The Nightingale and the Rose

Choreography by: Christopher Wheeldon

Music by: Bright Sheng

Inspired by an Oscar Wilde tale in which a nightingale selflessly transforms itself into a rose, Wheeldon blends movement, music, lighting, and scenery into a vibrant and emotional tableau.

Christopher Wheeldon chose a fable by Oscar Wilde as the inspiration for this ballet, which premiered in 2007. The deeply romantic story, one of several fairy tales that Wilde wrote, tells of a nightingale who sacrifices her life to give a despondent student a red rose for his beloved. The score was commissioned from Bright Sheng, who served as New York City Ballet’s Composer in Residence for 2006-2007. Animations created by James Buckhouse provide the rose-garden setting, and also contribute an all-seeing moon who grieves over the nightingale’s sacrifice.

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The Nightingale and the Rose
June 8, 2007, New York City Ballet, The New York State Theater
Original Cast
Wendy Whelan, Tyler Angle, Sara Mearns

23 Min.
Costumes by
Martin Pakledinaz
Set by
Animation by James Buckhouse
Lighting by
Mark Stanley