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"Ballet and Opera in the Age of Giselle"

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Alexandra mentioned this book in a comment on the Maryinsky historical revivals -- it sounds like a fascinating scholarly study, that details (among other things) just what parts of the Giselle that we know were in the very first versions....

I think many of us would like to know more about this, and also about this book.... who is the author? Do you have any links to reviews? What other ballets are discussed?

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This has been on the top of my To Read list for a year -- I've just skimmed it. It's not JUST about Giselle, although that is the ballet discussed in the most detail. The author if an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Oregon; that's all the jacket tells us about her.

So not surprisingly, the book is rooted in a study of the music, and a comparison of ballet and opera structure. In my 15 minute skim of the book, I noted she said the main difference between the production of 1840 and those of today was that the original was 50 PERCENT "nondancing scenes" most of which have been cut in the succeeding years. And notes that if you listen to the score and follow the libretto, you'll hear the mime in the music.

It's not focused on the technique, but more the drama. I hope to get to it by May.....

[i'm going to move this thread into the Books forum, so that perhaps people who don't regularly visit Paris will see it.]

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Thanks, Mel....

wow, the first version of Giselle was only half dancing, the ohter half ws pantomime....

here's a quote from a review for anybody that's interested....

[The author] moves on to a wide range of topics, including the relationship between the gestures of the singers and the movements of the dancers, and the distinction between dance that represents dancing (entertainment staged within the story of the opera) and dance that represents action. Smith maintains that ballet-pantomime and opera continued to rely on each other well into the nineteenth century, even as they thrived independently. The "divorce" between the two arts occurred little by little, and may be traced through unlikely sources: controversies in the press about the changing nature of ballet-pantomime music, shifting ideas about originality, complaints about the ridiculousness of pantomime, and a little-known rehearsal score for Giselle.

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