American Ballet Theatre, St. Louis Symphony to present 'Firebird' at Lied in Feburary 2018

Misty Copeland will perform the title role in Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird" Feb. 16, 2018, at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Courtesy photo.
Misty Copeland will perform the title role in Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird" Feb. 16, 2018, at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Courtesy photo.

American Ballet Theatre, St. Louis Symphony to present 'Firebird' at Lied in Feburary 2018

calendar icon26 Apr 2017    

Lincoln, Neb.--One of the world's top dance companies, American Ballet Theatre, will unite with the seven-time Grammy-winning musicians of the St. Louis Symphony for two performances Feb. 16 and 17, 2018, at the Lied Center for Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The collaboration was announced April 26 at New York City's Lincoln Center and features a once-in-a-lifetime performance of Igor Stravinsky's masterwork, "Firebird," with principal dancers Misty Copeland (Feb. 16) and Isabella Boylston (Feb. 17) illuminating the iconic title role.

The Lied Center has become a national leader in presenting artists and collaborations normally only seen in the country's major metropolitan centers such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Lincoln will be the only city in the world during 2018 to host this collaboration. In recent seasons, the Lied Center has served as the venue where Yo-Yo Ma filmed a portion of his 2015 documentary "The Music of Strangers," Idina Menzel made the live concert debut of music from her newest album in September 2016 and the Chicago Symphony performed on tour with Conductor Jaap van Zweden, who was recently appointed as music director designate of the New York Philharmonic.

The collaboration between American Ballet Theatre and the St. Louis Symphony is possible with private support from the estate of Glenn Korff. In recognition of the gift, the event will be recognized as the GK Platinum Command Performance. The gift also provides a $500,000 community challenge grant to build an endowment fund supporting the presentation of iconic artists for future generations at the Lied Center.

Born in Hebron in 1943, Korff graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1965 and went on to have a successful career in finance and investments, retiring from Goldman Sachs. Lied Center Executive Director Bill Stephan said Korff's legacy continues to enrich the human spirit through the arts by creating opportunities for Nebraska audiences and students to experience the world's top artists at the Lied.

Beyond the main-stage performances, the collaboration will provide opportunities for students and Nebraskans of all ages with educational residencies involving artists from the ballet company and the symphony throughout the week leading up to the performance.

"Engaging with artists like American Ballet Theatre and St. Louis Symphony is part of what makes the student experience on our campus distinctive," Chancellor Ronnie Green said. "Throughout every academic year, the most distinguished artists in the world teach in our classrooms and inspire our students."

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler said: "My goal as mayor has been to make Lincoln a world-class city, and that includes bringing the top artists from around the globe to our community. The Lied Center – along with Pinnacle Bank Arena, Pinewood Bowl and our outstanding private venues – are making that happen. In recent years, residents and visitors from throughout the region have come to see such international stars as Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Yo-Yo Ma, the Chicago Symphony, Tony Bennett and Idina Menzel. We've enjoyed musicals fresh from Broadway and top professional dance companies like the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Lincoln is becoming known as a hub of the Silicon Prairie, but we are equally proud of our growing reputation as a center for arts and entertainment."

Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Wendy Birdsall said: "We are routinely named as a top place to start a career or find a job, and we've been ranked as the happiest state in America. Lincoln's arts and music scene is a reflection of that. Stars like Joshua Bell, Wynton Marsalis, Katy Perry and Pink consider our community a destination tour stop and we believe there is no limit to what the future holds for arts and entertainment in Lincoln."

The ballet performances will feature two works, "Firebird" and "Serenade after Plato’s Symposium," by celebrated choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. The pieces will be complemented by two classic and iconic dance duets, "Black Swan" and "White Swan." Ratmansky was artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet prior to becoming artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre in 2009.

"We are so looking forward to working with St. Louis Symphony and combining our energy to produce a unique experience at the Lied Center and for Lincoln," said Kevin McKenzie, American Ballet Theatre artistic director.

The full 2017-18 Lied Center season is set to be announced on May 4. Tickets to the American Ballet Theatre-St. Louis Symphony performances will be available beginning May 11, as part of the Lied Center's "create your own" season ticket packages.