American Ballet Theater (ABT) celebrated its 2017 Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House last night with the annual Spring Gala, an anchor to the spring cultural and social season. The evening featured ABT's world-renamed dancers in the New York premiere of Whipped Cream. Choreographed by ABT Artist-in-Residence Alexei Ratmansky.
Whipped Cream is set in Vienna, Austria to a lavish score by Richard Strauss, with exquisite costumes and sets designed by pop surrealist visionary Mark Ryden.
Whipped Cream, is based on the two-act ballet with libretto and score by Richard Strauss, originally created as Schlagobers and performed at the Vienna State Opera in 1924. The ballet has been given seven performances by ABT, March 15-19, 2017 in California, and last night it received its New York Premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Designing the sets and costumes for Whipped Cream is artist Mark Ryden. Known as a forefather of Pop Surrealism, Ryden created a fantastical world to convey the tale of a young boy who overindulges at a Viennese pastry shop. To help him escape from his attending physician, the boy dreams of his triumphant rescue by Princess Praline and her court, including Princess Tea Flower and Prince Coffee, as well as marching Marzipan, with a festive celebration in conclusion.
"I am so very intrigued by this unique story and the approach Alexei and Mark are taking," said McKenzie. "The combination of fantasy and surrealism will prove something dreamlike from both of them."
Co-Chairs for the evening include Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, Kate Bosworth, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sofia Coppola, Amy Astley, Giovanna Battaglia, Anh Duong, Calvin Klein, Allison Sarofim, Sarah Arison, Elettra Wiedemann and Beth Chartoff Spector. Caroline Kennedy served as Honorary Chair of ABT Spring Gala. Emily and Len Blavatnik, Lisa and Dick Cashin, Pamela Ford, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Toni and Martin Sosnoff, Sutton Stracke and Nadja Swarovski served as Chairs for the evening.
Junior Committee Chairs are Toby Anne Milstein, Jaime Rosenstein, and Prince A. and Petar Sanders. Hamilton E. James, President, Blackstone and Chairman Emeritus of American Ballet Theater, was honored with an inaugural award from ABT that recognizes great Americans for their civic leadership and philanthropy in the arts.
Austrian-based Swarovski is the Lead Partner for American Ballet Theater's Spring Gala and New York Premiere of Whipped Cream. Nearly 80,000 Swarovski crystals adorn the sets and costumes for Whipped Cream. Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board, commented: "As supporting excellence in the creative arts is of great importance to us, Swarovski is delated to partner with the American Ballet Theater on its Spring Gala and to cooperate with Mark Ryden on this wildly imaginative Production. Mark's creative integration of Swarovski crystals illuminates the action and helps bring the set and costume designs to life. "
Proceeds from the Spring Gala will support American Ballet Theater and its educational community engagement programs. A Gala dinner on The Promenade of the David H. Koch Theater followed the performance. Décor by Tansey Design Associates, in collaboration with Mark Ryden and Swarovski, also featured crystals from Swarovski. The gala dinner, with catering by Cloud Catering and Events, featured Sacher-Torte from the Hotel Sacher Wien. On the evening, Mark Ryden's Princess Tea Flower painting was sold by silent auction for gala attendees only. The painting was displayed at the pre-performance cocktail reception and during dinner.