- 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
DIVERTIMENTO NO. 15
Choreography: George Balanchine
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Staged by: Judith Fugate
Lighting Design: Christina Giannelli
Theme and Variations
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