Ballet Idaho Goes Italian 

Operas, symphonies and ballets often present themed programs, looking to a certain country, culture or era to help shape the evening's performances. Ballet Idaho's artistic director Peter Anastos said he wanted to do something different. So he turned his eyes to Italy.

"It's an incredible place," Anastos said fondly of the country he believes everyone should visit at least once. "And I thought it might be interesting instead of doing French music or Russian music, which are obvious choices, or even an American evening, it would be less obvious and more interesting to do something about Italy."

Ballet Idaho's upcoming "All-Italian Program" April 9-11 includes music from non-Italian composers but is still all-Italian in spirit. The three ballets will feature Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons (choreographed by Ballet Idaho's ballet master Alex Ossadnik), Russian composer Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella, and German composer Felix Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony, which includes a fast-paced Tarantella.

If all this talk of Italy is making you hungry (what's talk of Italy without thinking of the country's gastronomic contributions?) join Anastos, Ossadnik and the entire company on Wednesday, April 7, for a four-course Italian dinner (an antipasti course, pasta of course, insalata, a dolce dessert, a no-host beer and wine bar, and coffee and Italian sodas from Tully's) sponsored by the Italian American Club. Stick around for a demonstration of the upcoming program and a lecture sponsored by the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute.

After all that food, you should be well prepared for the "All-Italian Program," which Anastos promises will be exciting. "The music bubbles right along and cooks at a high boil," he said. "It was fun to choreograph."

Dinner and lecture, Wednesday, April 7, 5:30 p.m., $50 dinner, $10 lecture only; Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy, 516 S. Ninth St. All-Italian Program, April 9-11, $20-$50, Boise State SPEC, 1800 University Drive. Visit balletidaho.org.

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