Kathleen Breen Combes and pianist Alex Foaksman in Robbins’ The Concert, Boston Ballet, May 2015. © Gene Schiavone.

The Concert delivers ageless humor in a circus of sweetly-wrought episodes. The Saul Steinberg set is a stage-wide comic picture of a theater and audience. The comedy rolls on with characters who may hug the piano, or chew a cigar and read a newspaper, or arrange and carry dancers like dolls.

“Just a few days after Nabokov’s death, there was an invasion of butterflies out in Springs, Long Island. It probably happens every year. But the reason I noticed the butterflies this time was the presence—or the absence—of Nabokov.

“While I was riding my bicycle, in fact, I had the pleasure of traveling with one of them: a monarch, one of those orange-and-black butterflies that migrate from Canada down to Mexico. It was right beside me, we were moving at the same speed, and the butterfly was at the same height as my head. The proximity of the butterfly transformed me into an airborne head, a cherub or a seraph, one of Raphael’s angels composed solely of a head and wings.”

Saul Steinberg, from “Portraits and Landscapes”