Imperial (Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2) is suggested by their several records and detailed treatments.

       Ballets choreographed for operas are principally short divertissements; they have abbreviated records, including all available information on the dance passages but not providing production information for the opera. Full records are given only for operas directed or staged by Balanchine.

       After the title of the work, each record continues with the subheading MUSIC, giving composer, title, date, and note of commission when applicable. For certain ballets, such as Agon [316] and The Four Temperaments [236], Balanchine commissioned (or co-commissioned) scores; for others, such as Jewels [358], he was responsible not only for the selection of music but its sequence; in other instances, such as Union Jack [401], he commissioned the orchestration of existing music; and in some cases, he combined selections made from a number of works of the same composer, as in A Midsummer Night’s Dream [340].

       Information concerning scenic design, costumes, décor, lighting, and executors is given under the subheading PRODUCTION. Listings under PREMIERE provide the date of the first performance, the name of the performing company, the theater or place of performance, and the names of the conductor and solo musicians.

       Listings under CAST, in addition to the names of principal dancers, frequently indicate roles, scenes, or the movements of the music, suggesting the structure of the work. When the cast listing does not refer to form or content, principal dancers and soloists are distinguished from supporting dancers and corps de ballet by semicolons. English is used for the names of roles. When a synopsis of action appears under CAST, it is taken from the printed program or musical score.

       The NOTES are intended to provide essential information that does not appear under other subheadings. Although the primary subject matter and content of all Balanchine ballets may be described as dance itself, for those ballets that feature a subject, locale or plot, in actuality or by suggestion, annotation has been provided.

       Under REVISIONS, principal alterations of works are detailed. Major remountings within the repertory of companies directed by Balanchine are given under NEW PRODUCTIONS. When a work has had a completely new interpretation, but retains the same music and title, there is a listing of OTHER VERSIONS. This type of information is supplied only for changes made during Balanchine’s lifetime; with a few exceptions, such as Firebird (II) [368.1] and Episodes [324], changes made after 1983 are not indicated.

       The names of professional companies that have staged each work appear under STAGINGS, with the year the performance license was issued by The George Balanchine Trust. This is generally, but not always, the year of the premiere. Ballets requested (and even set), but never performed, are not included, nor are restagings or revivals. When a company changes its name or merges with another company, repertory often carries over and no new first performance date is given; the exception is the New York City Ballet and its predecessor companies (excluding Ballet Society). Guest performances and performances by temporary companies are generally not included.

       Telecasts of ballets are listed under TELEVISION, with date and broadcasting channel; geographic locations are given for foreign and little-known American channels, along with the names of such major program series as The Bell Telephone Hour and Dance in America. Telecasts, although seemingly ephemeral, are important to note, as they may be issued later in commercial release. Moreover, with STAGINGS, they provide keys to a work’s popularity and give an idea of how widely a work has been seen.

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