New York City Ballet had a sellout crowd at its fall season opener on Thursday thanks to the music of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and costumes created by his daughter, the superstar designer Stella McCartney.
City Ballet has been looking for ways to expand its audience to make up for receiving less foundation support during the economic downturn. Thursday night's gala raised over $4 million. More than 1,200 people showed up for event, making it the largest gala in the company's history.
The ballet score McCartney wrote for City Ballet, his first-ever, was created for the dance production "Ocean's Kingdom." The pop star said his score was imbued with an environmental theme.
"There's a kind of ecological subplot that never gets mentioned anywhere that was always in the back of my mind," said McCartney, "which is the purity of the oceans being ruined by these terrible earth people."
Stella McCartney created the costumes for "Ocean's Kingdom" and the City Ballet's Master in Chief, Peter Martins, choreographed the work.
Doris Allen came to the show from Wading River, New York. She said the McCartney father-daughter duo — which she called "an exciting grouping" — was part of the reason she bought tickets.
The New York Philharmonic also opened its fall season this week. The Metropolitan Opera opens its new season on Monday and Carnegie Hall has its season opener in early October.
With Janet Babin and Dan Tucker