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Balanchine Through The Eyes of a Poodle

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From the memoirs of Miss Fifi Monteux, of the family of Pierre and Doris Monteux, entitled "Everyone is Someone" (Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1962) (no kidding!)


"...I was visiting incognito at the Met, and Maitre was rehearsing the Gluck opera, Orpheus and Eurydice. He wanted a large chorus on the stage, but the Ballet Master and Mr. Bing wanted the chorus in the orchestra pit. This would have left very little room for the orchestra.

I roused myself from a snooze in which I had been indulging by Madame Doris' chair just in time to hear the Maestro say, "It is the music which counts for me, not the ballet."

The Ballet Master, piqued by this remark, answered heatedly, "Then the work should be given in Carnegie Hall!"

Maitre became very angry indeed. He said in a decisive tone, "And that is where I am going. Goodbye, gentlemen!" and out he went. He walked straight out of the Opera House to Seventh Avenue, and was about to hail a taxi when he was deterred by the fact that all his artistic opponents ran after him, and begged him to return. At the performances of Gluck's great opera, the chorus sang on the stage, and the clever Ballet Master arranged his ballet to suit the space, and the fine Metropolitan Opera Orchestra sang forth full and strong from the pit, whetre the players had ample space to give of their best, which they always did for the Maestro."

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