Music: Ballet's New Wares

After four weeks of flexing its muscles at Manhattan's Metropolitan Opera House, the Royal Ballet (formerly known as Sadler's Wells) moved out to begin a four-month coast-to-coast tour. Along with its new name, the company brought five ballets previously unknown to U.S. audiences—including some of the most gaudily packaged merchandise it had ever displayed.

Most satisfying of the new items were Birthday Offering by Veteran Frederick Ashton and Solitaire by Kenneth MacMillan. Ashton whipped out his piece last year in honor of the company's 25th anniversary; it proved to be a sequined, dazzling...

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