Following a critically acclaimed debut in Melbourne and Sydney, and a sold-out season at the Royal Opera House in London, The Australian Ballet is excited to present Adelaide audiences with Jewels – an opulent three-part ballet from one of the world’s most revered choreographers, George Balanchine.
A work that is both soft and sharp, racy yet refined, flashy and majestic, Jewels has fast become a glamourous addition to the company’s repertoire and will be staged at Adelaide Festival Centre from 12 – 18 July 2024.
The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David Hallberg said, “After our premiere season of Jewels in May this year, I am thrilled that Adelaide audiences will get to experience Jewels in all its glittering glory. Some ballets, over the course of their time, create an aura of elegance and myth that holds up to our expectation of it. That is true with one of George Balanchine’s greatest masterpieces, Jewels.“
Balanchine created Jewels in 1967, after visiting a Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery store on Fifth Avenue, New York. Over three acts, the ballet showcases three distinct facets of the balletic art form, each represented by a different precious stone: emeralds, rubies and diamonds.
“Each jewel in this ballet has equal beauty and power. Emeralds, soft and mysterious. Rubies, sharp and stylised. Diamonds, brilliant and sparkling. It is a visual feast for the eye and an enormous opportunity for the dancers to tackle one of Balanchine’s greatest masterpieces,” Hallberg said.
In a twist on the traditional ballet form, this full-length, three-act piece is not a story ballet, but a plotless, abstract work which distils the artform to pure movement and mood andshowcases both the classical precision and stylistic versatility of The Australian Ballet’s dancers.
Each of Jewels’ three acts is distinct in style, set to music by three different composers: Gabriel Fauré for Emeralds, Igor Stravinsky for Rubies, Piotyr Illich Tchaikovsky for Diamonds.
The costumes for each ‘jewel’, designed by Balanchine’s legendary collaborator Barbara Karinska, are as equally important as the choreography, unifying each of the three sections to achieve one regal whole. The costumes have been re-created by The Australian Ballet’s wardrobe department to ensure every detail has been captured.
Utilising more than 18,000 jewels – all of which were individually hand sewn – The Australian Ballet was helped by volunteers from the Country Women’s Association and Embroidery Guild who spent two months sewing thousands of jewels onto fabric which was then placed onto the underlying costumes.
The sets for Jewels have been created by Peter Harvey, the original set designer for the world premiere by New York City Ballet in 1967, who has worked with The Australian Ballet’s production team on a revised version of his original sets made to Balanchine’s vision.
Tickets for Jewels are now on sale. Visit australianballet.com.au/performances/jewels for more.