For the second year in a row, members of the PSU Orchestra have given up their Thanksgiving vacation in order to collaborate with the talented young dancers from The Portland Ballet academy. The music for La boutique fantasque (The enchanted toyshop) comes from a collection of solo piano pieces by Rossini, composed in the final decade of his life. While still in his thirties, Rossini decided to take an early retirement from composing opera, and for the next thirty years focused mainly on his two hobbies: cooking and eating. At the age of sixty-five, he gradually began composing again, and produced 14 volumes of short salon-style pieces (mostly for solo piano), which he called “Sins of Old Age.” The most charming, brilliant and beautiful of these were arranged and orchestrated by Respighi, for the great dancer and choreographer Léonide Massine of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe. The story about toys in a toy shop coming to life was adapted for The Portland Ballet production by choreographer John Clifford, and we are performing it in a new orchestration (tailor-made for the Newmark Theatre) by a recent PSU graduate, cellist and composer Eric Allen. We’re excited to introduce yet another generation of young dancers and musicians to the experience of ballet as a form of physical expression through live music. Click here for tickets.