Critic’s Choice

Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 9:00 am

Was Richard Strauss, known more for his symphonic tone poems and operas, a ballet composer manqué? After composing his first dance score for the Ballets Russes in 1914, Strauss became co-director of the Vienna State Opera for a few years after World War I, with the hope of reviving that house’s moribund ballet company.

Strauss’s tenure in Vienna concluded with an exorbitant, ultimately failed production of Schlagobers in 1924, an extravagant story about a group of children spending their confirmation money in a Viennese candy shop. The sugary delights come to life, and one boy makes himself sick, hallucinating a visit to a party hosted by Princess Pralinée.

Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has resurrected the work as a vividly staged confection, Whipped Cream, premiered just last year. American Ballet Theatre brings its first Washington performances of the work to the Kennedy Center Opera House this week. Neither balletomanes nor Strauss fans should miss it.

Casts vary,  but every performance includes major stars like David Hallberg (Thursday 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 p.m.), Misty Copeland (Saturday 7:30 p.m.), Hee Seo and Cory Stearns (Friday 7:30 p.m.), and Skylar Brandt (Saturday 1:30 p.m.).; 202-467-4600

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