Chaconne (ballet)

Chaconne is a ballet made by New York City Ballet co-founder and ballet master George Balanchine to ballet music from Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (Vienna, 1762; Paris, 1774). The premiere took place Wednesday, 22 January 1976 at the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, with lighting by Ronald Bates; Robert Irving conducted. Chaconne was danced in practice clothes at its premiere; Karinska's costumes were added in the spring season.

The finale to Orfeo ed Euridice is a chaconne, a dance form built on a short bass phrase and often used by 17th and 18th century opera composers to achieve a festive mood at the end. The choreography was first performed at the Hamburgische Staatsoper in their 1963 production of Orpheus und Eurydike and somewhat altered in Chaconne, especially that for the principal dancers. Balanchine added the pas de deux for Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins to the 1976 ballet and the opening ensemble (to the 1774 Dance of the Blessed Spirits) for the Spring season.

Balanchine's first Orpheus and Eurydice was made on the Metropolitan Opera in 1936; his approach, the singers remaining in the pit while the action was danced on stage, was not well received; the production had only two performances. He choreographed Orphée et Eurydice for the Théâtre National de l'Opéra, Paris in 1973 and Orfeo ed Euridice for the Chicago Lyric Opera in 1975 as well.

In 1773 Gluck wrote, "Always as simple and natural as I can make it, my music strives toward the utmost expressiveness and seeks to reinforce the meaning of the underlying poetry. It is for this reason that I do not use those trills, coloraturas, and cadences that Italians employ so abundantly."[1]



NYCB revivals

2009 Winter

2009 Winter tour

2009 Spring

2010 Spring

2010 Fall

first cast
second cast[2]


  • 1978 TFC, Peter Martins: A Dancer, pas de deux*

Videography / DVD


See also


  1. Harold Schonberg, The Lives of the Great Composers
  2. also Saturday, October 9th
  3. first time in rôle




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