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Melissa

Ondine

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I'm wondering if Ashton's 'Ondine' remained in the Royal Ballet's repertoire after Margot Fonteyn retired and, if so, who danced the title role.

Also, does anyone know who wrote the score?

Thanks :)

Melissa

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Hi Melissa -

I should look this up in a reference, but from memory, the score is by Henze and I know that Ondine was revived in the late 1980's - I saw it in London in 1988 with Cynthia Harvey in the lead, guesting from ABT - the ballet was revived on Maria Almeida and Johnathan Cope, I think.

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To add to Leigh's insights:

The Royal re-revived it in summer 1999, with Sarah Wildor as one of the Ondines. The good news is that the ballet is in "recent-active" repertoire.

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i was under the impression that during a very brief period with the royal ballet, the role was danced by trinidad sevillano.

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And during a recent Ashton conference, several excerpts were danced by Tamara Rojo.

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There is an article in Dance Now by Jane Simpson (who posts regularly on ballet.co and more than occasionally here) about "Ondine," much of it taken from a reading of Henze's diary when he was doing the music. I haven't gotten my copy yet and have only been given a precise from a British friend, but I can't wait to read it. It's a revision of the usual view of "Ondine," I'm told (which is that once again, Ashton was making an old-fashioned ballet instead of a wonderfully exciting modern one, and the score was too modern for it). Well, turn that around. Ashton was taking a myth -- which are supposed to be timeless -- and using a contemporary score. Exactly what Petipa did for Swan Lake, one might say. The designs were old-fashioned.

Of course, I'd hate to suggest that the Royal commission new designs for it, remembering the Crooked Sleeping Beauty :)

Anyway, if you live in a major city, you should be able to buy Dance Now -- a quarterly put out by David Leonard that is VERY well worth reading. It covers both contemporary dance and ballet, has features and reviews, centered in London, but has an eye on the rest of the world as well.

There is a condensed version of the ballet on video with Fonteyn and Somes, and a slightly-too-old Alexander Grant as Tirrenio. I believe it's on the "Evening with the Royal Ballet" from 1956, with "Swan Lake Act II" and "The Firebird."

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Just a couple of points, for the record: Dowell danced Palemon himself, with Maria Almeida, when the ballet was revived in 1988; and the role Sevillano danced in her brief visit to the RB was Chloe, not Ondine - what a lovely thought, though!

In the performances in the last 2 seasons, the title role has been danced by Durante, Wildor, Rojo and Yoshida.

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...There's a very comprehensive (and very expensive) double CD available with I believe most if not all of the music (it is by German composer Henze, that's true). I couldn't resist to buy it after two overwhelming performances on one day (both danced by Sarah Wildor, due to injury of Miyako Yoshida), but it's the kind of music I still find difficult to listen to without watching the ballet....

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