Divertimento No. 15

  • Choreographer: George Balanchine
  • Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • PBT Performance Date: November 8, 2018 at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium. With the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

Program Notes

DIVERTIMENTO NO. 15

Choreography: George Balanchine

Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Staged by: Judith Fugate

Lighting Design: Christina Giannelli

 

Allegro

Theme and Variations

Minuet

Andante

Finale

 

When asked to present a work at the Mozart Festival held at the American Shakespeare

Theater in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1956, George Balanchine originally planned to revive

Caracole, an earlier work set to Mozart’s Divertimento No. 15. Instead, he created a new

ballet that used many steps from the old, and he named the new ballet after the music, which

he 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 twelve 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 1960s.

 

To complement the sparkling score, Balanchine created a work of prodigious ingenuity

featuring a regal cast of dancers.

 

Courtesy of New York City Ballet