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Jane Simpson

Mayerling - the first one

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It's perhaps not very widely known that Peter Darrell made a ballet about the Mayerling affair for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1963, 15 years before MacMillan's version. All I can discover about it is that the music was by Faure and it lasted about forty minutes. There's a list of the cast on the site devoted to Darrell, but no indication of which characters they were playing.

Does anyone by any chance remember the ballet, or even have a programme which would give some clues? I'm just curious to know how it was done!

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Hello Jane; I'm going to talk to one of the original cast members a bit later, anything special you'd like to ask about it or should I just invite her recollections?

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I'd love to hear anything, but I was particularly wondering if it was a straightforward narrative or done by flashbacks or something even less structured. Thank you anyway!

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Hi, I've had an email from Donna-Day Washington, here is the text; she had some trouble registering? Anyway, she wrote thus:

".....they will not accept my email address! I have tried a few times.

So I will tell you about Mayerling, and you can pass it on.

It was told as a straight narrative but as I remember, it was not very straight forward.There were many scene changes and lots of props and I think the audience found it a bit hard to follow. I (Donna-Day Washington)played the part of Mary Vetsera, the prince's lover and I loved performing the ballet. The music (Faure) was so inspiring, and Peter Darrell, who was a dream to work with, choreographed the most beautiful pas de deuxs for Richard Rutherford and I. The ballet had only two performances, in Winnipeg,which was a pity, but the pas de deux was danced on tour by Richard and I."

She adds: If there is anything else anyone wants to know, I'd be happy to help.

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