New York exhibition celebrates the timeless elegance of Monaco


The Sporting Club Ballet Company on the steps of the terrace of the Monte- Carlo Opera House in 1958
© Gea Casolaro

Monaco’s Consulate General and Tourist Office in New York is currently hosting a fascinating photographic retrospective, Timeless Monaco, at The Forbes Galleries on Fifth Avenue.  A combined presentation of two exhibitions – Monte-Carlo Legends and Forever Monte-Carlo – it celebrates the elegance, style and allure of Monaco, which has endured since the Principality was first frequented by the social elite of Europe in the latter years of the 19th century.

Extravagant, sparkling, ever fashionable and ultra sophisticated, Monaco has over the years become a key destination for mariners and millionaires, princes and playboys, stars and celebrities, a meeting place of choice for international high society – retaining every ounce of its elegance and style to this day.

Monte-Carlo Legends – featuring a display of vintage images sourced from the archives of the Prince’s Palace, Monte-Carlo SBM and the Automobile Club of Monaco – captures some unforgettable moments in history, created by the presence of some of the most glamorous and influential people of their time – Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Salvador Dali and Winston Churchill.

Photographs of sporting legends such as Juan Fangio, Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Suzanne Lenglen and Fred Alexander feature alongside those of cultural celebrities such as George Balanchine, Jean Cocteau, Alfred Hitchcock, Rudolf Nureyev, Edit Piaf, Peter Sellers and John Wayne.


Warren Beatty and Leslie Caron on the terraces of the Casino de Monte-Carlo in 1966
© Gea Casolaro

“We are delighted to present this wonderful collection of images to the visitors at The Forbes Galleries,” says Maguy Maccario Doyle, consul general and director of the Monaco Government Tourist Office (North America), ”and to celebrate the iconic people who have played such an important role in a century and a half of Monte-Carlo style.

“The story of Monte-Carlo started 150 years ago on a rocky hill where farmers grew olive trees and shepherds led their flocks to graze. In 1863, Prince Charles III established, by Sovereign Decree, the Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Etrangers, now known as Monte-Carlo SBM, and launched the Casino de Monte-Carlo, marking a turning point in Monaco’s history. In the ensuing years, luxury hotels and restaurants opened their doors, and the legend of Monte-Carlo (Mount Charles) has flourished ever since.”

Displayed alongside this collection of legendary images is Forever Monte-Carlo, a series of original artworks by renowned Italian photographer and video-maker, Gea Casolaro, commissioned by Monte-Carlo SBM to celebrate its 150th anniversary.  With a selection of black and white images from the archives of Monte-Carlo SBM and contemporary colour photographs posed by SBM members of staff, Casolaro uses a technique of overlapping the vintage and the current formats, creating a single image – virtually bringing the past into the present.  Her aim, she says, was “to pay tribute to all the people who have contributed, and are contributing every day, to keep the myth of the Principality alive, from big stars to all of the people working behind the scenes.”


Winston Churchill, with long time doorman Mr. Samba, at the Hôtel de Paris in 1933
© Gea Casolaro

Gea Casolaro – who lives and works in Italy and France – has exhibited at a number of major galleries in cities across Europe and around the world.  In 2009, she was selected for a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, with a project exploring relationships between cinema and daily life in the French capital.

Timeless Monaco also features two works by 19th century French illustrator and caricaturist, Georges Goursat (1863-1934) – Gamblers in the Casino at Monte-Carlo (1905) and Roulette at Monte-Carlo (1909).  Signing his works with the name Sem, he rose to fame during the Belle Époque era, depicting the high society of Monte-Carlo at the time.

Monaco, with its natural beauty and sumptuous architecture, has held a fascination for film makers since the early days of cinema, and this unique exhibition also features a montage of 150 clips from films shot in the Principality.  Compiled by students from The Factory film school in Lyon, France, Monte-Carlo Fait Son Cinéma (Monte-Carlo At The Movies) will be screened in the Galleries’ Club Room.


Liza Minelli poses on the pontoon of the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel in 1967
© Gea Casolaro

Timeless Monaco is on view at The Forbes Galleries, 62 Fifth Avenue (at 12th Street), New York City, until Saturday September 28th.  The exhibition is free and open to the public.  For further information, please visit or call 212-206-5549.

Preview home page

Tom Gold Dance performs at the Guggenheim, Bilbao


Tom Gold Dance in Balanchine’s ‘Apollo’
Photo: Ani Collier

New York ballet company, Tom Gold Dance, is to perform in the Stars of Ballet season at El Auditorio del Museo Guggenheim in Bilbao next week.  Part of the programme Works & Process at the Guggenheim, it will be the fifth time that the company has been invited to Spain to participate in this event.

Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, was founded by Mary Sharp Cronson in New York in 1984. Since then, this initiative has “championed new works and offered audiences unprecedented access to leading creators and performers”.  The New York Times describes it as “a popular series devoted to shedding light on the creative process”.


‘Apollo’ is set to Stravinsky’s ‘Apollon Musagète’
Photo: Ani Collier

The Tom Gold programme opens with Balanchine’s Apollo, set to Stravinsky’s Apollon Musagète (Leader of the Muses), which the composer conceived and wrote as a ballet.  Stravinsky had a strong interest in Greek mythology, and in this work, Apollo, the young god of music, is visited and instructed by three Muses – Calliope, Muse of poetry, Polyhymnia, Muse of mime, and Terpsichore, Muse of dance and song.  Apollo was premiered on June 12th, 1928, by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris, achieving international recognition for Balanchine, and creating the foundation of a lifelong partnership with Stravinsky.


Apollo, the Greek god of music
Photo: Ani Collier

Flower Festival in Genzano is a one-act ballet by the Danish choreographer and ballet-master, August Bournonville, written for the Royal Danish Ballet in 1858.  Light and lively, the ballet is based on a story by Alexandre Dumas, and inspired by Bournonville’s love of  Italy.  He set it to music which was traditionally attributed to Edvard Helstedt and Holger Simon Paulli, although it now appears likely that Paulli included some of the music written by an Austrian composer, M Strebinger, for an earlier Bournonville ballet, Napoli.

Jerome Robbins’ Concertino is a rarely seen work, taken from a ballet entitled Four Chamber Works, which Robbins created for the 1982 Stravinsky Centennial Celebration in New York.  This variation – written for three dancers – is set to Stravinsky’s Concertino for Twelve Instruments, which was originally written as a quartet in 1920, but reorchestrated for 12 instruments in 1952.  The work was premiered on June 16th, 1982, by New York City Ballet, at New York State Theater, where it was warmly received by audiences and critics alike.  The performance in Bilbao will be the first by the Tom Gold company.


An early scene from ‘La Plage’
Courtesy Tom Gold Dance

La Plage – choreographed by Tom Gold – was premiered in New York in March this year.  Described as classical with a “jazzy twist”, it’s set to a score by John Zorn, which Gold describes as “upbeat and contemporary”.  Whilst admitting to a classical base for his choreography, what he finds interesting, he says, is “taking these steps and putting them to music that’s interesting and challenging”.  He loves “playing with the musicality ….. you know, a little syncopation here and there …. to really make the music come alive”.

Tom Gold, internationally known dancer and choreographer, and a former soloist with New York City Ballet, founded his company in 2007.  Prior to that, from 1999, he’d been organizing groups of dancers for brief tours abroad, and he envisioned Tom Gold Dance as a core group of dancers, based in New York, but performing internationally. His aim was to give these dancers the opportunity to perform new works created specifically for them, as well as established ballets that they might not otherwise have a chance to take on. The company has performed in France, Spain, Israel, Bermuda and Italy.


Dancers emerging from the rainforest in ‘La Plage’
Courtesy Tom Gold Dance

The dancers appearing in Spain are all current or former members of New York City Ballet.  Sara Mearns and Abi Stafford are principal dancers with NYCB, Adrian Danchig Waring is a soloist, Devin Alberda, Marika Anderson, Likolani Brown and Andrew Scordato are members of the NYCB corps de ballet, and Stephen Hanna is a former principal with the company and also formerly starred in Broadway’s Tony Award winning show, Billy Elliott.

Tom Gold Dance will appear at El Auditorio del Museo Guggenheim, Bilbao, on August 21st and 22nd.  Tickets are available online via the museum’s website

The Guggenheim
Tom Gold Dance
The George Balanchine Trust
August Bournonville
The Jerome Robbins Foundation 

Preview home page

Lucerne Festival celebrates Diamond Jubilee


The KKL Luzern (Culture and Convention Centre)
Courtesy Lucerne Festival

The 2013 Lucerne Festival opens on August 16th, and this year celebrates not only its 75th anniversary, but the 10th anniversary of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Academy.  Special jubilee celebrations will take place on August 25th, in and around the KKL Luzern (Culture and Convention Centre), 75 years to the day since Arturo Toscanini led an orchestra of renowned soloists and chamber musicians for the opening concert of the first Festival, in the gardens facing Richard Wagner’s villa in Tribschen, near Lucerne.

Whilst paying tribute to its history, the Festival will also embrace the theme Revolution, as Lucerne looks towards a future influenced by Wagner’s cry of  “Children! Create something new!”.  Wagner spent a significant period of his life on Lake Lucerne, and in this, his 200th anniversary year, the focus of the programming in the Festival’s Summer of Revolution falls on the German composer who is best known for his operas. One of the highlights of the season will be the first complete performance in Lucerne of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, in concert format, by the Bamberg Symphony-Bavarian State Philharmonic conducted by Jonathan Nott.


Claudio Abbado conducting the Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Photo: Georg Anderhub

The Festival opens with Claudio Abbado conducting the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in a programme of music by Brahms, Schoenberg and Beethoven – his Symphony No 3 (Eroica) – which will be broadcast live from the KKL onto a large screen at Lucerne’s Inseli Park.

In line with the theme of the Festival, Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic celebrate the 100th anniversary of that most revolutionary work by Stravinsky – his Rite of Spring – which caused such an uproar at its premiere in Paris in May 1913.


Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Photo: Peter Fischli

Continuing in this vein, the Festival also features the works of a range of other composers whose works were considered radical in their response to political, social or cultural revolutions –  from Carlo Gesualdo to Beethoven, from Berlioz to Schoenberg and from Shostakovich to Helmut Lachenmann.


The St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra with Maestro Temirkanov
Courtesy Lucerne Festival

In addition to appearances by Claudio Abbado and Pierre Boulez, the list of guest conductors and ensembles includes Daniel Barenboim – leading the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra – Daniele Gatti with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Christian Thielemann conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden, Maris Janssons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Iván Fischer with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Manfred Honeck, Francois-Xavier Roth and the Southwest German Radio Symphony, the St Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov, Esa-Pekka Salonen with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic led by Lorin Maazel, Daniel Harding and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and Rinaldo Alessandrini with Concerto Italiano.


Anne-Sophie Mutter
Photo: Harald Hoffmann

Among the solosists are violinists Daniel Hope, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Carolin Widmann; pianists Yefim Bronfman and Maurizio Pollini, and operatic luminaries Johan Botha, Mihoko Fujimura, Thomas Hampson, Barbara Hannigan and Dorothea Röschmann.


Daniel Barenboim with the West-Eastern Divan
Photo: Monika Rittershaus

Chaya Czernowin is the Summer 2013 ‘composer-in-residence’.  Pnima … ins Innere, her work for music theatre, created an international sensation during the 1998-99 season, and on August 29th, in cooperation with the Luzerner Theater, this chamber opera will be given its first performance in Switzerland. There will also be performances of her most important works of recent years, as well as two world premieres.  One of these is a commission by Lucerne Festival and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra which will perform this new work under the direction of Daniel Barenboim on August 18th.

This year’s artistes étoiles are Mitsuko Uchida and Martin Grubinger.  Ms Uchida performs Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and also appears in recital – in an evening of chamber music with the Quatuor Ebène, and in a lieder evening with soprano Dorothea Röschmann.  Austrian percussionist, Martin Grubinger, performs ‘modernist classics’ featuring percussion and two pianos, and also appears in two percussion concertos written for him by John Corigliano and Freidrich Cerha.


Pierre Boulez with members of the Lucerne Festival Academy in 2007
Courtesy Lucerne Festival

For the past 10 years, the Lucerne Festival Academy has promoted the training of young musicians in the field of contemporary music, and from August 18th to September 9th, some 130 Academy participants will have the opportunity to study works of the 20th and 21st centuries with the Academy’s Artistic Director, Pierre Boulez, as well as with David Robertson, Pablo Heras-Casado and members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain as instrumental teachers.

The Festival presents 15 world premieres this year – by composers such as Benjamin Attahir, Chaya Czernowin, Saed Haddad, Christian Mason, Conlon Nancarrow, Michael Pelzel, Wolfgang von Schweinitz and Frank Zappa.

In another celebratory event, the Lucerne Festival and the recording label audite combine to launch a new CD series entitled Lucerne Festival Historic Performances – a series which will reproduce treasures from the first 60 years of the Festival’s history, and revive some of the most memorable moments of Lucerne festivals from the past.

Included amongst these recordings are performances by illustrious Festival artists such as Ernest Ansermet, Clara Haskil, Pierre Fournier and George Szell.  The original tapes from the radio archives of SRF Swiss Radio and Television are being restored, and the rich historical and artistic value of these performances will be supplemented with photographs and material from the Lucerne Festival archives.

In February this year, audite was named Label of the Year by the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA).  audite specialises in historical recordings, in addition to producing new releases.

Lucerne Festival in Summer runs from August 16th to September 15th.  For further information please visit, where you’ll also find information about tickets.


The KKL by night
Courtesy Lucerne Festival

Preview home page

World premiere at Jacob’s Pillow for New York City Ballet’s Wendy Whelan


Wendy Whelan with Brian Brooks in ‘Restless Creature’
Photo: Christopher Duggan – Courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow Dance

Wendy Whelan is thrilling audiences at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival this week with a complete departure from the roles in which she normally appears as a principal dancer of New York City Ballet.  Aptly titled Restless Creature, this suite of contemporary duets enables one of today’s most celebrated ballerinas to pursue a new outlet for her individuality, combining her extraordinary talent with the creative artistry of four of America’s leading choreographers.

Co-commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow, Restless Creature features works by Brian Brooks, Kyle Abraham, Alejandro Cerrudo and Joshua Beamish, each of whom partners Ms Whelan in the individual duets created for her, and set to music by Max Richter, Philip Glass, German pianist Hauschka and Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir.


‘Restless Creature’ represents a complete departure for Ms Whelan
Photo: Christopher Duggan

Wendy Whelan has been a member of New York City Ballet since 1986.  She has danced in a wide range of ballets created for the Company by George Balanchine, worked closely with Jerome Robbins on a number of of his ballets, and has originated featured roles in ballets by Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe, Alexei Ratmansky, Wayne McGregor, Jorma Elo, Shen Wei and Twyla Tharp.

Having received a number of prestigious awards, Ms Whelan has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and danced as a guest artist with The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and with the Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg.  Television appearances include two Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts on PBS – New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography in 2002, and Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100 in 2004.

Kyle Abraham is the New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist for 2012-14.  A 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient and USA Ford Fellow, he was named the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama” by OUT Magazine.  In 2010 he received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance, and a Princess Grace Award for Choreography.


Wendy Whelan and Brian Brookes
Photo: Christopher Duggan

Recently awarded a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, Brian Brooks is also a recipient of  the New York City Center Fellowship (2012–2013) and the Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2013).  His dance group, the Brian Brooks Moving Company, will be presented by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) as part of their 2013 Next Wave Festival, and Brooks has also been commissioned to create new works for The Juilliard School, the Vail International Dance Festival and Alfred University.

Joshua Beamish is Artistic Director of MOVE: the company, a Canadian-American non-profit through which his works have been seen across North America, in Asia and Europe.  An alumnus of the New York Choreographic Institute – a New York City Ballet affiliate – Beamish is also the recipient of a Jerome Robbins Foundation grant, and the 2012—2013 National Incubator Artist-in-Residence at the American Dance Institute.


Wendy Whelan with Joshua Beamish
Photo: Christopher Duggan

Alejandro Cerrudo has danced professionally since 1998, with companies such as Victor Ullate Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and Hubbard Dance Chicago.  Named Hubbard Street Choreographic Fellow in 2008, he became the company’s first Resident Choreographer the following year, and amongst the works he has created for Hubbard Street are collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Nederlands Dans Theater.

Jacob’s Pillow – a National Historic Landmark – is home to America’s longest-running international dance festival.  Hailed by Mikhail Baryshnikov as “one of America’s most precious cultural assets”, “the dance center of the nation” by The New York Times and described as a “hub and mecca of dancing” by TIME Magazine, the Festival is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and attracts thousands of people each year, from the United States and around the world.  It features the work of 50 dance companies, and presents 200 free performances, talks and events. The School at Jacob’s Pillow is one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the US.

Restless Creature will be presented at the Ted Shawn Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow, from August 14th to 18th.  For further information and tickets, please visit


Wendy Whelan, recipient of a number of prestigious awards
Photo: Christopher Duggan

Video clips of Restless Creature can be viewed via the following links:

Jacob’s Pillow

Wendy Whelan

Kyle Abraham

Brian Brooks

Joshua Beamish

Alejandro Cerrudo


Preview home page