Boston Pops Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Legendary Ballets Russes

Keith Lockhart with Special Guest Rebecca Rice Dance Company on May 19 celebrate the centential of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes

May 20 Concert Honors the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of the late Harry Ellis Dickson; Program to also Showcase Winners of the Fidelity Futurestage at Pops Competition, Featuring Four Winning Acts From Boston Public Schools

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops join the city-wide Ballets Russes 2009 festival, and mark the exact centennial of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes with a special concert May 19 featuring some of the groundbreaking music the legendary company made famous. Members of the Rebecca Rice Dance Company and Boston Ballet are the evening’s special guests. The May 20 concert is a Tribute to Harry Ellis Dickson, an evening commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of this beloved musical icon, who served as Arthur Fiedler’s associate at the Pops for 44 years. Both concerts also feature vocalist Ashley Brown, star of the Broadway production of Mary Poppins, making her Pops debut with popular song sets.

Founded a century ago by Russian impresario and producer Serge Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes was the most influential ballet company of the 20th century, transforming ballet into a vital, modern art form with such groundbreaking classics as The Firebird, Petrushka, and Afternoon of a Faun. For two decades, from 1909 until his death in 1929, Diaghilev nurtured a select group of outstanding choreographers (including Fokine, Nijinsky, and Balanchine) and fostered landmark collaborations with some of the most innovative creators of the day, especially composers. He is credited with launching the international career of Stravinsky by commissioning the 27-year-old composer to score The Firebird, the suite from which opens this special program.

The Rebecca Rice Dance Company, along with a guest dancer from Boston Ballet, contributes a series of dances choreographed by Rice to music by composers who worked for Diaghilev or were influenced by the Ballets Russes, including Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Khachaturian. Selections include Stravinsky’s “Marche Chinoise,” from Le Chant du Rossignol and the Sabre Dance from Khachaturian’s Gayne. Diaghilev presented not only ballet but also opera productions, which often had choreographic interludes, such as the “Polovetsian Dances” in Borodin’s opera Prince Igor, which the Pops and the Rebecca Rice Dance Company will also perform. The evening’s second half is a Tribute to Oscar and Tony, featuring vocalist Ashley Brown singing “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins, as well as other Broadway favorites.

Keith Lockhart and the Pops pay tribute to one of the orchestra’s most beloved conductors, the late Harry Ellis Dickson, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of his birth. For 44 years, Mr. Dickson served as assistant and associate conductor of the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler and John Williams and associate conductor laureate under Keith Lockhart. Mr. Dickson was also responsible for bringing the tradition of the Youth Concerts back to Symphony Hall in 1959, after their initial introduction in the 1888-89 season; he continued conducting the concerts until 1995, when he was named Youth Concerts Conductor Laureate. The May 20 Pops concert features a film tribute to the conductor, as well as many of Mr. Dickson’s favorite music selections, including the beloved overture to Leonard Bernstein’s Candide and Copland’s powerful Lincoln Portrait.

Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts and Mr. Dickson’s son-in law, is the work’s narrator for this concert. This program also honors Mr. Dickson’s legacy of promoting young classical musicians, showcasing the winners of the Fidelity FutureStage at the Pops competition. Four winning acts from Boston public high schools will perform, representing a wide range of performance styles: jazz, classical, pop, and Broadway. Vocalist Ashley Brown contributes a set of popular songs, and the evening’s finale is a lively Sound of Music Sing Along.

Tickets for the 2009 Boston Pops are priced from $20 to $89.

Tickets may be purchased online at or by phone through SymphonyCharge at 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (with a $5.50 handling fee for each ticket ordered online or by phone). Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Symphony Hall box office, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday from 1 p.m. through the first concert intermission on concert dates. Most major credit cards, personal checks, and cash are accepted at the box office. For Group Sales of 25 or more, please call 617-638-9345 or 800-933-4255.


Popular posts from this blog

Pacific Symphony's Ninth American Composers Festival Explores The Composers And Music That Belonged To "Hollywood's Golden Age"

The Art of String Quartets by Brian Ferneyhough

New Music: "A Sweeter Music" by Sarah Cahill