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The cheerful 26-minute Donizetti Variations sets a series of effervescent dances to music from the opera Don Sebastien, offering choice but technically challenging roles for two bravura dancers and three supporting trios.
This ballet (originally titled Variations from "Don Sebastian") was created for "Salute to Italy," a 1960 New York City Ballet program celebrating the 100th anniversary of Italy’s unification. Balanchine created this cheerful and sunny work to offset the more somber tone of the other ballets on the program, which included La Sonnambula and Monumentum Pro Gesualdo.
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