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MCB Program IIIScotch Symphony, Promethean Fire, Nine Sinatra Songs

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#31 Jack Reed

Jack Reed

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:53 AM

I did see once - once was enough - a brief solo to Strauss's "Dance of the Seven Veils." Was that the music you dreaded, bart? (I'll let you guess the details, for now.)

But Taper's biography has something on Balanchine's unrealized project:

... One ballet he was keen to make at one time was Salome, with Suzanne Farrell in the title role. He consulted Stravinsky as to suitable music and settled on Alban Berg's "Lulu Suite." At the time, Stravinsky and Robert Craft jested wickedly about Balanchine's motives in regard to his choice of subject. They surmised, wrote Craft in his diary, that his incentive was the awareness that a modern-day Salome would retain none of her veils. That project died when Farrell married in 1969 and left the company. Balanchine revived it in 1977, after her return. A set was designed and actually built for Salome, but the project once more had to be shelved[,] because of budget problems. After that season, what with Balanchine's declining health and other commitments, it was never again considered.

By and large, those projects that failed went unmourned by him. "If only..." had never been a part of his vocabulary. ...

(I've quoted Taper at a little more length than the topic requires because of the resonance that last bit has for me. Does everyone know Farrell's last words in the documentary on her, Elusive Muse? "There are no if-onlys in my life.")

Anyway, I saw that little Strauss Salome because I was in the theater for something else. Bejart's "Ballets of the XXe Century" or something was in New York, and the opener was this piece, with Patrick Dupond in a black kilt or something doing air turns; at the end, someone brought just out of the right wing a silver platter with John's head on it. The thing I was there for was Le Sacre du Printemps, having read Balanchine's praise of it, and I was not disappointed.

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