Chaconne, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, and The Magic Flute

The New York City Ballet on Sunday, October 3.

For more than a decade, the New York City Ballet hasn’t performed fall repertory (aside from an opening gala in November before Nutcracker season), which has always been unfortunate for me personally since my mom, who introduced me to ballet, tends to visit in the fall. She and Dad also like to visit in mid-spring, in between the City Ballet’s winter season (January and February) and spring season (May and June). It’s almost as though Dad has been scheming to avoid being subjected to tutus. (Ha! I kid. We would never subject Dad to tutus.)

In any case, I don’t know why City Ballet changed up their schedule, adding a new fall repertory season, but Mom and I were delighted at the opportunity to go to a performance together, and we got lucky: it was a great program, varied but not incoherent, with great music and lovely dancing—and in October! What more could we ask?

Rossini’s Overture to “La gazza ladra,” Orbón’s “Tres versiones sinfónicas,” Bernstein’s “Divertimento for Orchestra,” and Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante défunte” and “Boléro”

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, October 2.

The program, led by guest conductor Gustavo Dudamel, was gleefully, ridiculously, unabashedly populist—endearingly so, but also a bit over the top. There’s something kind of goofy about selecting a Rossini overture AND Ravel’s Boléro AND a collection of Bernstein dances (not the West Side Story suite, to be fair, but so like it that it might as well have been). Part of me wanted something a bit richer and more challenging—something like the Prokofiev symphony Dudamel conducted in his New York Philharmonic debut three years ago. But even in my snobbier moments, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. If one must do a crowd-pleaser-packed program, one might as well do it exquisitely well. It would be easy enough to coast through this stuff—it’s going to get an enthusiastic reaction regardless—but Dudamel and company never rested on the music’s laurels.