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Stories that should be a BalletHere is your chance to be creative!


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#106 bart

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 11:39 AM

I'm also intrigued by some of your suggestions, miliosr, and would love to hear more.

(1)Is that the George Melachrino of the Melachrino strings? I don't associate their sound with fado. What was the Lisbon album like?

(2) The 2 Empresses. There was certainly quite a bit of conflict between these 2 women, but it was often expressed in exceedingly trivial ways (arguments over jewelry, precedence, child-rearing, etc.). Neither woman, it seems to me, has the qualities (intelligence, political passion, intense involvement in the larger world, a way of fascinating and either enslaving or being enslaved by men) that make Elizabeth and Mary so fascinating. Other than the sad demise of Alexandra and her immediate family at the end, and possibly the opportunity for gorgeous costuming, I'm having a hard time thinking of what a dance piece centering on their relationship would be like. What situations should be included? (Second thought: now Rasputin and Alexandra might make an interesting story. Sleazy and pathetic, imo, but interesting. Something for MacMillan in his Mayerling mode?)

If we are looking for a mother-in-law ballet, one suggestion might be the relationship of Eleanor Roosevelt and her mother-in-law, Sara Delano Roosevelt. There at least, one would have the advantage of two strong, interesting, pollitically aware women on stage. They would, of course, have to look and MOVE differently from the originals. One could also argue that Franklin Roosevelt was more worth fighting over than the frequently clueless Nicholas II.

If Tudor were alive and still working in his Pillar of Fire mode, I'd offer the job to him.

#107 miliosr

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 11:47 AM

Thanks for reviving this thread, miliosr. I like your Sketches of Spain idea. Who to choreograph?


I don't know who would be up to the task of choreographing it. I would like the Corella Ballet to stage it as something unique to them (rather than becoming just another international company with the same old same old repertory.)

I'm also intrigued by some of your suggestions, miliosr, and would love to hear more.

(1)Is that the George Melachrino of the Melachrino strings? I don't associate their sound with fado. What was the Lisbon album like?


Yes. The music is like easy listening fado. Truth be told, I bought the CD because I thought the title was so evocative -- Lisbon at Twilight. Maybe the National Ballet of Portugal could do it (although they seem to be morphing into a contemporary company of the worst kind.)

(2) The 2 Empresses. There was certainly quite a bit of conflict between these 2 women, but it was often expressed in exceedingly trivial ways (arguments over jewelry, precedence, child-rearing, etc.). Neither woman, it seems to me, has the qualities (intelligence, political passion, intense involvement in the larger world, a way of fascinating and either enslaving or being enslaved by men) that make Elizabeth and Mary so fascinating. Other than the sad demise of Alexandra and her immediate family at the end, and possibly the opportunity for gorgeous costuming, I'm having a hard time thinking of what a dance piece centering on their relationship would be like. What situations should be included?


Oh, I would disagree with your assessment. The Dowager Empress, in particular, had a shrewd intelligence regarding the Russian empire and the Romanov dynasty. While the conflict between Marie ("Minny") and Alexandra ("Alix") was waged in superficially trivial ways, the nature of the conflict -- control over Nicholas II and, by extension, government policy -- was deadly serious. During the period 1894-1917, two courts emerged in Russia -- the (much) larger one centered around the outgoing and popular Dowager Empress and the smaller, reclusive one centered around Alexandra, Nicholas and the hemophiliac tsarevitch Alexei. Nicholas followed his wife's advice intstead of his mother's and we all know what the result of that was.

Now, I'm not quite sure how you depict all of this in a dance. The Graham Episodes springs immediately to mind as does the court dance of Limon's The Moor's Pavane . . .

#108 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 04:39 PM

And speaking of Empresses, I've always thought that incidents from the life of the Dowager Empress Cixi of China could make a good ballet plot, whether you think of her as a villianess or a heroine.

#109 bart

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 05:12 PM

miliosr, I agree that a ballet be made from the story of the 2 empresses, no matter what one things about them as characters or historical figures.

Certain royal biographers have been more sympathetic to Marie Feodorovna, and even to Alexandra, than have other historians of the period. I don't doubt that there is an audience for their story. (There certainly was for Mayerling.) I just doubt its value or inherent dramatic interest. As a lover of Moor's Pavane, I just can't put these particular Romanovs in the same league as Othello, Desdemona, Iago, and even Emilia.

#110 Rosa

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 04:01 PM

Phantom of the Opera, the story of Queen Esther, and the myth of Cupid (Eros) and Psyche would make interesting ballets I think.

#111 Agnes...

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 11:53 PM

Chicago .
murder, prison, trial ...
In my opinion a trial is a theatre...

#112 4mrdncr

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 10:53 PM

If Angel Corella is looking for new ballets for his company, then he should consider hiring someone to stage Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra.

Maybe 4rmrdncr can pass the idea on to Corella!

Some rewriting would be necessary, however, to fit the value and sensibilities of modern Spain and its (once again) large Muslim community.



If any BT'ers are coming to see the company perform in NYC at City Center March 17-20, or attending Angel's March 15 interview/demo with Damian Woetzel, you'll have your chance to tell him. Of course, I'll be present too, and hopefully showing excerpts from my film. (Sorry, but dire economic necessity caused several delays in my ability to work on the film last year and consequently finish it in time for these performances. And how ironic that is, I certainly know.)

#113 Joseph

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 01:02 AM

Great Expectations

#114 dirac

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 03:59 PM

Interesting idea, Joseph, although I foresee some problems with exposition - there's an awful lot of backstory in Dickens' plot.

Thanks for reviving this thread, Rosa.

#115 Marcmomus

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:57 AM

I have the impression that more operas could be turned into ballets. I have a few but there's scope for more. The music is available and is often excellent. Petit did 'La Chauve-souris' based on Strauss' 'Die Fledermaus'. Matthew Bourne used the music of Carmen for his 'The Car Man.' Neumeier choreographed 'La Dame aux Camelias' -on which La Traviata- was based using Chopin's music. Others include MacMillan's Manon, and Ronald Hynd's Merry Widow. I accept that ballets of operas might scare many people off, by doubling or squaring elitism.

#116 4mrdncr

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:26 PM

Thanks for reviving this thread, miliosr. I like your Sketches of Spain idea. Who to choreograph?


I don't know who would be up to the task of choreographing it. I would like the Corella Ballet to stage it as something unique to them (rather than becoming just another international company with the same old same old repertory.)



The purpose of Corella Ballet, (besides the primary one of providing a classical company in Spain so Spanish ballet dancers aren't forced to emigrate to find a job--eg. at last count it was over 260), is to perform full-length classical ballets in Spain. Remember, for 20 years, there was no classical company in Spain. It was also very expensive for Spanish theatres to import foreign companies, or the larger, more technically proficient, professional companies. So, general Spanish audiences have had a very limited exposure to the "same ol', same ol'" classics and high calibre classical dancers that are SO familiar to us. (Of course I realize this was not so in the larger cities--but even Barcelona has always supported more modern and contemporary dance. Until, Angel has shown them otherwise.) So, although CB, like most international companies today, performs a mix of classical and contemporary repertoire, it is focused on classical works, thereby giving Spanish dancers opportunities they've never had. (BTW:All of the above info is in my doc)

RE: original topic of this thread: I always thought Tristan & Isolde would work. There's all that Wagner music, or "Tintagel Suite" by ...? (sorry can't remember composer), and I think somebody at the RB did do a ballet called "Tintagel" but I think it was more about King Arthur?

#117 innopac

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 08:46 PM

There's a new book out from Yale Univ. Press: Douglas Smith's The Pearl: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great's Russia.

The "Pearl" is Praskovya Kovalyova, a young woman born into serfdom who rose to become the star of a nobleman's private serf theater, singing leads in operas and performing in a variety of theatrical works.

Count Nicholas Sheremetv, her owner, had on his estate what was certainly the largest private theater in Russia. It was designed by one of the men responsible for the Royal Opera at Versailles, so you can get an idea of the scale of "private theaters" at that time.

Sheremetev was unmarried but known for his many mistresses and his willingness to exercise droit de seigneur with his prettier serfs. He fell in love with Praskovya, freed her, and wed her secretly. When she became pregnant he confessed the marriage to the Tsar. She died in childbirth, but her child -- a son -- was legitimized. The Count spent the rest of his life worshipping her memory.

Thanks for mentioning this book, Bart. I am enjoying it. There is a podcast of the author discussing The Pearl at the Seattle Public Library linked to from his website.

#118 keguri

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 06:43 AM

I would love to see a ballet of Heinrich von Kleist's "Penthesilea." Kleist's concept of drama was, in certain ways, profoundly balletic, and "Penthesilea" itself was first performed as a pantomime. Penthesilea is the queen of a tribe of Amazons who, in order to replenish their population, capture great warriors, and, celebrating an orgiastic "rose festival," use them to become pregnant. Penthesilea and her women attack the Greek heroes as they fight against the Trojans, and she and Achilles fall in love with each other at first sight. He captures her, pretends that he is her prisoner, but then tells her the truth. She becomes distraught. After she is rescued, Achilles challenges her to a duel, intending to allow himself to be capture. He thinks this is the only way that their love can be consummated. She, however, misunderstanding his intentions, and consumed with rage, tears him to pieces, and then takes her own life.

#119 papeetepatrick

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 07:29 AM

RE: original topic of this thread: I always thought Tristan & Isolde would work. There's all that Wagner music, or "Tintagel Suite" by ...? (sorry can't remember composer), and I think somebody at the RB did do a ballet called "Tintagel" but I think it was more about King Arthur?


Just spotted this. Never thought of it, but by George, I think it would! But the Wagner music has to be properly treated, none of that horror we heard of hodgepodges of Liszt in 'Mayerling', including that prestissimo Mephisto Waltz: That would have been fine for Mighty Mouse cartoons. Plus, I like very much the idea of an Isolde who is considerably more svelte than Birgit (I know, I know, she's not the only one, but I can't get her out of my mind.)

But this opens the possibility of a lot of operas that might be excellent as ballets in themselves, possibly even including something that is developed from ballets already within operas that could be made into fully autonomous pieces (but that runs into difficulties, since the big ones are often for spectacle..) Of Wagner, 'Flying Dutchman' also comes to mind, but I don't much like the idea of that music being arranged, that glorious overture, Senta's aria which follows the spinning girls' delightful song. Maybe not, but Tristan und Isolde--brilliant if someone can figure out how to do it.

#120 Mel Johnson

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 08:54 AM

RE: original topic of this thread: I always thought Tristan & Isolde would work. There's all that Wagner music, or "Tintagel Suite" by ...? (sorry can't remember composer), and I think somebody at the RB did do a ballet called "Tintagel" but I think it was more about King Arthur?


Someone at RB DID do a Tintagel ballet - Ashton. Only thing, he didn't do it for RB, he did it for NYCB. Music was by Sir Arnold Bax, and included several short works including "The Garden of Fand". The title was "Picnic at Tintagel" and it is a lost Ashton. They tried to put it back together again, but nobody could remember it sufficiently.


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