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NYCB Vol. 3 No. 25 - Orpheus

Tallchief recalls that Balanchine and Stravinsky worked “side by side in the rehearsal studio. Ordinarily, when George was choreographing, Stravinsky kept his distance. But this time was different. He was always making suggestions, and was exacting about what he wanted.”

Apollo, Orpheus, and Agon are called the Greek trilogy and are often performed in the same program together. I always thought they were lumped together after the fact, just due to the fact that all 3 are Balanchine/Stravinsky collaborations and all 3 have Greek titles. They don’t belong together in a narrative sense, and they don’t visually look similar either. But this week I learned they were alway intended to exist together. After the premiere of Orpheus, Lincoln Kirstein wrote to Stravinsky: “Apollo gave me confidence in the line of the academic classic dance, and on it our school has been founded. To me Orpheus is the second act of a great lyric-drama. Which leads me on the day after the second act, to ask you to write a third act.”

(left) Nicholas Magallanes and Maria Tallchief. George Platt Lynes, 1948.

(center) Mikhail Baryshnikov and Kay Mazzo. Steve Caras, 1979.

(right) Maria Tallchief. George Platt Lynes, 1948.

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