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The fairy with no name


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#1 Cliff

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 09:16 PM

The wicked fairy has a name, Carabosse. Yet the good fairy just has a description, lilac. Is this an oversight, or is there a deeper meaning behind the lack of a proper name?

#2 Estelle

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:26 AM

I thought that actually "Lilac" could be considered as a name (I think that in French it is "la fée des Lilas", so lilac couldn't be considered as color in such a name).

#3 Hans

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 08:37 AM

A clearer way to name the Lilac Fairy in English might be "Fairy of the Lilacs."

#4 Cliff

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:02 PM

In English, there is never a reference to "the Carabosse fairy." The Lilac fairy is descriptive in that it describes a fairy who wears a lilac colored costume. It is just like calling a tall fairy, "the tall fairy." A proper name seems to missing even in French. An analogy is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis to (for example) Marie, Fairy of Lilacs.

Except she doesn't have a name.

A complementary question is, what is Carabosse the fairy of?

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 01:53 AM

A Russian tradition is to hold christenings under a lilac bush. So, the "fée aux lilas" is one in charge of the lilacs. Carabosse is older. She's the Elements, as the thunderstorm which announces her arrival in the Prologue suggests.

It might be fun to figure out proper names for all of the other six fairies. "Myrtha" is a form of "Martha" = Heb. "The Lady of the house".

#6 Estelle

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 03:29 AM

In Petipa's original production, did the Lilac Fairy have a lilac-colored costume, or was she just "La fée des lilas" (assuming that the program notes were in French) ?

By the way, I wonder if the names "Carabosse", "Aurore", "Désiré", etc. were created by Petipa, because in Perrault's tale, none of the characters have names (except the two children of the princess and the prince, who are in the second part of the tale- which was not used for the ballet-, they were called "Aurore" and "Jour", i.e. "Dawn" and "Day". I wonder if "Aurore" already was a French first name then- because "Jour" never was a French first name, the tale just says the little boy was called like that because he was "even more handsome than his sister", and actually there is a French expression "beau comme le jour", "as beautiful as the day"...)

#7 Hans

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:57 AM

To add to what Mel wrote, in Russia, lilacs symbolize wisdom.

#8 Lexie

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 03:26 AM

By the way, I wonder if the names "Carabosse", "Aurore", "Désiré", etc. were created by Petipa, because in Perrault's tale, none of the characters have names (except the two children of the princess and the prince, who are in the second part of the tale- which was not used for the ballet-, they were called "Aurore" and "Jour", i.e. "Dawn" and "Day".


I'm not sure if Petipa created them, or why the child Aurore's name was given to what, in Perault's version, was her Mother, the Aurora we know from the ballet, but 'Desire' [apologies for the lack of accents, the codes don't work on my laptop] is a reference to Louis XIV, as it is said his Father, Louis XIII desperately needed an heir to keep his unstable brother off the throne, so when Louis XIV was finally born, he was known as 'the desired one' for this reason and also for his personality in later life.

There are many references to Louis XIV's court in The Sleeping Beauty, such as the choreography, as the court is set out based on rank and ceremony, as in the days of Louis XIV, and Carabosse's courtesans mock this etiquette in the Prologue, leaping around and removing Cattalabutte's wig, whic many, if not all coutesans, would have worn at this time.

I cannot find an origin of 'Carabosse' but I did come across another mythic story, with a similar plot to the tempest, which involves an evil character called Carabosse, so I suppose it has been associated with evil for a long time.

#9 Hans

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:51 PM

Yes, it is recorded that Petipa wished for the courtiers in "Sleeping Beauty" to evoke those of Louis XIV.

#10 Mel Johnson

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 04:48 PM

The King isn't Florestan XIV for nothing!

#11 papeetepatrick

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 05:17 PM

The King isn't Florestan XIV for nothing!


Mel, this is something I've wanted to ask about for awhile, and may need a new thread. I didn't know till reading this just now that SB was evoking the court of Louis XIV, but since he is so famous for being a ballet dancer (I guess one calls him that), what are other appearances of him in the ballet repertory. Also, is there a ballet with Louis XIV himself as a virtuoso dancer, or even just a main character, all about the Sun King? It just had occurred to me that I can't imagine there wouldn't be, and that OTOH I don't know of any. Thanks.

#12 bart

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 05:36 PM

Yes, it is recorded that Petipa wished for the courtiers in "Sleeping Beauty" to evoke those of Louis XIV.

And to wake up in the middle of the 18th century. ABT's new production does get this right, I believe, though the Prince's look seems a bit later in the century.

Lincoln Kirstein's Fifty Ballet Masterworks discusses a number of Louis XIV era ballets and includes generous illustrations. Among them are several of Louis XIV as Roi Soleil and/or Apollo.

I know I've seen a film in which an elaborate court ballet for Louis XIV was featured at some length (and not just glimpsed). Was it the Roberto Rossellini '60s made-for-tv film Prise de Pourvoir par Louis XIV (released in theaters in the US as Rise of Louis XIV? If not, what?

This topic got me thinking about the Rossellini film. YouTube has several clips. In this one, Louis processes slowly through the Versailles gardens late in his reign. The "balletic" quality of life in the court of an absolute monarch -- and the slow, dead serious formality even when taking a stroll -- are wonderfully done:

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

And then there's the famous, excruciatingly long clip of Louis XIV dining alone and in state, watched by a reverential court.



#13 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 05:09 AM

I can't think of any Sun King appearances in ballets of the post-Romantic era either, although it would be a good idea. The closest I can come is an opportunity not taken in Esmeralda for a cameo by Louis XIII.

#14 innopac

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 02:41 PM

I know I've seen a film in which an elaborate court ballet for Louis XIV was featured at some length (and not just glimpsed). Was it the Roberto Rossellini '60s made-for-tv film Prise de Pourvoir par Louis XIV (released in theaters in the US as Rise of Louis XIV? If not, what?

This topic got me thinking about the Rossellini film. YouTube has several clips. In this one, Louis processes slowly through the Versailles gardens late in his reign. The "balletic" quality of life in the court of an absolute monarch -- and the slow, dead serious formality even when taking a stroll -- are wonderfully done:

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

Thanks for the clips, Bart.

You wouldn't want a king who paced up and down!

#15 EricMontreal22

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 06:27 PM

What confused me more about the fairies is the fact that out of all of Perrault's fairy tales, I know Hop O My thumb and other obscure ones that we see in Act III, and I assume the White Cat was just inveneted to duet with Puss--but I've enver found an actual Blue Bird and Princess Florine tale... Anyone know if there's a source to it?


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