The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra Performs Stravinsky’s The Firebird
in a semi-staged production of the full ballet
Boston debut of new staging
Gianni Di Marco, choreographer & Kashchei
Ruth Whitney as the Firebird
Alan Alberto as Prince Ivan
Jaime DeRocker as Princess Vasilisa
June 18, 2016, 8pm | Kresge Auditorium at MIT
The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra performs two works based on fairy tales in their final performance of the 2015-16 season: Stravinsky’s complete ballet The Firebird in a new semi-staged production in its Boston debut, and Antonín Dvořák’s The Water Goblin.
The performance will be conducted by Cynthia Woods and will take place on Saturday, June 18 at 8pm at Kresge Auditorium at MIT, 48 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139.
Tickets range from $15 to $25 and may be purchased by visiting cambridgesymphony.org.
The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra (CSO) will lift the orchestra out of the pit and onto center stage at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium in a full performance of Stravinsky’s 1910 ballet The Firebird: an innovative collaboration between the CSO and the newly registered nonprofit NorthEast ArtSpace. With new choreography by former Boston Ballet dancer Gianni Di Marco, di Marco himself will dance the role of King Kashchei. He will be joined on stage by soloists Ruth Whitney as the Firebird, Alan Alberto as Prince Ivan, and Jaime DeRocker as Princess Vasilisa along with a small corps de ballet.
The presentation of ballet with live orchestra—let alone an 80-piece, symphonic ensemble—has been historically limited in New England. Moreover, ballet companies usually situate the orchestra in the pit, relegating music performance to a supporting role. Often times, orchestras play suite versions of ballets without dancers, removing the music from its narrative context. In this performance of The Firebird, the music and staging allow for a tightly integrated artistic partnership between sound and movement—a work of art that portrays music as a lived, embodied experience. Costumes designed by Ruth Whitney in the traditional Ballets Russes style with rich colors and lush fabrics will enhance the audience experience and story of The Firebird.
The program will open with Dvořák’s tone poem The Water Goblin. Based on a dark Czech story, the piece is one of three tone poems Dvořák wrote based on fairy tales. The Water Goblin depicts the sad story of a girl kidnapped from her home in order to marry an evil water goblin and her subsequent escape.
Conductor Cynthia Woods says, “The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra is breaking barriers with this collaboration between live music and dance. Not many dance companies have the luxury of performing with a live orchestra, and not many musicians have accompanied live dance before. This performance is bringing Stravinsky’s music to life in a new way never before seen in Boston.”
Cynthia Woods is the conductor and Music Director of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Woods has become a recognized and respected conductor in the Boston community and beyond, having performed across the U.S., Europe, and South America. She is profoundly committed to new music—having collaborated with some of today’s most respected living composers, such as Joan Tower, Lisa Bielawa and Harold Farberman—and is also known for her interpretations of the great masters. Recently she stepped into the movie world, working as the Music Director for Oscar-winning Director Morgan Neville’s documentary on acoustics pioneer Amar Bose.
Ms. Woods began her musical studies as a violinist, focusing heavily on chamber music. She studied side by side with the Grammy award winning Takács Quartet, as well as the Muir and Stanford Quartets. Eventually she turned her attention to the podium, studying with teachers such as Gunther Schuller, Michael Morgan, and Harold Farberman. Ms. Woods currently serves on both the violin and conducting faculty of New England Conservatory’s Department of Preparatory and Continuing Studies.
A native of Venezuela, Gianni Di Marco (choreographer and King Kashchei) began his dance training in 1981 in the Professional Division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Di Marco joined Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1988, was promoted to second soloist in 1990, and first soloist the following year. He joined Boston Ballet in 1995, retiring in 2005. Di Marco has also danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Germany’s Opera Leipzig Ballet. Di Marco has created a number of works for a variety of institutions, including Boston Ballet fundraising galas. Di Marco’s short works—Killing Time, Amphibious Love and Gracias a La Vida—have been performed for Festival Ballet Providence’s Up CLOSE, on HOPE series. Di Marco was named principal of City Dance in 2005, Boston Ballet’s outreach program which affects more than 3,000 Boston public school children a year, and he also teaches Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Program, created for children with Down Syndrome. He has recently started a new program for kids with Autism. He is co-artistic director of The Boston Conservatory’s Summer Dance Intensive.
Ruth Whitney (Firebird) is a Boston based dancer who received her early training and performance experience with Boston Ballet, studying under Tatiana Nikolaevna Legat and Laura Young. She has performed internationally with companies including Boston Ballet, Teatrul De Balet Sibiu, and Festival Ballet Providence, where she is currently a principal dancer. Her classical repertoire includes principal roles in Sleeping Beauty (Aurora), Pavel Rotaru’s Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), The Nutcracker, George Balanchine’s Agon, Etudes, Egidijus Domeika’s Pas de Deux Romantique, Carnival in Venice, Grand Pas Classique, Paquita, Les Sylphides, as well as featured roles in contemporary works by Gianni Di Marco, Mihailo Djuric, Lorraine Chapman and Viktor Plotnikov, among others. She is currently on the faculty at Wilmington (MA) Dance Academy and Elite Feet Artists Company in Windham, NH.
Alan Alberto (Prince Ivan) was born in Daly City, California, and began his formal ballet training at 15 with Marielena Mencia and Yanis Pikieris in Miami, FL. A year later he was accepted to The Harid Conservatory from which he graduated in 2005. Upon graduating he was accepted to the Vaganova Ballet Academy, formally known as the Kirov Ballet School in St. Petersburg, Russia. In the Academy he studied under Yuri Ivanovich Umrijin. After completing his studies and returning to the U.S., he was a company member with Nashville Ballet and began working as a freelance artist with Rebecca Kelly Ballet, Ballet X, and New Chamber Ballet. In 2010 he was invited to join the Croatian National Theater in Split as a Soloist. Highlights from his career include Grande Pas from La Bayadere; Twyla Tharp’s Octet; Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream; Albrecht & Peasant Pas de Deux in Giselle; Prince Desiree & Blue Bird in The Sleeping Beauty and other soloist roles in Concerto Barocco, The Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, and Zorba the Greek. He is currently in his fourth season at Festival Ballet Providence.
Jaime DeRocker (Princess Vasilisa) is originally from Oneida, NY. She began her training at United Academy of the Performing Arts and Mohawk Valley Ballet located in upstate New York. At age sixteen, she accepted a full scholarship to the Harid Conservatory where she graduated from high school. After graduating high school in 2009, Jaime spent two years at Colorado Ballet in the Studio Company. She was also a trainee at Ballet West from 2011-2012 and spent a season at the Nevada Ballet Theatre. She currently dances with Festival Ballet Providence.
About the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra:
The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra is a community music organization that presents classical music for diverse audiences who value great music in an accessible environment. The overall mission since the founding in 1975 is to harness the power of music to forge lasting relationships with the local community. The CSO continually invests in the community footprint through collaborations with social and cultural organizations in educational programs and spotlight partnerships. The orchestral and chamber music performances at educational facilities (Perkins School for the Blind, Cambridge Community Center), assisted living residences (Youville House, Cadbury Commons), and venues at the center of cultural life in the area (MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, the Cambridge and Somerville Public Libraries, The Center for Arts at the Armory) is motivated by a commitment to deep and meaningful engagement with the community. In all of these projects, the all-volunteer roster is the greatest asset, creating outstanding programming through the combined energy of dozens of dedicated and talented individuals who believe in the importance of classical music and expanding our community’s access to it. The Firebird is funded in part by the Cambridge Savings Bank.