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Ballets based on Ibsen -- are there any?

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I'm familiar with Brigit Culberg's ballet based on Strindberg's Miss Julie -- but are there any ballets based on the plays of Henrik Ibsen?

I just saw a quite good production of Doll's House and was amazed about how gripping and moving this familiar story can be. Nora is a great role for a charismatic actress. (The last time I saw it was in the early 70s when both Claire Bloom and Liv Ullman had productions on Broadway and Jane Fonda starred in a film.) So why not a ballerina? The play has a small cast of beautifully defined characters (all of them important to the action), dramatic situation, and significant character development. There's even a tarantella that is central to the development.

Has anyone done Doll's House? Or Hedda Gabler? Or Ghosts? (These seem the plays most suited to dance.)

If you know of any such ballets -- DETAILS PLEASE! :wink:

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For the San Francisco Ballet 75th Anniversary New Works Festival, Val Caniparoli made 'Ibsen's House', which deals with five of the heroines and the men in their lives. It's not about specifics, more about the emotions these people experience in their dealings with each other. SFB doesn't have a reportory index (come on guys!) so I can't give you any links to information about it. When I get home from work, I'll look it up in my program books and provide more details.

Here's a link to Alastair Macaulay's review:

...Mr. Caniparoli’s “Ibsen’s House” tells us which five Ibsen heroines he’s bringing together and which five male Ibsen characters he has them dancing with. This works best if you have never seen, or at least admired, any of the Ibsen plays in question. All five women wore stiff and seemingly corseted calf-length dresses that might be made of bombazine; the men wore frock coats in charcoal gray. You can’t miss that this is a ballet about the repression of women in Victorian times, that the men are both repressed and repressive, and that nobody is ever happy.
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Extracts from the San Francisco Ballet's 2009 program book regarding Ibsen's House, which was premiered in 2008 at the 75th Anniversary New Works Festival:

...choreographer Val Caniparoli knew that he wanted to create a tour de force for five women, so he mined strong female characters from five of the Nordic playwright's works.
Caniparoli says: "I'm not telling any story...I'm trying to take the essence from the plays...you can sense five women, five different relationships, and their predicaments."

Here are the plays and characters:

Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler/George Tesman

A Doll's House

Nora and Torvald Helmer


Mrs. Alving/Oswald

Lady from the Sea

Ellida Wanger/The Stranger


Rebecca West/John Rosmer

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Thanks for the replies. I assumed that there would be something for Peer Gynt, which already had Grieg's music. But I did was interested to see that Neumeier's version, which I've never seen or read about, has a score by someone else.

Grieg's music (an hour and a half of it) was intended to be "incidental" the play. Later, some was gathered in a couple of suites which were frequently programmed when I was young. I guess most people have heard the Hall of the Mountain King and Solveig's Song. I wonder which music Zurich Ballet used? Theater directors -- Robert Wilson, for example, for a production in Norway and later at the Brooklyn Academy of Music -- combined Grieg (as background music, I gather) with an elaborate structure of technical effects. But ... is Grieg really danceable, over an entire evening at least?

Google led me to an earlier thread on Ballet Talk which has further information on Peer Gynt:


Thank you, PeggyR, for the information about Caniparoli's piece. I suppose he would HAVE to reduce the character differences among the women, since few in an American audience would have had Rosmersholm, Ghosts, or Lady from the Sea as part of their cultural memory.

Caniparoli seems to have dealt with the relative obscurity (to Americans) of his characters by reducing them to a just a few typical gestures. According to Macaulay:

Mr. Caniparoli tries to sum up each woman with one or two characteristic gestures; if Nora from “A Doll’s House” had smoothed her hair or pressed her hands to her skirt any more, you’d have thought it would be her husband, Torvald, who’d walk out of the marriage, not she.

But I still became confused as to which character was which. I stupidly assumed that the third woman, Mrs. Alving in “Ghosts,” was dancing with Pastor Manders, when I should have guessed (those giveaway high extensions from under the frock coat) that he was her scarcely repressed son, Oswald.

Likewise, I assumed that Ellida Wangel (my favorite Ibsen heroine, from “Lady From the Sea,” identifiable here by her flowing hair) was dancing with her husband and not (my fault again) the Stranger; and with Hedda Gabler showing quite some interest in her male partner, I assumed (wrong again!) that he was not her husband, George Tesman, but her ex-lover Ejlert Lövborg. Perhaps it was for the best that I am not well acquainted with “Rosmersholm,” though it was hard to tell what kind of angst this Rebecca West was having with this John Rosmer.

It's a shame to lose the story. The stories of Nora and Hedda ARE known by many culturally aware people --even by many who have not seen the plays. These works have strong characters and broad social and psychological significance. They also have a simplicity and clarity of structure that would be very helpful to a potential choreographer.

Caniparoli -- whose early Lady of the Flowers I HAVE seen -- is (or used to be) very good at conveying story and character on stage. Maybe, now that he has tried to "take the essence" of so many characaters, he WILL settle down to tell the story of a single play.

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And here's Leigh Witchel, describing a SF Ballet performance of Ibsen's House for the Fall 2009 Ballet Review:

It takes more than a single viewing of Ibsen't House to get past its intellectual flaws and watch the dancers salvage it with their performances. The Ibsen characters are not at all well served but at least the dancers are. [Lorena] Feijoo commanded the stage as Hedda Gabler; she was predatory and sensual as she whipped through turns, [Clara] Blanco had quicksilver brilliance as Nora from A Doll's House, but her desperation was painted with a broad brush: a sketchy rejection as she passed Luke Willis and that was that. After five duets, all the couples still looked alike. In the men's section Caniparoli boiled together an Ibsen porridge.
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