MJ

Stories that should be a Ballet

160 posts in this topic

"A Rake's Progress" has been done, rather a long time ago, by Ninette de Valois. That's not to say that a revival of that work would not be welcome. And while we're on Hogarth series, why not "A Harlot's Progress", or for the more respectable, mostly outside of the demimonde, "Marriage-à-la-Mode". But why get stuck on Hogarth? Why not Thomas Rowlandson and his "Doctor Syntax" series? Why not James Gillray?

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J'aime Lucy

Now, here's a real concept for a popular ballet libretto, assuming all the niceties with Desilu could be negotiated.

What have we got? Well, to begin with:

Stock characters familiar to an entire audience across age lines.

Plots familiar to same, like those drawn from fairy tales.

No real chance of becoming IMPORTANT.*

Mahler would be a Really Bad Choice for music.

Story told by action, about like a silent movie.

Time period is remote from the modern audience, yet accessible.

* - It could be important, just as long as it doesn't try to be IMPORTANT. I mean, if a choreographer tried to explore the inner demons of Ethel Mertz, he'd get thrown out a window.

and don't forget the COSTUMES!

a great possibility for a solo by desi, entitled 'lucy you got some 'splaining to do', a short lament by lucy entitled 'waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!' and a Little Ricky who wanders in and out of every scene with a pair of drumsticks, and the big 'babalu' finale!

but who would compose the music?

sorry, my flights of fancy are rare. and it isn't even august.

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And then there's the "Cuban Pete and Sally Sweet pas de deux"....

Composer is not to worry. Wilbur Hatch may be gone, but his memory lingers on in any of a hundred TV and movie composers.

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"A Rake's Progress" has been done, rather a long time ago, by Ninette de Valois. That's not to say that a revival of that work would not be welcome.

Yeah, that's interesting, and here it is on DVD, music by Gavin Gordon. Erase if this is an interdit link (It's not an online discussion, but rather you can order it here if you want it.

http://www.vaimusic.com/VIDEO/DVD_4379_Che...kesProgress.htm

Here's another piece on it, which I found interesting, from June, 2006. Don't think this is a discussion board either, not sure. (delete if necessary.)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=100...p;refer=culture

And while we're on Hogarth series, why not "A Harlot's Progress"

That would be either Roxana or Moll, according to whether you want a peaceful retirement or wages-of-sin-is-death ending. Or even Lady Booby, actress become great lady with Joseph discovered to be bastard son at end.

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If we take the Hogarth, then the ending is clearly the Calvinist style. The final plate of the series is Moll's wake.

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"A Rake's Progress" has been done, rather a long time ago, by Ninette de Valois. That's not to say that a revival of that work would not be welcome. And while we're on Hogarth series, why not "A Harlot's Progress", or for the more respectable, mostly outside of the demimonde, "Marriage-à-la-Mode". But why get stuck on Hogarth? Why not Thomas Rowlandson and his "Doctor Syntax" series? Why not James Gillray?
Speaking realistically, the creation of a full-length ballet involves enormous investment of time and money.

One advantage of Rake's Progress is, I think, its familiarity among a large potential audience. The story-lline by Auden/Kallman is intelligent and works well. You might argue that by eliminating their actual words you have an even more effective dance piece. Stravinsky, similarly, is a name brand -- and a high quality one. Same for the Hogarth paintings.

Question: does anyone know what music Valois used for her version? Would Stravinsky's music work? It was made to be specific to the story, and it would have an originality -- though perhaps not danceability? -- more interesting than the usual pastings together of Lizst and Chopin that one finds in this kind of story ballet.

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If we take the Hogarth, then the ending is clearly the Calvinist style. The final plate of the series is Moll's wake.

The poor dear, Gawd rest 'er saaaoooouulllll!!! :clapping:

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I've just got a CD of Peer Gynt. I know that somewhere there is a ballet BUT i would like a big 'over the top- trolls etc etc.', affair. The music is so evocative.

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"A Rake's Progress" has been done, rather a long time ago, by Ninette de Valois. That's not to say that a revival of that work would not be welcome.

Yeah, that's interesting, and here it is on DVD, music by Gavin Gordon. Erase if this is an interdit link (It's not an online discussion, but rather you can order it here if you want it.

http://www.vaimusic.com/VIDEO/DVD_4379_Che...kesProgress.htm

Whoops! I missed this when it was new. :thumbsup: If you're inclined to order and haven't yet, you can save yourself $20 +/- by ordering thru the Amazon link we provide.

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How about a ballet version of Richard Strauss' opera Der Rosenkavalier? :thumbsup: They can use the orchestral suite as the basis for the music.

Mind you, it will be an expensive ballet to produce because you'll need quite elaborate costumes (the original opera is famous for using them), and you need to do it as a true classical ballet. Somebody wave a lot of money in front of the major ballet company and let's see if they can pull it off.

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I know everybody is going very deep on this topic, and no doubt there's high degree of literature knowledge involved, so I want to add my two cents. (Russians out there, listen...)-What about all those beautiful, magical Russian fairy tales back from the middle ages...? When i was a kid in Cuba, the TV used to broadcast a lot of Russian cartoons from the 50's and 60's of the tales...i still remember vividly the magical ethereal aura of them. Thanks to Youtube, they still can be seen by the present generations.-(I showed them to my best friend's little daughter, and she got bored...didn't understand the concept). Still, tales like Beautiful Vasilissa, The Frog Princess, The Snowmaiden, Old Man Winter, Maria Morevna and many others would be perfect to dance. They have everything you would ask for... love, tragedy, monarchy, lakes, snow, you name it...

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Has Antony and Cleopatra been done?
Ben Stevenson put together a full-evening piece called Cleopatra, set to Rimsky-Korsakov as arranged by John Lanchberry. It was created for Stevenson's Texas Ballet Theater, but has been rented out elsehwere. I saw it danced by Ballet Florida last spring in West Palm Beach.

The ballet covers both the Caesar and Cleopatra AND the Antony and Cleopatra stories. In my opinion it was a case of too much story, too much music, too little choreographic interest.

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Bart, I was going to mention Stevenson's Cleopatra already having been done, but to somewhat agree with you, it's almost not worth mentioning.

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One of my favorite visual movies, What Dreams May Come, I think, would make a fantastic ballet.

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Here’s a link to my post when we previously discussed this subject. That post focussed mostly on children’s books. http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...st&p=183900

Here’s another direction to go in. Regional folk tales coupled with living regional composers. This is a French- Canadian folktale. There are other versions. One has a bit of Cinderella twist, in that you may dance on the eve of Lent but not after mid-night or the devil will have your soul. I’ve also listed a French-Canadian Composer. There is also a Hispanic version of this tale.

I got this summary of the story from http://cfmb.icaap.org/content/27.3/BV27-3art2.pdf

Story: The Devil at the Dance

“The story of Rose Latulippe, a young girl risks her soul and salvation through her constant flirtations and coquettish behavior, which comes to the fore at a dance to celebrate the beginning of the Lenten season. A young, handsome stranger catches her eye, and she totally falls under his sway. Only an innocent child and an elderly grandmother holding a crucifix know him for what he truly is, and it is only because

Rose's fiance notices that the stranger's horse has coals for eyes and the steam beneath his hooves in the snow, plus the stranger's refusal to remove his hat and gloves, that eventually his true identity is revealed. The local priest intervenes to save Rose by tricking the devil, making him believe that Rose has given herself over to the Church, and the stranger eventually flees, though not before punching a great hole in the wall of the house where the dance is being held. The story hinges upon a the appearance of the devil in human guise to punish unseemly or haughty behavior on the part of a young girl, who was often

described as very beautiful but very vain and proud, to the consternation of all her friends and family, and who tempted the very wrath of God Himself. Even the very end of the tale is often left into question, with a number of different endings suggested by the storyteller, including Rose's punishment by the devil, her salvation and eventual reform to better behavior, her salvation only to become a member of a religious order, or her punishment by never marrying her intended sweetheart and remaining a maiden the remaining

days of her life.”

Composer: Linda Bouchard French-Canadian, has composed for Washington Ballet http://www.composersforum.com/member_profile.cfm?oid=2180

Cast: Rose, fiance, Rose’s father, grandmother, innocent child, Corps before Rose sees the Devil, couple dancers, contra dancers, Priest, Nun corps,

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One of my favorite visual movies, What Dreams May Come, I think, would make a fantastic ballet.
I wasn't aware of this film, so I looked it up on Google. There are indeed elements that would translate well to the non-verbal world of dance -- possibly even better than something with text. Simplified, it could work and could actually be visually quite beautiful.

Figurante, or others, what kind of ballet language would work best with this, in your estimation?

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Rose LaTulippe has been done, rather a while ago, early 60s, for (I think) Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. I believe that the choreographer was Brian MacDonald.

PS. Doublechecked - It was for Royal Winnipeg. If I recall correctly, they got into a theological bind over whether snow could be used as holy water. They had to go all the way back to St. Augustine of Hippo, but they found out that it could.

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Ha, Ha :) I should have checked if it had been done. Well, at least I know I'm on the right track.

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If I recall correctly, they got into a theological bind over whether snow could be used as holy water. They had to go all the way back to St. Augustine of Hippo, but they found out that it could.

When I think of all the liberties that are taken with religious ritual in fictional works (leaving out the real world...) this concern about accuracy just makes me giggle a bit.

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MacDonald was always a detail man. It's what made me respect him early on. The writing that they found was in Augustine, stating that "Anything in creation put to its proper use is already consecrated. Therefore, ritual surrounding a consecration is an acknowledgement, but not an essential step in its use to sacred employment." One of the proper uses of water, even frozen, is as holy water in baptism or exorcism. Thus, any water will do if you are pressed for time, as in the delivery room baptism of an at-risk preemie.

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War of the Flowers by Tad Williams. The fairy Mafia ( Lord Hollyhock, Lord Larkspur etc) in spider web suits trying to bring down the human world. The music would have to be very special.The attack of the Goblins and the dragons would give great scope.

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What a fascinating thread! I think Charles Perrault's fairy tale "Donkeyskin" would make an interesting ballet. Or is perhaps Jane Austen... "Pride and Prejudice" anybody?

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I've been surprised that no one has tried to do an Austen ballet, considering how popular the books, and movies about the books, have become in the last 15 years or so. Perhaps because of the difficulty of finding a score?

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