Divertimento No. 15

Choreographer: George Balanchine

Music: W.A. Mozart

Costumes: Janet Marie Groom

Lighting: David Holcomb

World Premiere: New York City Ballet, May 31, 1956

PBT Performance Date: April 2003


Program Notes (from PBT playbill, 2003; Notes reprinted from New York City Ballet, Copyright© 1998-2003)

Originally, Balanchine had planned to revive Caracole, an earlier work to the same score, but he instead created a new ballet that used many steps from the old.  The new ballet was named after the music, which Balanchine considered the finest divertimento ever written.

The divertimento genre reached its zenith amid the parties and informal entertainments of 18th century aristocratic life. Divertimentos did not have a fixed structure; the number of movements could vary from one to 12, and they could be scored for one instrument or a chamber orchestra.

Divertimento No. 15 is choreographed for eight principal dancers, five women and three men, with an ensemble of eight women.  The ballet omits the second minuet and the andante from the sixth movement; a new cadenza for violin and viola by John Colman was added in the late 1960’s.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), an Austrian, was one of the supreme musical geniuses of all time.  He excelled in all forms of music, including opera, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, and chamber, vocal, piano and choral music, leaving a legacy that is one of the greatest achievements in music.  Mozart was considered by many to be the finest pianist, organist, and conductor in Europe.  He was a famous child prodigy, and possessed a natural facility for music that is unsurpassed in the historyof the art.