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The Spindle Scene, Act I


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#31 carbro

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 02:41 PM

What a lovely gesture to give out the flowers.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sounds like the Fairy of Generosity did her thing on the princess!

#32 cargill

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 05:57 AM

I don't know if this is at all relevant to Sleeping Beauty but a teacher once told me that spinning in the Middle Ages was a sign of purity; he was talking about pictures of the Virgin Mary, who is often, apparently, holding a spindle. Bournonville's A Folk Tale, which does have echoes of Sleeping Beauty (or rather the other way around, since it came first--as I recall, Petipa knew of Folk Tale), shows Hilda holding a spindle as well. Of course, purity and Aurora's spindle don't quite match!

#33 Hans

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 06:22 AM

That's certainly the opposite extreme from carbro's interpretation.

At the Paris Opéra Ballet, Aurora has to find the spindle in the middle of a bouquet and hold onto it as she pulls it out of the flowers and throws them down...all in the middle of a double pirouette at the end of a manège. Really, it's enough to make one wonder why choreographers feel the need to make the role even more technically challenging than it already is.

Alymer, how does the Milan production work musically? I take it that she must prick her finger rather soon after receiving the bouquet and then find the spindle on what is traditionally the ominous "prick" chord?

#34 Estelle

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 08:32 AM

If I remember correctly, in the original Perrault tale, the spindle incident has nothing to do with the evil fairy (who has no name, by the way- well, most characters have no name), it's just a matter of chance (one day when her parents are away, the princess visits some rooms of the castle and meets an old lady with a spindle and, as she doesn't know what it is, she touches it). Also the prince doesn't even kiss the princess... And there are a few humorous touches (for example when the prince thinks that his bride has the same old-fashioned clothes as his grandmother, but doesn't dare to tell her).

[Edited to add:]
I wonder if the spindle might have something to do with the Greek myth of the three Fates, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos ?

#35 taniusha

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 06:36 AM

It is a spindle from a spinning wheel that gets handed to her; it is appropriate as a coming-of-age gift, because another name for it is a "maiden". It would also mark her accession to "spinsterhood", as a marriageable single woman.


So, if I understood you correctly, the spindle that she gets as a present should represent that she is old enough to become a woman? It would be like a tradition, or something like that?
Thanx in advance for the answer! :(

#36 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 12:41 PM

That's correct. Actually, that she has become a woman and is now of marriageable age. Of course there are other interpretations out there, too, but that's mine.

#37 leonid17

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 04:05 PM

That's correct. Actually, that she has become a woman and is now of marriageable age. Of course there are other interpretations out there, too, but that's mine.


There are according to Russian ethnological studies superstitious prohibitions connected with a spindle and to receive one could lead to misfortune (and death of cattle).

#38 taniusha

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 05:38 AM

Thank you, Mel!

Leonid, I didn't know about that Russian superstition. Knowing that, the tale becomes even more interesting.
It is fascinating how some fairy tale like this one, intended to be for the kids, carries so much information and tradition, and historical background!


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