Boston Ballet: Night of Stars

A view of the beautiful Boston Skyline

A view of the beautiful Boston Skyline

Saturday night I sat on a blanket on the Boston Common as a late summer breeze blew. Although forecasters had threatened rain, it was a beautiful evening. I sat with a friend and roughly 50,000 fans to watch the Boston Ballet present its “Night of Stars.” This was the first time the Boston Ballet had performed on the Common and Bostonians turned out in droves to enjoy the spectacle.

The stage, way in the distance

The stage, way in the distance

Although I arrived almost two hours before the ballet began, I could not sit anywhere near the stage. I instead opted to sit near one of the three huge screens. I had hoped that we would be able to see a bit of what was occurring on stage, but in the end, the ballerinas were like stick figures way in the distance. It was wonderful to be able to see the screen and hear the gorgeous, live music. One of the best aspects about the Boston Ballet is that they have a live orchestra. The live music adds another dimension to the performance and enhances the experience.

One of the screens nearest to where I sat

One of the screens nearest to where I sat

I love the ballet. Most years I purchase a season pass for their performances at the Opera House. However, there was something remarkable about watching world-class ballet outside with thousands. Many were there with their children who generally would not be able to sit through a long performance. On Saturday night, because it was outside, they could roam around and still see the ballet due to the large screens.

A view of part of the crowd behind where I sat. So wonderful over 50,000 came to watch ballet!

A view of part of the crowd behind where I sat. So wonderful over 50,000 came to watch ballet!

They performed pieces I had already seen and really enjoyed. One of my favorites was a world premiere called “Swan.” It seemed a perfect blend of traditional yet contemporary dancing, the music haunting and lyrical, and I loved it. My favorite moment occurred during the second half. A man who appeared to be homeless stopped to watch as they performed “Bella Figura.” His face lit with abject joy as he watched the dancers’ intricate movements perfectly match the music. After a few minutes, he was politely asked by a volunteer to move on because he was blocking the view of those sitting. He beamed at the volunteer and said, “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!” He shook his head as though thunderstruck and continued walking down the walkway. That moment captured the essence of the evening for me. It was a night for all of Boston, not just ballet lovers.

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