The Sarasota Ballet Announces Updates to
Digital Program 6
Sir Frederick Ashton’s Valses nobles et sentimentales and The Walk to the Paradise Garden join Façade for Digital Program 6, available 23 – 27 April
The Sarasota Ballet announces that, in maintaining the health and safety of the Company's dancers with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, the planned performance of George Balanchine’s Serenade in Digital Program 6 will be replaced with two ballets choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton: Valses nobles et sentimentales and The Walk to the Paradise Garden. The Company is excited to bring these beautiful Ashton works back to the stage, especially alongside another pivotal Ashton ballet, Façade.
“While we were looking forward to bringing Balanchine’s Serenade back this Season, we are overjoyed to see the return of such treasured Ashton works in its stead,” says Director of The Sarasota Ballet, Iain Webb. “It was an honor to bring Valses back to life in 2012, as at that time it had not been staged since Sir Fred revived it for the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet. In fact, I fondly remember performing in that very production, alongside Royal Ballet Director Kevin O’Hare, so it brings me great personal joy to see Valses nobles et sentimentales appear once more. The Walk to the Paradise Garden is an unusual example of Ashton's choreography. The two lovers play against each other with nuanced performances that express the duality of a love eternal and their delicate mortality, emphasized through its inevitable and haunting climax.”
Long considered one of Ashton’s lost works, Valses nobles et sentimentales was revived by The Sarasota Ballet in 2012 for its American premiere, the first time the ballet had been seen worldwide in over twenty-five years. It has been performed several times since for special occasions – as part of The Sarasota Ballet’s 2014 Sir Frederick Ashton Festival, on tour at New York’s Joyce Theater in 2016, all to critical acclaim.
“Valses nobles et sentimentales, with its romantic choreography and Sophie Fedorovitch's lavish costumes, is a stunning adaptation of Maurice Ravel’s suite of waltzes,” says Margaret Barbieri, Assistant Director of The Sarasota Ballet. “Resurrecting this ballet was a true labor of love for us, so having the opportunity to share Valses in this innovative digital format allows so many ballet aficionados across the country and around the world to experience this rare work for the first time.”
The Walk to the Paradise Garden was created in 1972 for The Royal Ballet's Benevolent Fund Gala, with a score and narrative theme sourced from Frederick Delius’ opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet. The original cast featured Merle Park and David Wall as the lovers, with Derek Rencher as a chalk-white vision of Death. Ashton’s choreography brought to the piece a depth of emotion and characterization uncommon in such a small-scale ballet; to that end, renowned dance historian David Vaughan wrote in his book Frederick Ashton And His Ballets, “Like Thaïs, it was no mere divertissement but a ballet in miniature, saying as much in a few minutes as many full-length ballets.”
The Sarasota Ballet’s Digital Program 6 will be available to watch 23 – 27 April on most internet-capable devices. Digital tickets are $35 and can be purchased on https://www.sarasotaballet.org/events/digital-program-6 or through the Box Office at 941.359.0099.