Ballet Russes

16 Jun 2009 – 20 Jun 2009

Performances

Sadler's Wells, London

16 Jun 2009 – 20 Jun 2009

PROGRAMME 1

Apollo
The ballet shows the childhood and youth of Apollo, the god of song and music. After Leto gives birth to Apollo, two nymphs unwind his swaddling bands and bring him a lute which he learns to play. Apollo is joined on Mount Olympus, the home of the gods, by three of the muses and he gives each an emblem of her respective art. Calliope, representing poetry and eloquence, receives a tablet on which to write; Polyhymnia, representing mime, a mask; and Terpsichore, the muse of dance, a lyre. Each muse demonstrates her individual art, but only Terpsichore pleases Apollo and returns to dance with him. Throughout the ballet the god matures in skill and understanding and, at the end, is seen leading the muses to their home on Parnassus.

Schéhérazade
Shahryar, the King of India and China, suspects that his wives are unfaithful and decides to test them by departing on a hunting expedition. As soon as the Shah has left the male slaves are released and seduced by the duplicitous
wives. Zobeide, the Shah’s favourite wife, orders the release of the Golden Slave and they lead the riotous and passionate dancing that ensues. But the Shah returns unexpectedly and all the revellers are slaughtered. Shahryar hesitates to kill Zobeide, but preferring death to dishonour she takes her own life with a stolen dagger.

PROGRAMME 2

Les Sylphides
Les Sylphides is poetry in movement; picture-perfect ballerinas flutter across the stage wearing long white winged tutus in Fokine’s homage to the great Romantic ballets. Chopin’s music sets the tone for the calm beauty of this ethereal and graceful ballet. This current production was staged by Alicia Markova and premiered in 1976.

The Rite of Spring
The original production of The Rite of Spring was based on Stravinsky’s vision of “a solemn pagan rite: sage elders, seated in a circle, watched a young girl dance herself to death…sacrificing her to propitiate the god of Spring”. MacMillan invented a totally new vocabulary for his imagining, which marked his foray into modern ballet. Pirouettes, pliés, leaps, turns, lifts and turned out positions, indicative of his classical background were combined with contractions, spine ripples, displaced hips and isolated body parts, movements generally associated with modern dance.

APPEARING IN BOTH PROGRAMMES

Le Spectre de la Rose
A young girl returns home from her first ball carrying a rose. She falls asleep in the armchair in her bedroom and the Spirit of the Rose appears through the open window. In her dream they dance together but as she sinks back into the chair he soars away. The Girl awakes, picks up the rose that has fallen to the floor and recalls her dream... First performed by London Festival Ballet in 1950 at the Stoll Theatre, London, when it was danced by Anita Landa and John Gilpin.

The Dying Swan
The Dying Swan, originally simply The Swan, demands a high standard of technique which is not used to astonish but to create a poetic image – the symbol of the everlasting struggle between life and death. It is a simple evocation of the music, played on harp and cello (suggesting the rippling of water) in Saint-Saëns’s score. The Dying Swan has been included in English National Ballet’s repertoire since 1950 when it was performed by Alicia Markova who was noted for her moving interpretation. Markova learned the choreography from Fokine himself, who, at the end of his life, revised the solo especially for her.

Faun(e)
Internationally acclaimed choreographer David Dawson presents the world premiere of Faun(e), a new reading of Nijinsky’s L’Après-midi d’un Faune.With Dawson‘s sensitive inventiveness Faun(e) is his kinetic response to Debussy’s world famous score that suggests an abstract narrative with a focus on the essence of dance.

Apollo
Choreography: George Balanchine
Music: Igor Stravinsky
Lighting: David Mohr

These performances of Apollo, a Balanchine ® Ballet are presented by arrangement with the George Balanchine Trust and have been produced in accordance with the Balanchine Style ® and Balanchine Technique ® Service standards established and provided by the Trust.

Schéhérazade
Choreography: Michel Fokine
Restaged: Nicholas Beriozoff
Music: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Design: Geoffrey Guy after Léon Bakst

By kind permission of the Fokine Estate-Archive.

Le Spectre de la Rose
Choreography: Michel Fokine
Music: Carl-Maria von Weber
Design: Geoffrey Harman after Léon Bakst

Featuring guest artists from The Australian Ballet.
By kind permission of the Fokine Estate-Archive.

The Dying Swan
Choreography: Michel Fokine
Music: Camille Saint-Saëns
From The Carnival of the Animals
Design: after Léon Bakst

By kind permission of the Fokine Estate-Archive.
Elena Glurdjidze will wear a tutu designed by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.

Faun(e)
Choreography: David Dawson
Music: Claude Debussy
Design and Lighting: David Dawson
Costume Design: Yumiko Takeshima

Les Sylphides
Choreography: Michel Fokine
Staging: Alicia Markova
Music: Frédéric Chopin
Orchestration: Roy Douglas
Sets: Geoffrey Guy after Corot
Costume: after Alexandre Benois
Lighting: David Mohr

By kind permission of the Fokine Estate-Archive.

The Rite of Spring
Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan
Music: Igor Stravinsky
Design: Yolanda Sonnabend

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