The Emeralds section of George Balanchine’s no-plot full-length ballet was filmed at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco in January of this year. This capture will accompany archival footage of Rubies and Diamonds, to complete the trifecta of one of the master choreographer’s most beloved ballets.
Jewels, which The New York Times has called “a perfect introduction to ballet”, premiered in full in 1967 at New York City Ballet and showcases the different musical and balletic traditions of the countries most influential to the art forms: France (Emeralds), the United States (Rubies), and Russia (Diamonds).
Each section is distinct in color – green, red, and white as their corresponding Van Cleef & Arpels gems inspire – and style, costumes designed by Barbara Karinska to fit each act.
Emeralds alludes to the 19th-century dances of French romantics and is set to excerpts from Gabriel Faure’s Pelléas et Mélisande (1898) and Shylock (1889).
Rubies is a feat of athleticism, set to the irregular, modernist, jazz-inspired Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra by Igor Stravinsky.
Diamonds invokes memories of Imperial Russia in a grand and formal display of classical ballet and is set to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 in D major.
SF Ballet Orchestra performs in each ballet, with newly recorded music for Emeralds captured using approved safety protocols at Skywalker Studios and the SF Conservatory of Music and produced and engineered by Leslie Ann Jones.