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Great Performances

Great Performances


Great Performances is one of many in a long line of quality series' from PBS. After springing up from humble roots, 2012-2013 marked the show's 40th Anniversary, making it the longest running anthology program featuring the performing arts. From Broadway to Rock n' Roll, Great Performances has successfully provided an opportunity for the American public to enjoy many different forms of music, dance and entertainment for the very first time.

Many sources, including the 25th anniversary publication titled "Great Performances: A Celebration", cite 1972 as the start of Great Performances. Other sources indicate the show officially debuted with Maxim Gorky's "Enemies" on January 23, 1974 - as Theater in America / Great Performances. That 1973-74 season consisted of 11 new productions from Regional Theaters throughout the United states, plus repetitions of 8 plays produced by WNET in recent years. Some of these latter 8, like "The Rimers of Eldritch" and "Hogan's Goat", had previously aired on PBS under a different banner, such as NET Playhouse and Playhouse New York, (which debuted in 1972). Theater in America began in 1973, and officially became part of Great Performances the following year. All of this early innovation by Jac Venza and others appears to have contributed to the differing debut dates. Later, the Great Performances umbrella would also branch out to include Dance in America and Music in America. Additionally, the Great Performances umbrella also included Live From Lincoln Center from it's debut in 1976 until the summer of 1988. Live From Lincoln Center has it's own TVRage Listing and has not been included here.

For historical accuracy, it will be noted throughout this guide whenever a production was aired under the Great Performances umbrella, but with a different banner like Theater in America, Dance in America or Music in America.
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Episode Info

Next: 41x19 -- Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2014 (Aug/22/2014)


The world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic returns to Great Performances for their 11th open-air concert. It was held in the magnificent gardens of Austria’s Imperial Schönbrunn Palace, and for the first time, The Vienna Philharmonic was led by a guest conductor - Christoph Eschenbach. The concert featured piano virtuoso Lang Lang as special guest, and symphonic poems by Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss.


Prev: 41x18 -- Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty (Apr/25/2014)


With Sleeping Beauty, the British choreographer Matthew Bourne has returned to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the Russian composer’s ballet masterworks. Bourne began in 1992 with Nutcracker, and most famously he choreographed the international hit Swan Lake in 1995.

Sleeping Beauty is a timeless fairy tale about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years. Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa used the story in 1890 to create what has became a legendary ballet. Bourne takes 1890 as his starting point, setting the christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance. This was when fairies and vampires fed the gothic imagination. As Aurora grows into a young woman, time moves forward to the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era - a mythical golden age of long summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century-long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day; a world more mysterious and wonderful than any fairy story.

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Recurring Guests

Eric Clapton (2 eps)
Julie Andrews (2 eps)
Ian Richardson as Bishop of Motopo (2 eps)
Garrison Keillor (2 eps)
Alec Guinness as Father Quixote (2 eps)

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Warning: Great Performances guide may contain spoilers
Classification: Variety
Genre: Anthology | Cinema/Theatre | Dance | Music
Status: Returning Series
Network: PBS ( USA)
Airs: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 09:00 pm
Runtime: 60 Minutes
Premiere: January 23, 1974
This guide is currently edited by:
neal62 (Challenge)

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