The Four Seasons – Spring
In 1855, romantic Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi wrote the five-act opera I vespri sicillani, based on the successful rebellion of Sicilians against King Charles I of Anjou on Easter, 1282. Included in the opera was the third-act ballet called The Four Seasons, which captured the imagination of influential choreographer Jerome Robbins in the early 70s. “His libretto called for Janus, the God of New Year, to inaugurate a series of dances by each of the seasons in turn,” Robbins said in 1979 in an interview published by The New York City Ballet. “Verdi’s notes suggest such notions as ballerinas warming themselves in Winter by dancing, Spring bringing on warm breezes, indolent Summer ladies being surprised by an Autumnal faun, etc. The present ballet follows his general plan.”
When The Four Seasons first premiered, it was considered an artistic triumph. Washington Post writer Alan M. Krigsman even called the ballet: “The New York City Ballet’s newest opus”…and that the “Spring section” featured “amplitude and nuance” from dancers Kyra Nichols and Daniel Duell.