Milwaukee Ballet’s Triumphant Return of ‘Scheherazade’ Takes Center Stage February 16-19, 2006

Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra Performs Lush Rimsky-Korsakov Score

Colorful Costumes by Award Winning Designer Judanna Lynn

The triumphant return of Kathryn Posin’s “Scheherazade” will grace the Uihlein Hall stage of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts February 16-19, 2006. Originally conceived and staged in 2003 with the generous underwriting support of Milwaukee philanthropist, Katie Heil, Posin’s critically acclaimed story ballet is colorful, beautiful and enchanting all at the same time.

Tickets to the Milwaukee Ballet’s “Scheherazade” start at $20 and can be purchased by calling
the Marcus Center box office at (414) 273-7206 or toll free (888) 612-3500 or by visiting the
Milwaukee Ballet Web site at www.milwaukeeballet.org.

“Scheherazade” show times:
Thursday, February 16 @ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 17 @ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 18 @ 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 19 @ 1:30 p.m.

“Scheherazade is…increasingly dazzling waves of ever more extravagant color, motion and feeling. The emotion is powerful…An audience of 1,916 responded to this loveable new ballet with an ardent standing ovation,” Tom Strini Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 2003.

“Scheherazade” is the story of a young woman sentenced to death by her husband, the Shah.  In an effort to save her life and the lives of others, Scheherazade tells tales so intriguing that the Shah is lured into letting her live another day.  Among the stories that she uses to entertain are the tales of “Ali Baba,” “Sinbad the Sailor” and “Aladdin” – ancient and exotic stories that have found their way into modern American culture. Set to the gorgeous music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov performed by the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, “Scheherazade” is sure to enchant audiences from curtain rise to curtain fall.

Kathryn Posin’s stunning choreography is set aflame by more than 30 different brightly colored costumes, designed by award-winning costume designer Judanna Lynn, that evoke the mystery and suspense of 1001 Arabian Nights. Ranging from brilliantly colored turbans and knee length tunics for the men to midriff-baring tops for women, each costume will be a treat for the eyes. Katie Heil’s generous underwriting of this production has made lavish costume and set designs possible.

“Scheherazade” is the sixth piece that Posin has been commissioned to choreograph for the Milwaukee Ballet.  Other critically and popularly acclaimed works that she has premiered in Milwaukee include “Bridge of Song”, “Bach’s Lunch” and “Tehillim”. Also on the program is a world premiere by choreographer Lila York. Last seen by Milwaukee audiences in May of 2004 was York’s stunning piece “Celts”. York’s new work is underwritten by the National Endowment of the Arts.

“Scheherazade” is generously sponsored by Robert W. Baird & Co. and Johnson Bank.

Founded in 1970, the Milwaukee Ballet Company strives to inspire its audiences to think within and beyond traditional ballet through the presentation of outstanding performances and educational opportunities.  With an annual operating budget of just under $5 million, the Milwaukee Ballet Company presents more than 40 performances to 70,000 people each year. The Milwaukee Ballet School, official school of the Milwaukee Ballet Company, provides quality dance instruction to more than 1000 students per year at four locations.  For more information about the Milwaukee Ballet Company or the Milwaukee Ballet School, call 414-643-7677 or visit the Milwaukee Ballet online at www.milwaukeeballet.org.

Kathryn Posin - Choreographer:
Kathryn Posin studied composition with Louis Horst, Anna Sokolow, Merce Cunningham and Hanya Holm. She is a graduate of Bennington College and holds a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary multi-cultural
dance from New York University. In 1975 she received her first choreography commission, Waves, which she choreographed for the American Dance Festival.

Ms. Posin has choreographed works for ballet West, Netherlands Dance Theater 1 and 2, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Feld Ballet, the Ohio Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Extemporary dance
Company of London and Ballet Pacifica. She was the first international choreographer to stage a work for Cloud Gate Dance Theater, the national company of Taiwan.

In 1990 she choreographed Of Rage and Remembrance, set to John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, for the Milwaukee Ballet.  It was voted “Premiere of the Year in Music and Dance” by the Milwaukee Journal. The Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Met, the Hartford Ballet, the Cincinnati Ballet, and Kansas City Ballet have performed her Stepping Stones, which is set to a score by Joan Tower which was underwritten by awards from Meet the Composer.

Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, for the Milwaukee Ballet.  It was voted “Premiere of the Year in Music and Dance” by the Milwaukee Journal. The Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Met, the Hartford Ballet, the Cincinnati
Ballet, and Kansas City Ballet have performed her Stepping Stones, which is set to a score by Joan Tower which was underwritten by awards from Meet the Composer.

Ms. Posin has also been the artistic director and choreographer for her own company, the Kathryn Posin Dance Company where she has choreographed over 50 works.  Her company has received support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Robbins Foundation and the Doris Humphrey Fellowship.

In 1998 Ms. Posin was appointed founding chair of the New School University/Joffery Ballet School college degree program in ballet. She debuted the students of the BFA program in Copland & Dance at the
Joyce Theater in 2000.

Ms. Posin has shown her versatility in also choreographing for the theatre.  She choreographed the hit rock musical, Salvation, and Andre Serban’s Lincoln Center production of The Cherry Orchard. She has also choreographed for plays at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard, at the Arena Stage, for the Acing Company with Liviu Cuilei as director, and at Hartford Stage with Yuri Yurimen, of the Pushkin Theater in Moscow, as director. Most recently, Ms. Posin coached Jennifer Jason Leigh in Al Pacino’s production of Salome.

Scheherazade Synopsis:

In the name of Him the Compassionate who bestows his mercy on all! Praise therefore be to Him who has made the histories of the past an admonition for our own time! Their legacy has been passed on to use in the tales called “The Arabian Nights.”King Shahriyar, a mythical Sheikh from ancient times is found embracing his favorite wife before departing on a hunting trip. His chief advisor, who is really an Evil Vizier suggests that after leaving his wife, King Shahriyar return again to his bedchamber. He does so and finds his
wife in the arms of the Golden Slave. The King, in a jealous rage, seizes his sword and slays his wife. From that time forward, fearing further sexual betrayals, the King takes a new wife to bed each night and invariably has each one beheaded the following morning.

Wishing to save her countrywomen, a young woman named Scheherazade volunteers herself as the next candidate for the King's bed. Scheherazade has read the books of literature, philosophy and science. She knows poetry by heart and remembers the myths of her people. After the first night, just as the King prepares to slay the young woman, Scheherazade offers to tell the King a story to amuse him and postpone her beheading. The King, intrigued by Scheherazade's beauty and wisdom, agrees to hear a story. Scheherazade begins the telling of her tales...

Scene I: Sinbad and the Sea
Sinbad, a successful trader merchant who dwells in ancient Baghdad leases a boat to trade silks, spices and merchandise on the high seas. On this voyage, he encounters a terrible storm and his ship capsizes. Hanging for his life to a piece of wreckage, Sinbad sights a dome shaped island. Reaching the shore he realizes that this “island” is the egg of the treacherous Rukh bird. After calming the bird, Sinbad convinces her to let him tie his turban to her leg, so that he might fly from the island. Sadly, the turban comes untied and Sinbad falls into the sea again. Luckily, his ship mates who have found sail on a new boat, spot him and rescue him. Sinbad returns to Baghdad with the seductive scent of the sea still lingering in his soul.

Scene II: Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
In an ancient Chinese city there lives a poor boy named Aladdin and his mother. Aladdin is a useless scoundrel and sometimes a thief, and his mother is saddened to see him. One day a sorcerer from deep Africa appears before the starving mother and son. The sorcerer consults both the stars and the magical signs by writing in the dust on the ground, and realizes that Aladdin is the only boy on earth who can perform the task he needs. Aladdin and the sorcerer set off to find a deep cave wherein lay a small but magical lamp. Aladdin, on emerging from the cave fights the sorcerer for the lamp and escapes with it. While innocently polishing the lamp, Aladdin is confounded to see the Genie of the lamp appear and grant him three wishes. Aladdin wishes for food and money until one day in a passing liter, he beholds the most beautiful princess he has ever seen. He asks the Genie to make the Princess fall in love with him, but the Genie reminds him that this request cannot be granted. As an alternative, Aladdin begs to become rich. The princess sees though the riches to Aladdin's purity of heart and falls in love with him and the magnificent palace he builds her. But the wicked sorcerer steals the lamp and asks the Genie to cast a spell on the princess and move her and the palace to Africa. Aladdin searches the world far and wide for the princess and after many years comes upon the sorcerer sleeping beside the lamp. Once again Aladdin defeats the sorcerer and steals the lamp, wishing this time for the princess and palace to return to him. His wish is granted and Aladdin and the princess marry and live happily and rule wisely.

Scene III: The Flying Horse
Once upon a time, there was a wealthy and wise king of Persia who had three beautiful daughters and a handsome son. All were concerned for the son, for the handsome Prince was melancholy and filled with a deep longing for the moon.

One day, a wicked toy maker visits the Kingdom and shows the King his magical toy, a flying horse. Urged on by his sisters, the Prince leaps on the horse and flies far away into the sky. He lands on the moon and finds the princess for whom his heart aches. They fall in love and are about to return to the Prince's Kingdom when a dark shadow falls between them. It is the wicked toy maker who freezes their hearts to gain revenge on the Prince for stealing his horse.

At this point, Scheherazade hesitates, and realizes that her story is moving in the wrong direction, and becomes fearful of what lay in the King's heart. For the first time, Scheherazade enters her own story and, with the Sheik’s help, loosens the evil grip on the hearts of the lovers, allowing them to love once again and fly the horse back home. All celebrate the couple's return, but the evil toy maker lurks in the shadows, waiting for his time.

Scene IV: Massacre in the Harem
The evil Vizier, who has taken many shapes in the story, vows revenge against Scheherazade who seems to be winning the King’s heart. The Evil One, who has also been defeated by Aladdin and the Prince and Princess of the Moon, has now devised a horrifying scheme to destroy Scheherazade and her stories.

The Evil Vizier lies to the jealousy-prone King and whispers to him that Scheherazade has betrayed him in the arms of the Golden Slave, exactly like the King’s former unfaithful wife. The King is dumbfounded to hear of Scheherazade's disloyalty. In a fury he calls out his soldiers to round up the harem women. A terrible chase and massacre insue, and all the harem wives and all the characters that lived in the stories of the Arabian Nights are murdered.

Scheherazade rises tall out of the ruins, an ancient and angry avenging goddess. She sees her entire culture and all its riches annihilated. She turns on the King, daring him to truly believe in her disloyalty, which he cannot. She shows him the wisdom, the knowledge and the riches of the spirit that he has laid waste. At last the King, now broken, understands: he is the loneliest person in the world . . . until he feels a gentle touch on his head.

Scheherazade has returned once again, this time in a forgiving mode. She leads King Shahrazar to Aladdin's lamp and teaches him to rub the lamp. When the Genie appears, he grants the King his wish. The King wishes only one thing: never to have caused the destruction for which he has been responsible. His wish is granted. Gradually, as the King has wished, the stately and graceful characters rise again and form a multi-hued tapestry into which Scheherazade invites her King.

Judanna Lynn - Costume Designer
Judanna Lynn has designed costumes for many of the major dance companies in the U.S., including The Washington Ballet's recent production of Cinderella. Other credits include costume design for American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet's productions of Don Quixote, Dracula and Cleopatra and numerous productions for Atlanta Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Ballet West, Ballet Met, David Parsons Dance Company, Carolina Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Hubbard Street, The José Limón Dance Company and Pittsburgh Ballet. Additional credits include Lynne Taylor-Corbett's Prayers From the Edge for

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Milwaukee Ballet's Scheherazade. Ms. Lynn's theatre credits include Tin Pan Alley Rag at the Cleveland Play House, Lyle for Charles Strouse at ESIPA, The Hartford Stage/ Old Globe Theatre's production of Tintypes and the musical Once On This Island for the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis. Ms. Lynn is a former dancer with San Francisco Opera Ballet and was the resident designer of The Julliard School.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Composer:
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai (1844-1908), was a celebrated Russian composer and music teacher. His symphonic suite Scheherazade (1888) ranks as one of the most popular orchestral works ever written.
Rimsky-Korsakov became famous for his imaginative blend of orchestral sounds. Examples include Capriccio Espagnol (1887) and the Russian Easter Overture (1888). Rimsky-Korsakov based many of his 15 operas on Russian history and folklore. Only one of them, Le Coq d'Or (The Golden Cockerel, completed in 1907), won international fame. But his operas The Snow Maiden (1882), Sadko (1898), and Tsar Saltan (1900) are popular in the Soviet Union. Two of his most famous pieces come from his operas "Song of India" from Sadko and "The Flight of the Bumblebee" from Tsar Saltan.

Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was born in Tikhvin, near Novgorod. From 1856 to 1862,he attended the Naval Academy in St. Petersburg. In 1861, Rimsky-Korsakov met the composer Mily Balakirev and joined a group of young composers who later became known as The Five. This group, led by Balakirev, urged Russian composers to stress their national heritage in their music.

In 1862, Rimsky-Korsakov sailed on a three-year naval cruise, during which he visited the United States. He completed his first symphony aboard ship. After returning to St. Petersburg in 1865, he revised the symphony under Balakirev's supervision. It had its first performance that same year. In 1871, Rimsky-Korsakov left the navy and joined the faculty of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. He realized that he knew almost no music theory, and so he taught himself counterpoint, harmony, and music form. He became one of the world's greatest music theorists. He taught several students who achieved fame as composers, including Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky.

Rimsky-Korsakov also edited and revised compositions that his friends Alexander Borodin and Modest Mussorgsky had left unfinished when they died. Orchestras and opera companies usually perform Rimsky- Korsakov's version of Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov. Borodin's opera Prince Igor is usually performed in the version completed by Rimsky-Korsakov and the Russian composer Alexander Glazunov.

LINK TO “SCHEHERAZADE” REVIEW:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/onwisconsin/arts/may03/139557.asp