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Symphony in C, originally titled Le Palais de Cristal, is a ballet made by New York City Ballet co-founder and balletmaster George Balanchine to Georges Bizet's Symphony in C (1855). The music of the ballet, which Bizet wrote at the age of 17 while studying with Charles Gounod at the Paris Conservatory, was lost and only rediscovered and published in 1933 (Stravinsky informed Balanchine of this).

The premiere was on Monday, July 28, 1947, in the Théâtre National de l'Opéra with the Paris Opéra Ballet where Balanchine was guest ballet master. According to City Ballet docents[1] the four movements were originally associated with and designed using the colors four gemstones, three of which Balanchine subsequently retained for the three movements of his 1967 ballet Jewels: Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds. Even before the ballet was renamed Symphony in C, he had eliminated the color scheme and changed to the white costumes still used.

The NYCB premiere took place as the final piece on the first performance, October 11, 1948, of the newly renamed City Ballet at the City Center of Music and Drama with costumes by Karinska. Jerome Robbins was in the audience at that performance and is quoted as saying that he immediately wrote to Balanchine asking to be hired in any capacity.[2] Suzanne Farrell says that Symphony in C is the first ballet she ever saw and determined at once to become a ballerina and join City Ballet; both of which she did. When she was in rehearsal learning her role from Balanchine, he asked her whether she could touch her knee with her nose en penchée, which she could, and this addition to the choreography remains to this very day.[2]



first movement Lycette Darsonval Alexandre Kalioujny
second movement Tamara Toumanova Roger Ritz
third movement Micheline Bardin Michel Renault
fourth movement Madeleine Lafon Max Bozzoni
NYCB revivals
first movement Maria Tallchief Nicholas Magallanes
second movement Tanaquil LeClercq Francisco Moncion
third movement Beatrice Tompkins Herbert Blass
fourth movement Elise Reiman Lew Christensen
2008 at the Kennedy Center
first movement Abi Stafford Jonathan Stafford
second movement Wendy Whelan Philip Neal
third movement Ashley Bouder Benjamin Millepied
fourth movement Tiler Peck Sean Suozzi


  1. ^ 4th Ring talk, Saturday matinee, May 3, 2008 (4th Ring talks are also known as 1st Position discussions.)
  2. ^ a b 4th Ring talk, Tuesday, May 13, 2008


  • Playbill, New York City Ballet, Wednesday, April 30, 2008
  • Repertory Week, New York City Ballet, Spring Season, 2008 repertory, week 1



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