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So during this past week two different orchestras decided to present programs where ballet scores was the main course. First I went to the New World Symphony's All-De Falla night, where they played "The Three Cornered Hat"-(El Sombrero de tres picos)-,which was based on the novella by the same title of Pedro Antonio de Alarcon, and was commissioned by Diaghilev for his troupe with choreography by Massine to be presented in 1919. At some point during the performance, a flamenco singer-(a woman)- showed up onstage and sang in Spanish along the orchestra. Interesting, but not really my thing-(never been a huge fan of flamenco).

Then yesterday I went to an All-American music night by the Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra, where they played Gershwin's "Rhapsody in blue"-(:clapping: ) and Copland/Loring's 1938 "Billy de Kid". I'm very curious about this folk-tuned inspired ballet now, so I was wondering if anyone here has seen it by any chance...?

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I'm not sure which ballet you're referring to, The Three-Cornered Hat, or Billy the Kid, but I know I've seen the latter in the early, and very good, Dance in America video, with Ashton's Les Patineurs, danced by ABT and directed by Merrill Brockway. (There is a downside to the Billy part; some one decided to put narration on the sound track so no one would miss the story, which Loring and ABT's dancers tell pretty clearly on their own, but at least the narration is delivered very well by the late, great actor Paul Newman.) I also remember seeing some stage performances, but I mention the video first, because you may see that yourself someday, and it's worth looking for.

Anyway, as I said, the story is told very well in movement terms, not to mention that Copland's score is pretty dramatic too, doing its part of the telling, providing the emotional tone of the scenes, the portentous evocation of the westward progress, the serenity of the wide open spaces, the eery tension in the desert at night erupting into the violence of the gunfight; and the return of the westward surge. The ballet action begins and ends with a kind of procession of characters in one direction (right to left? I'm hazy) across the front of the stage, showing all kinds of people pushing west, reminding the audience of that part of American history, the settling of the continent from east to west, and setting the context for the episodes in the story of Billy.

Copland's recording of the music for RCA seems to me the best, except for the incomprehensible omission of the best number, the hauntingly beautiful waltz. (I certainly hope your concert included that.) There's been a recording by Joseph Levine which includes the Waltz but is generally cruder in execution than Copland's, who, of course, plays the music as though he wrote it.

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Thanks Jack for the wonderful insight. Many years ago there was some talking done by Alonso about staging the ballet for the Cuban company, but apparently the idea went nowhere. During each edition of the Havana Ballet Festival she usually presents a couple of old BT's repertoire pieces-(during the present one it was de Mille's 1934 "Three Virgins and a Devil", plus her more contemporary 1970 "A Rose for Miss Emily").

I would love to see Billy the Kid...

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