A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM | RENEW

April 22-24 & April 29-May 1, 2022 at Peter Martin Wege Theatre

Enjoy Shakespeare’s comedic tale of whimsy and love with renewed excitement, as Grand Rapids Ballet performs A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a story full of magical spells cast by Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, and the infamous mischief-making Puck. Choreographed by Christopher Stowell, associate director of the National Ballet of Canada, with music by Felix Mendelssohn, company dancers are accompanied by Grand Rapids Ballet School students, transforming into fairies, butterflies, and mystical characters, enchanting the audience with spells of our own. We also pay homage to George Balanchine, performing the timeless, classical work, Serenade, with music by Tchaikovsky, known as his first ballet made in America. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is sponsored by Mary Yurko and Mark Gurney.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM | COUNTDOWN

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A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM | DATES & TIMES

Friday, April 22, 2022

  • Evening performance at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

  • Evening performance at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

  • Matinee performance at 2 p.m.

Friday, April 29, 2022

  • Evening performance at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

  • Evening performance at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

  • Matinee performance at 2 p.m.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM | CREATORS

Christopher Stowell

Christopher Stowell

Choreographer

Biography

Christopher Stowell, Associate Artistic Director at The National Ballet of Canada, is the son of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, and was born in New York City and received his training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. In 1985, he joined San Francisco Ballet where he danced for 16 years, appearing in theatres throughout the world including the Paris Opéra Ballet, New York’s Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. As a Principal Dancer, Mr. Stowell performed leading roles in the full-length classics Romeo and JulietThe Sleeping BeautyLa Fille mal Gardee and Othello, and had roles created for him by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, as well as contemporary choreographers including Mark Morris, William Forsythe and James Kudelka. An established interpreter of the George Balanchine repertoire, Mr. Stowell appeared in almost every Balanchine ballet performed by San Francisco Ballet.

In 2003, Mr. Stowell was named the Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT), a position he held until 2012. During his tenure Mr. Stowell made significant additions to OBT’s repertoire, bringing to Portland works from some of the world’s most celebrated choreographers, including Fredrick Ashton, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Helgi Tomasson, James Kudelka, Christopher Wheeldon and Lar Lubovitch.

Mr. Stowell has taught and coached in San Francisco, New York, Japan, China and across Europe. He has created works for San Francisco Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Diablo Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet as well as the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute. He has also staged the works of George Balanchine, Mark Morris and Christopher Wheeldon. In addition to serving as Ballet Master and Assistant to the Artistic Director at San Francisco Ballet for the 2014/15 season, he recently worked in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Beijing and Copenhagen, and created his first work for Los Angeles Ballet and his first film for the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. In 2017, Mr. Stowell joined The National Ballet of Canada as Associate Artistic Director. In this role, he oversees the Artistic staff, teaches, coaches and stages works for the company and works closely with Karen Kain in realizing her vision for the National Ballet. Mr. Stowell is a member of the creative team for Ms. Kain’s new production of Swan Lake which will premiere in June 2020.

Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn

Composer

Biography

German Romantic composer, pianist and conductor Felix Mendelssohn wrote the Overture to a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music. German composer Felix Mendelssohn made his public debut in Berlin at just 9 years old. In 1819, he joined the Singakademie music academy and began composing non-stop. At Singakademie, he also became a conductor but continued to compose prolifically. Mendelssohn founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music in 1843. In 1819, Mendelssohn joined the Singakademie music academy and began composing non-stop. In 1820 alone, he wrote a violin sonata, two piano sonatas, multiple songs, a cantata, a brief opera and a male quartet. In 1826, Mendelssohn produced one of his best known works, Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream. He presented his opera The Marriage of the Camacho, the following year in Berlin. It was the only opera of his performed in public during his life.

George Balanchine

George Balanchine

Choreographer

Biography

George Balanchine, born Georgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze in St. Petersburg, Russia, is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. At the age of nine, he was accepted into the ballet section of St. Petersburg’s rigorous Imperial Theater School, and, with other young students, was soon appearing on the stage of the famed Maryinsky Theater in such spectacles as The Sleeping Beauty (his favorite). He graduated with honors in 1921 and joined the corps de ballet of the Maryinsky, by then renamed the State Theater of Opera and Ballet. The son of a composer, Balanchine gained a knowledge of music early in life that far exceeded that of most of his fellow choreographers. He began piano lessons at five, and at some point between 1919 and 1921, while continuing to dance, he enrolled in the Petrograd Conservatory of Music. There he studied piano and music theory, including composition, harmony, and counterpoint, for three years, and he began to compose music. (In the upheaval of the Russian Revolution, when money was worthless, he sometimes played the piano in cabarets and silent movie houses in exchange for bread.) Such extensive musical training made it possible for Balanchine as a choreographer to communicate with a composer of the stature of Stravinsky; it also gave him the ability to make piano reductions of orchestral scores, an invaluable aid in translating music into dance.

Peter Tchaikovsky

Peter Tchaikovsky

Composer

Biography

Peter (Pyotr) Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, and chamber music. Tchaikovsky was born on May 7th, 1840 in Votkinsk, a small town in the Russian Empire. He displayed exceptional musical ability from an early age, improvising at the piano and composing his first song in 1844, aged four. Tchaikovsky persuaded his father that music was his future and he began composition lessons with Anton Rubinstein in 1861. Between 1871 and 1876 he produced a series of great works, including Swan Lake (1876) and the First Piano Concerto (1875), which established him as Russia’s leading composer. By 1887, he was conducting his own music to great acclaim and producing such works as the Sixth Symphony, the ‘Pathetique’ in 1893 (the year of his death), and the ballets The Sleeping Beauty (1890) and The Nutcracker (1892).

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