Historical plots for a ballet?
Posted 14 February 2002 - 02:38 PM
Posted 14 February 2002 - 03:54 PM
It's odd. We love realism -- two hobos fighting in a city dump might make a ballet. But two kings, or presidents, or secretaries of state -- it can't be done. I think it would look awkward to us to see, say, John and Robert Kennedy dancing classical variations while mulling over whether to nuke Cuba (until somebody does it so that it doesn't look awkward, of course).
But why not go back a bit? How about William Wallace? Courage, rape, murder, betrayal -- all by men wearing kilts. (I didn't see Braveheart; my Wallace is Jane Porter's "The Scottish Chiefs.")
Posted 14 February 2002 - 04:07 PM
Posted 14 February 2002 - 04:14 PM
MacMillan did Anastasia (which I've not seen)and Mayerling. I think Mayerling works quite well.
Posted 15 February 2002 - 02:52 AM
[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: Helena ]
Posted 15 February 2002 - 06:53 AM
[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]
Posted 15 February 2002 - 04:16 PM
Posted 15 February 2002 - 04:48 PM
Posted 15 February 2002 - 05:17 PM
[quote] Not that I necessarily want to see one, but that's a nice fat part for a ballerina, or two if you find a way to get Elizabeth I in as well, although the two ladies never met.
One could follow the example of Donizetti and Giuseppe Bardini, his librettist in Maria Stuarda. They simply had the two of them cross paths in the courtyard of a castle. Mary, Queen of Scots, is treated with contempt and disdain by Elizabeth; Mary calls her a "vil bastarda" and a stain on the honor of England. Elizabeth summons the guards and swears to be avenged.
Works beautifully in the opera, would probably do as well on the ballet stage. That it didn't happen can be overlooked if it is effective theater.
Posted 15 February 2002 - 05:18 PM
A Pearl Harbor ballet is best left to the imagination.
[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: Manhattnik ]
Posted 15 February 2002 - 05:20 PM
Posted 16 February 2002 - 05:38 PM
Years after Tallchief's retirement, the ballet was still being talked about. In fact, during Mr. B's final illness, Morton Gould visited him in the hospital and brought a tape of some of the music he'd composed for "The Birds of America." Taper reports, "Balanchine listened and said it was nice. They talked about the ballet a little. Then Balanchine, who was under sedation, fell asleep."
Posted 16 February 2002 - 08:41 PM
Posted 19 February 2002 - 06:33 PM
An obstacle to ballets with historical themes may be that dance, by its nature, tends to make things personal. It's generally agreed that MacMillan's "Mayerling" is successful, but its success lies in its choreographer's vivid dance realization of Rudolf and Vetsera's fatal sex/death equation. The political dimension of Rudolf's problems, not to mention the complex domestic politics of Austria-Hungary, are shortchanged, not because of any lack of skill or comprehension on MacMillan's part, but because these matters are not danceable.
I would imagine that Darrell's Queen of Scots ballet probably emphasized the personal rivalry of Mary and Elizabeth and the failure of Mary's two Scottish marriages, because how would you convey in dance the equivocal positions of, for example, Darnley and Bothwell vis-a-vis the rest of the Scottish nobles? (You could show that Darnley is unpopular and dissolute, yes, and you could show that Bothwell is arrogant. But not much more than that.)
Irrelevant note: Edward II makes an appearance in Braveheart. Gibson shows him and Piers Gaveston making eyes at each other during Edward's marriage ceremony. But have no fear, Macho Mel will come to the aid of the English succession.
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