Posted 19 December 2006 - 12:52 PM
And as I listened to several of these arias I saw ballet in my mind's eye. Of course, some opera includes dance and La Traviata comes to mind... and of course, ballet that I am familiar with is choreographed to orchestral music.
Arias are part of a libretto, a storyline and of course this would certainly be reflected in the choreography and staging.
So my rather naive questions are...
Have an choreographers done choreography to opera... such as the lovely arias on Netrebko's CD? To my ear they sounded like they could be wonderful ballet.
If this has been done can you point me to this... and if it hasn't been attempted do you know the reason why? If not, is there some sort on invisible barrier to the practice of ballet choreography of opera arias?
As a side note to this idea... As much as I enjoy opera and some of the amazing productions such as the Met Opera's Zeferelli La Traviata etc... ballet is so elegant and visually much more "musical" to look at. Stunning as Ms Netrebko may be watching her sing, it does not compare to a pas de deux of a Vishneva and Malakhov for example. I must say that some opera productions are stunning visually.
Posted 19 December 2006 - 03:05 PM
When Cranko was choreographing his ballet he used Tchaikovsky, but not a note from the opera. Likewise, MacMillan used Massenet for Manon, but again nothing from his opera. There have been several stagings of Lady of the Camellias, but the two versions I've seen used Chopin rather than Verdi's Traviata.
Ultimately I think certain plots lend themselves more to some dramatic forms than others. I'll probably sound like a Philistine, but I think that Romeo & Juliet works better as a ballet than as a play. To my mind, the sight of two dancers pitching themselves recklessly at each other through space captures the exhilarating essence of young love much more effectively than even Shakespeare's poetry. (And definitely more effectively than Gounod's opera, which, to my ears, doesn't even sound like Shakespeare.) I think Othello works best as an opera. A tenor striving with all his might to be heard over a blaring orchestra while singing "Si pel ciel marmoreo giuro" captures the essence of jealous fury perfectly. (Besides "Sangue! Sangue! Sangue!" sounds so much better than "O, blood, blood, blood!") As for the ruthless politicking of Macbeth, I think it's best left to dramatic actors.
Certainly, I've seen choreography to operatic arias of the Baroque period, but these ballets never attempted to put across the content of the original libretto.
Posted 19 December 2006 - 03:16 PM
I have seen ballet done to contemporary music so obviously some choreographers choose the music without a libretto... So to restate the question... has any choreographer selected and aria and done a dance "around" or to it? Not story ballet... non story ballet (don't know the lexicon).
For opera lovers on Ballet Talk... have you ever thought about a dance to an aria? I am getting the impression that this has not been done...
Posted 19 December 2006 - 03:21 PM
Camille (La Traviata)
Revenge (Il Trovatore)
Carmen (Carmen, 3 different versions, one of which, entitled Guns and Castanets, featured Don Jose as a loyalist soldier and Escamillo as an aviator)
Die Fledermaus (Die Fledermaus, or Doctor Bat)
The Merry Widow (OK, so that's an operetta) as The Merry Widow and previously as Vilia.
La Favorita (La Favorita)
The Barber of Seville (Susanna and the Barber)
Not sure whether the list is exhaustive.
Posted 19 December 2006 - 03:32 PM
As for more literal interpretations, there was that production of Orpheus and Eurydice that Balanchine did at the Met back in 1936 which was very controversial because he consigned the singers to the orchestra pit. Decades later Mark Morris did the same thing with Dido and Aeneas and no one batted an eye.
Posted 19 December 2006 - 04:32 PM
Posted 19 December 2006 - 05:18 PM
Posted 19 December 2006 - 05:29 PM
Roland Petit choreographed La Chauve-souris (Die Fledermaus), and La Scala Ballet performed it this season.
There are more ballets to song cycles, like Robert Joffrey's Remembrances to Richard Wagner's Traume, where the dancing reflects the theme of the song. Tudor's Dark Elegies was set to Mahler's Kindertotenlieder.
Posted 19 December 2006 - 05:30 PM
Posted 19 December 2006 - 05:37 PM
Posted 19 December 2006 - 05:48 PM
Of course, when choreographers undertake ballets like Carmen, Fledermaus and Merry Widow, they nearly always have the scores reorchestrated to remove the vocal parts.
Posted 19 December 2006 - 11:53 PM
Hasn't Roland Petit used part of Tchaikovsky's opera score for his ballet of Pique Dame, recently staged for the Bolshoi?
Posted 20 December 2006 - 12:43 AM
Posted 20 December 2006 - 01:33 AM
Posted 20 December 2006 - 02:42 AM
And of course the same team used Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas for Pineapple Poll.
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