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Boston Ballet announces its 59th-anniversary season

Boston Ballet's 59th-anniversary season will feature Stephen Galloway’s “DEVIL’S/eye” (pictured) as part of “My Obsession” (Oct. 6–16).Liza Voll

Boston Ballet’s 2022–2023 season at the Citizens Bank Opera House will include world premieres by William Forsythe and Nanine Linning, a pair of works by George Balanchine, the return of “Don Quixote” and “The Sleeping Beauty,” and, of course, the company’s annual production of “The Nutcracker.”

“My Obsession” (Oct. 6-16) will pair Balanchine’s “Apollo” and “Allegro Brillante” with Helen Pickett’s “Tsukiyo” and Stephen Galloway’s “DEVIL’S/eye.” “Apollo” is Balanchine’s earliest surviving ballet; Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen describes it as “the quintessential neoclassical ballet. It is so contemporary it looks like it could have been done tomorrow.” “Allegro Brillante,” which Boston Ballet hasn’t presented since 1992, he calls “a small brilliant ballet,” and he looks forward to the company’s not just “doing it but mastering it. Let’s see how brilliantly you can dance it; there’s the bubbles in the champagne for me.”

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Boston Ballet's upcoming season will feature “My Obsession," pairing George Balanchine’s “Apollo” (pictured) and “Allegro Brillante” with Helen Pickett’s “Tsukiyo” and Stephen Galloway’s “DEVIL’S/eye.”Brooke Trisolini; courtesy of Boston Ballet

“Tsukiyo,” which Boston Ballet debuted in 2009, is a 10-minute duet inspired by a 10th-century Japanese tale and set to Arvo Pärt’s hypnotic “Spiegel im Spiegel.” The piece was part of the March 2020 “Carmen” program that was canceled because of the COVID pandemic. As for “DEVIL’S/eye,” which was part of Boston Ballet’s “DREAMstate” program this past March, Nissinen says it’s “back by popular demand. We got so many new audiences that have never been to the ballet. It really did resonate with the community.”

“As Anticipated” (Nov. 3-13) will bring Forsythe’s “Artifact Suite” plus a world premiere. In 2017, Boston Ballet became the first North American company to perform Forsythe’s evening-length 1984 “Artifact.” “Artifact Suite,” which Forsythe created in 2004, is, Nissinen explains, “a distilled form of ‘Artifact.’ It’s like a punch to the face, it’s like a freight train. Any day I have a chance to see it anywhere is a good day in my life.” As for the Forsythe world premiere, Nissinen says he expects it to be set to John Cage’s compositions for prepared piano, “and that’s as much as I know.”

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Following “The Nutcracker” (Nov. 25-Dec. 31), the spring season will begin with “Don Quixote” (March 16–26). Forty years ago, Rudolf Nureyev adapted his version of the 1869 Marius Petipa ballet for the company and also danced Basilio. That production and the subsequent tour through the United States and Mexico put Boston Ballet on the international dance map. Nissinen says, “This is one of the most credible versions out there, and I love it. It is a little bit less patchwork. It’s often been said that ‘Don Q’ is the ballet that gives you a great excuse for fantastic dancing, but I’m very happy with what Rudolf made out of it.”

“Our Journey” (April 6-16) will pair New York City Ballet resident choreographer and artistic adviser Justin Peck’s 2014 “Everywhere We Go” with Linning’s world premiere, which hasn’t been titled yet. Boston Ballet staged Peck’s “In Creases” in 2018. “‘Everywhere We Go,’” Nissinen says, “is a work that Justin has never given away, only New York City Ballet has done it. It’s a really big cast, about 30 people, and a tour de force of dance. It’s tons of dancing for tons of people.”

Lia Cirio, Lasha Khozashvili, and Boston Ballet in Marius Petipa's "The Sleeping Beauty."Liza Voll

Linning’s “La Voix Humaine” was part of Boston Ballet’s “Process & Progress” virtual offering in April 2021. The new work will be set to Claude Debussy’s “La mer” and “Sirènes,” but those pieces will be interleaved with contemporary pieces of music. “This is going to be a huge production,” Nissinen says, “probably somewhere close to 50 minutes. We’re using very avant-garde visuals and costumes and a full-stage LED screen.”

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There won’t be anything avant-garde about “The Sleeping Beauty” (May 25-June 4). Boston Ballet will again present the Royal Ballet version that Nissinen calls “honest to the original intent,” the one Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn took around the world, with sets and costumes by David Walker and choreography based on Petipa’s 1890 premiere. Nissinen makes no apologies for sticking with it. “I have never seen a better ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ I can’t say enough good things about it. ‘Beauty’ doesn’t get better than this one.”

Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this story misidentified the March 2020 program that Boston Ballet canceled due to COVID. Due to incorrect information provided to the Globe, the earlier version also misstated the name of the new work by Nanine Linning that will receive its world premiere next season. The Globe regrets the errors.


Jeffrey Gantz can be reached at jeffreymgantz@gmail.com.