Donizetti Variations

This ballet was created for “Salute to Italy,” a New York City Ballet program celebrating the 100th anniversary of Italy’s unification. Balanchine felt he needed a “cheerful and sunny work” to offset the more somber tone of the other ballets on the program, which included La Sonnambula.

Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) was a prolific composer who wrote more than 65 operas. His works celebrated the beauties of bel canto singing, and had great theatrical flair, melody, and lyrical phrasing. He is best known for his tragic opera Lucia di Lammermoor and the light-hearted L’Elisir d’Amore.

Repertory notes provided courtesy of and adapted from New York City Ballet Online Repertory Index. Additional sources: Choreography by George Balanchine: A Catalogue of Works, An Eakins Press Foundation Book, published by Viking (1984); and Repertory in Review: 40 Years of the New York City Ballet by Nancy Reynolds (1970; The Dial Press).
Photo credit: Photo © Paul Kolnik
Choreography:  George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Music:  Excerpts from the opera Don Sebastian
Composer:  Donizetti, Gaetano
Premiere:  1960
Average Length:  25 minutes
No. Dancers:  11