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Stravinsky: Rite of Spring centenary celebrations

(April 2013)

May brings the centenary of the premiere of Stravinsky's iconic The Rite of Spring, with worldwide celebrations on the dance stage and in the concert hall.

Dance companies and orchestras around the world are giving performances in honour the centenary of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (Le sacre du printemps) which is celebrated on 29 May 2013.

In Paris
Attention focuses on Paris where the premiere by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes resulted in a legendary riot with rival audience factions acclaiming or denigrating the ballet’s primitivist break from 19th century tradition.

The Parisian celebrations at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées total 14 performances of the Rite in various guises, opening on the centenary day itself with a visit by the Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre. Valery Gergiev conducts the original choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky in its recreation by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer, followed by a new choreography by Sasha Waltz. Tanztheater Wuppertal dances the iconic choreography by Pina Bausch, and Akram Khan creates a new dancework inspired by The Rite of Spring. Orchestral concerts include performances of the score by the Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre National de France and Rotterdam Philharmonic.

In Moscow
In Russia the Bolshoi Ballet mounts a special festival celebrating the Rite centenary, with four choreographies of the work (27 March – 21 April). The festival in Moscow opens with a new choreography by Tatiana Baganova, followed by the versions by Nijinsky, Béjart and Bausch. In addition to the Paris and Moscow performances, the Bausch choreography also travels to Taipei, Gothenburg and Naples, and a new 30-minute documentary film is released with archive footage of Bausch rehearsing the ballet.

In Europe
Other European highlights include the Polish National Ballet reviving its triple-decker Rite programme in Warsaw in April with choreographies by Nijinsky, Emanuel Gat and Béjart all in a single evening. Sadler's Wells in London presents "A String of Rites" between April and June including Fabulous Beast's choreography coupled in a double bill with Petrushka that will tour to the Brisbane and Melbourne Festivals, a new Akram Khan ballet inspired by the Rite and a community choreography. The BBC Symphony Orchestra devotes a Total Immersion day to The Rite of Spring at the Barbican in London on 22 September, with the films Ballets Russes and Riot at the Rite combined with a performance in the context of other dance music.

In the USA
The largest Rite event in the New World is the season-long festival mounted by Carolina Performing Arts at Chapel Hill, exploring the lasting impact of Stravinsky’s work. As well as performances by the Joffrey Ballet and Martha Graham Dance Company – Graham’s choreography has not been seen for 20 years – the series includes 11 new works inspired by the Rite. These include commissioned ballets from Bill T.Jones/Arnie Zane and by Medhi Walerski for the Netherlands Dans Theater. For full information visit http://www.theriteofspringat100.org/

Recreating 1913
Two special orchestral projects take audiences back to the premiere in 2013. The Paris-based orchestra Les Siècles conducted by François-Xavier Roth is touring The Rite of Spring on period instruments capturing the distinctive soundworld of a century ago. This follows its similar 'authentic instruments' performances of The Firebird and Petrushka. In Zürich on 8 and 9 June, David Zinman leads explorations into the origins of  the Rite with the Tonhalle Orchestra, illustrating the musical and folkloric influences followed by a performance. Zinman worked as musical assistant to Pierre Monteux who conducted the premiere of the Rite, and assisted him with 50th anniversary performances in 1963.

New Centenary Edition
In honour of The Rite of Spring's centenary the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, which houses the Stravinsky archive, is issuing a special Centenary Edition in collaboration with Boosey & Hawkes. Three volumes are to be published for the first time: an annotated facsimile of the magnificent autograph full score, another of the composer’s version for piano four-hands and a new collection of essays by leading Stravinsky scholars.

Due to be published on the centenary day of 29 May 2013, the three volumes can be pre-ordered – individually and as a collection – from any good music shop or online retailer including The Shop at Boosey.com. The edition will be generally available from June onwards.
> Read more about the Centenary Edition

Performing The Rite of Spring
* The composer's revised edition of 1947, which was re-engraved with further corrections in 1967, remains the definitive version and is the sole edition available for performance. Performing materials are on hire exclusively from Boosey & Hawkes.
* the composer's 1943 revised orchestration of the final Danse sacrale is also available separately on hire.
* Jonathan McPhee's reduced orchestration is available only for licensed staged performances of the complete ballet where the theatre has a small orchestral pit.
* In accordance with the composer's wishes, no arrangements of The Rite of Spring are permitted.

For a full list of performances of The Rite of Spring visit our website:
> Performances


> Further information on Work: The Rite of Spring

Photo: Birmingham Royal Ballet in Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring

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