The special guests on this program were to have been Laëtitia Pujol and Alessio Carbone, from the Paris Opera Ballet. In his introduction to the evening, Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen explained that they'd been detained in France by the general strike, so instead we got Wendy Whelan (from New York City Ballet) and Damian Smith (from San Francisco Ballet) in Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain. Set to the same Arvo Pärt piece — Spiegel im Spiegel — that Pickett used for Tsukiyo last season, it looked less fresh than that piece, or for that matter the new ones Pickett and Yanowsky presented this year.
The evening ended with the concluding four sections of Theme and Variations, another piece from the Balanchine program last May. Mia Kuranaga, James Whiteside, and the corps were welcome reminders of how good this company can be.
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