Posted 20 December 2006 - 01:02 PM
There are certainly ballets galore set to ballet music from opera: Balanchine's Ballo della Regina from Verdi's Don Carlos (the French version); Donizetti Variations (from Dom Sebastien); Sonnambula to Bellini music from La Sonnambula & other of his operas (wonderfully stitched together by Rieti for the ballet); Robbins' Four Seasons from Verdi's Les Vepres Sicilienne - the French version of I Vespri Siciliani - along with some I Lombardi & something else which escapes me for the moment.
For Ballo, Balanchine loosely used the theme of the ballet in the opera. A ball is given by King Phillip to honor his bride, Elisabetta (Isabella, actually but that's off subject). A ballet is part of the entertainment. It is about undersea creatures who find a great pearl - La Pelegrina - which Phillip then presents to Elisabetta. Centuries later Richard Burton presented La Pelegrina to another Elizabeth.
Posted 20 December 2006 - 01:41 PM
Posted 20 December 2006 - 03:38 PM
I wish so too. Most of the Grand Operas written for Paris in the mid 19th century had ballets; it was a required element, as it were. Even Wagner had to write a ballet for Tanhauser for it's Parisian permiere.
I remember seeing on a video a ballet of dead nuns from Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable. Wild stuff.
I have to disagree though on adding say Verdi's ballets back into his French operas. For me they are just too long. I've really cut back my opera going because I get to antsy at these 4 hour evenings, particularly at the Met where the intermissions are interminable. Also in that era, attendence was much more casual. The audience would feel free to come late, leave early and wander in and out during the performances. They weren't the (somewhat) more disciplined things they are today.
And let's not talk about the length of Meistersinger!!!!
I'd rather see the ballet music lifted out and used on it's own.
Posted 20 December 2006 - 04:21 PM
I remember it being en pointe, the ballerina in white flowy costume.
I also remember closing my eyes and just listening to Maria.
Posted 20 December 2006 - 07:10 PM
Posted 20 December 2006 - 08:27 PM
I'm not sure those scenes would make a terribly coherent libretto, though.
Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:33 PM
I have found most of the Met productions visually very powerful though not all the music in every opera is riviting the way a ballet seems to usually be.
But coming back to the original question of this thread... I was really not seeking entire operas that were done as ballets... but some lyrical arias... almost the way ABT did some of Sinatra songs.. short pieces...
Posted 20 December 2006 - 10:04 PM
I happened to be crossing Lincoln Center Plaza one day as a photographer was posing cast members on the Met's balcony. I can vouch for "stunning," even without the sets and with natural midday light.
Posted 21 December 2006 - 12:47 AM
I think one of the main problems with using opera arias for ballet is that the dancer simply can't hold that arabesque for as long as the singer holds his high C. As a result the choreographer has to choreograph very much "through the music" rather than "to the music" and IMO it takes a very good choreographer to do that successfully without creating what I call a "run on" piece, with too little phrasing, rest and climax. In short, I think ballet works to opera arias will become too "busy" because the dancers simply cannot sustain motion for as long as the singer can sustain his voice, with the result that the dancer has to perform four different steps in the time that the singer holds a single note. Not to mention it being extremely exhausting for the dancers.
Posted 21 December 2006 - 01:26 AM
Posted 21 December 2006 - 03:13 AM
Posted 21 December 2006 - 08:27 AM
A 20 minute aria, yikes!
You're right,about the stamina for a dancer and a singer being timed differently. But a way around it would be , in say a 20 minute piece, to have the dancers used in a relay fashion. Dancer one starts, dances for a few minutes, dancer two, or a grouping of dancers, takes over, and so forth.
I just saw something like this last month in Dark Elegies. Each of the Mahler songs was asigned to a group of dancers, but within the song the dancing was divided up a bit.
Posted 21 December 2006 - 08:51 AM
Why does a choreographed aria have to be for a single dancer or a pas de deux? It could be like a mini ballet even... I would think it depends on the length of the aria... and most that I am familiar with are not 20 minutes long... In fact, they may be too short to develop something interesting for dance. (I am reminded of a Polina Seminova video I have seen of a "pop song" which was only a few minutes..)
On another "note" there was a John Rockwell review in the NY Times this morning of Richard Move's MoveOpolis which includes dance choreographed to Verdi ... I presumed his opera music. Move's work maybe far from ballet, but at least some choreographer has picked up this opera music as music for dance idea... among the ones mentioned above.
Posted 21 December 2006 - 01:34 PM
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