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An iconic Balanchine work that was part of NYCB’s inaugural performance in 1948, this highly-stylized, narrative ballet depicts Orpheus’ journey to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the underworld.
Orpheus occupies a singular place in the history of New York City Ballet. The score was commissioned from Stravinsky by Ballet Society and the composer worked in close collaboration with Balanchine on the ballet – a contemporary treatment of the story of Orpheus, the musician-poet of Greek myth, and his struggle to rescue his wife Eurydice from Hades. It was a performance of this work that led Morton Baum, chairman of the executive committee of the City Center of Music and Drama, to invite Ballet Society to become its permanent ballet company, under the new name, New York City Ballet. Orpheus was presented with Concerto Barocco and Symphony in C at the New York City Ballet’s first performance on October 11, 1948.
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