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Luxury Casting at the Met

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On Friday night I saw the revival of the Met's PARADE Satie-Poulenc-Ravel triple bill with sets and costumes by David Hockney. Dreadful house choreography is used in place of Massine's original for PARADE, not that it was ever used in the first place. Perhaps I shouldn't be so unkind: this interpretation is supposed to evoke the aftermath World War I and does. The staging of Ravel's SPELLBOUND CHILD works well - and is also most moving - with the dancers interpreting the fantastic creatures/objects while the singers sat around the edge of the stage (where no one fell in!).

Damien Woezel danced the role of Harlequin, who is the unifying factor of the three pieces, meaning he got to take a final bow at the evening's end! He more than made the most of the matierial and danced brilliantly. What stage presence.

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Dear Patricia-- this is fascinating but I'm confused...... is hte met a ballet company ? Is this ABT's doing?

WHo choreographed it? ANd why in the world did they use new sets and costumes by Hockney when Picasso's originals are such works of art?

WOetzel is a wizard, for sure -- but I want to know, what did the ballet look like?


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PARADE premiered at the Metropolitan Opera during the 1981-82 season. It is considered landmark staging in the company's history because few 20th century operas had been performed at the 'new' Met and it had been a long time since a visual artist with a reputation like David Hockney's was invited to work there. Manuel Rosenthal, who worked directly with Satie, Poulenc, and Ravel, made his Met debut. Gary Chryst was the original Harlequin. At that time PARADE was an automatic sell-out. Now, I guess, since none of the 3 tenors sing it and Zefarelli didn't design it, there is far less interest.

Gray Veredon choreographed the PARADE ballet and incidental dances in the two operas. The Met has a full-time corps and no affliliation with ABT. (The opera season ends of May 11th). The Harlequin character is the lead fiqure in the ballet and he opens and closes the other two operas. This PARADE has commedia characters encountering elegant Parisians, jugglers and chorus girls. At one point most of the cast turns into an advancing army wearing World War I gasmasks. Damian did a lot of partnering, mock stage-fighting, and jumping. The dancing consistedof waltzing, high stepping, marching and acrobatic ballet 'tricks.' The 'theme' seems to be that life and survive destruction - a concept which works better than the choreography. .

I don't know if the Met was unable to obtain rights to Massine's choreography or Picasso's set design. Perhaps they wanted to create something new. Maybe they wanted to give their dancers something more to do than usual.

David Hockney certainly pays homage to the ballet's creators: one PARADE character is a Conjurer (wearing a replica of the famous costume) and there is a two-person horse (their duet is not danced in silence).

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