Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, presents The National Ballet of Canada: Orpheus Alive by Robert Binet and Missy Mazzoli, moderated by Wendy Whelan on Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 3pm.
Orpheus Alive retells the tragic myth of Orpheus, casting the titular character as a woman; Eurydice, Orpheus' fallen lover, as a man; and audience members as gods of the underworld who hold Orpheus's fate in their hands. Choreographed by Robert Binet, Choreographic Associate of The National Ballet of Canada, and featuring a commissioned score by acclaimed composer Missy Mazzoli, Orpheus Alive is a story of love, loss, and an extraordinary artist facing the limits of his mortality. Company dancers and the Mivos Quartetperform excerpts, and New York City Ballet Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan moderates a discussion with Binet, Mazzoli, and dramaturg Rosamund Smallabout the creative process before the ballet's world premiere in Toronto.
Robert Binet was born in Toronto, Canada and was appointed Choreographic Associate of The National Ballet of Canada in June 2013 following eighteen months as The Royal Ballet Choreographic Apprentice. Binet has created The Dreamers Ever Leave You, The Sea Above, The Sky Below, Self and Soul, The Wild Space Between Two Hearts, These Worlds In Us and Unearth for The National Ballet of Canada since joining the company in 2013. He also created Orpheus Becomes Eurydice, a co-production between The National Ballet of Canada and the Banff Centre. Robert spoke and presented excerpts of Orpheus Becomes Eurydice at TEDxToronto 2015. Prior to joining the company, Robert created numerous works for The National Ballet of Canada's Choreographic Labs and the YOU dance apprentice programme, and a new work for The National Ballet of Canada's 60th anniversary gala in June 2012. Binet was selected by Artistic Director Karen Kain as her protégé for the 2017 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Mentorship Programme. One of Binet's most recent creations for The National Ballet of Canada was an immersive ballet titled The Dreamers Ever Leave You. It premiered in August 2016 at the Art Gallery of Ontario and was hailed as "a thrilling and affirming victory for the art form" by The Globe and Mail. This followed the world premiere of Terra Incognita, a site- specific ballet with an originally commissioned story featuring dancers from top international ballet companies, for Binet's project-based company Wild Space.
Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli was recently deemed "one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York" (The New York Times) and "Brooklyn's post-millennial Mozart" (Time Out New York). Mazzoli is the Mead Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, pianist Emanuel Ax, Opera Philadelphia, Scottish Opera, LA Opera, Cincinnati Opera, New York City Opera, Chicago Fringe Opera, the Detroit Symphony, the LA Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, JACK Quartet, cellist Maya Beiser, violinist Jennifer Koh, pianist Kathleen Supové, Dublin's Crash Ensemble, the Sydney Symphony and many others. In 2018 she made history when she became one of the two first women (along with composer Jeanine Tesori) to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. That year she was also nominated for a Grammy in the category of "Best Classical Composition" for her work Vespers for Violin, recorded by violinist Olivia De Prato.
One of the top international ballet companies, The National Ballet of Canada was founded by Celia Franca in 1951 and is the only Canadian ballet company to present a full range of traditional full-length classics. The company's repertoire includes works by the world's most celebrated 20th and 21st century masters, Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Rudolf Nureyev, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Crystal Pite, Christopher Wheeldon, Aszure Barton, Guillaume Côté and Robert Binet. In addition to its classical repertoire, the company also embraces contemporary works and encourages the creation of new ballets and the development of Canadian choreographers.
Lead funding for Works & Process is provided by The Christian Humann Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Evelyn Sharp Foundation, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Works & Process at the Guggenheim
Described by The New York Times as "an exceptional opportunity to understand something of the creative process," for 35 years, New Yorkers have been able to see, hear, and meet the most acclaimed artists in the world, in an intimate setting unlike any other. Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, has championed new works and offered audiences unprecedented access to generations of leading creators and performers. Most performances take place in the Guggenheim's intimate Frank Lloyd Wright-designed 273-seat Peter B. Lewis Theater. In 2017, Works & Process established a new residency and commissioning program, inviting artists to create new works, made in and for the iconic Guggenheim rotunda. worksandprocess.org.