Boston Ballet’s Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, By the Numbers
On Thursday evening, the Boston Ballet kicked off its 52nd season with the Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler: A Ballet by John Neumeier, taking the audience on an intensely emotional journey of six movements, from an impressive showcase of masculine force to an almost heartbreaking ending that evokes the fleeting nature of love.
The ballet is rarely performed—in addition to its physical demands, it also requires tremendous orchestral effort, requiring a great number of musicians, a full chorus, and a female vocalist to perform Mahler’s longest piece.
The Boston Ballet will present the work at the Boston Opera House through November 1. Here, we take a look at the production by the numbers:
John Neumeier first premiered the work in 1975 at the Hamburg Ballet.
The Boston Ballet presents it 40 years later, becoming only the fourth company in the world and the first in North America to perform it.
Each performance lasts one hour and 45 minutes, without intermissions.
The ballet involves 70 dancers, who spent a total of 60 days in rehearsals.
The first 30-minute movement features an all-male cast of 29 dancers—a rare occurrence in ballet.
The first movement features four human pyramids.
The men cross-trained for more than 200 hours in addition to attending regular studio rehearsals.
The Boston Ballet Orchestra was expanded to 83 musicians to perform Third Symphony alongside 20 members of the New World Chorale and one soloist, Sarah Pelletier.
John Neumeier designed the costumes, which involve 250 garments handmade from 500 yards of lycra and silk and custom-dyed in 40 colors.