• Memoirs
      March 2012

      Dancing Through History

      In Search of the Stories That Define Canada

      by Lori Henry

      In Dancing Through History, Henry crosses Canada's vast physical and ethnic terrain to uncover how its various cultures have evolved through their dances. Her coast-to-coast journey takes her to Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, where she witnesses the seldom seen animist dances of the islands' First Nation people. In the Arctic, Henry partakes in Inuit drum dancing, kept alive by a new generation of Nunavut youth. And in CapeBreton, she uncovers the ancient "step dance" of the once culturally oppressed Gaels of Nova Scotia. During her travels, Henry discovers that dance helps to break down barriers and encourage cooperation between people with a history of injustice. Dance, she finds, can provide key insight into what people value most as a culture, which is often more similar than it seems. It is this kind of understanding that goes beyond our divisive histories and gives us compassion for one another. Unique to this book, Dancing Through History includes first person interviews with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (Canada's Aboriginal groups) talking about their traditions and the effect colonisation has had on them, all through the lens of dance. Their voices are given ample space to speak for themselves – what is revealed is a beautiful worldview and many lessons to be learned in order to have a healthy planet and tolerant people as we move into the future. Book Details: This is an adult non-fiction book of Canadian content. The target market is curious travellers and those interested in culture beyond the typical tourist traps. Sales have ranged from junior high schools to retired baby boomers. Interested publishers can make an offer directly on the profile page to buy available rights.

    • History
      April 2017

      Dancing in the English style

      Consumption, Americanisation, and national identity in Britain, 1918–50

      by Allison Abra. Series edited by Jeffrey Richards

      Dancing in the English style explores the development, experience, and cultural representation of popular dance in Britain from the end of the First World War to the early 1950s. It describes the rise of modern ballroom dancing as Britain's predominant popular style, as well as the opening of hundreds of affordable dancing schools and purpose-built dance halls. It focuses in particular on the relationship between the dance profession and dance hall industry and the consumers who formed the dancing public. Together these groups negotiated the creation of a 'national' dancing style, which constructed, circulated, and commodified ideas about national identity. At the same time, the book emphasizes the global, exploring the impact of international cultural products on national identity construction, the complexities of Americanisation, and Britain's place in a transnational system of production and consumption that forged the dances of the Jazz Age.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      April 2017

      Dancing in the English style

      Consumption, Americanisation and national identity in Britain, 1918–50

      by Allison Abra, Jeffrey Richards

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      April 2017

      Dancing in the English style

      Consumption, Americanisation and national identity in Britain, 1918–50

      by Allison Abra, Jeffrey Richards

    • The Arts
      November 2016

      Dance and politics

      Moving beyond boundaries

      by Dana Mills

      This book examines the political power of dance, particularly its transgressive potential. Focusing on readings of dance pioneers Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, Gumboots dancers in the gold mines of South Africa, the One Billion Rising movement, dabke in Palestine and dance as a protest against human rights abuse in Israel, it explores moments in which the form succeeds in transgressing politics as articulated in words. Close readings and critical analysis grounded in radical democratic theory combine to show how reading political dance as 'interruption' can unsettle conceptions of both politics and dance.

    • Religious subjects depicted in art
      May 2014

      Voyages of Body and Soul

      Selected Female Icons of India and Beyond

      by Editor(s): Ketu H. Katrak, Anita R. Ratnam

      Voyages of Body and Soul: Selected Female Icons of India and Beyond includes scholarly essays and performance/choreographic notes from a diverse range of contributors on the themes of “Mad and Divine: India’s Female Saint-Poets” and “Epic Women of India and Beyond.” The contributors explore the tendency of patriarchal societies to label exceptional saint-poets yearning for the divine as “mad” because of their resistance to normative and acceptable female behavior. Scholars and performers journey across history, with discussions ranging from the 8th century Tamil mystic poet Andal’s divine poetry, to the 16th century saint-poet Meerabai, to figures across the Indian subcontinent, including Kashmir’s Lalleshwari and Maharashtra’s Janabai, who, as a low caste member, joined the sacred path partly to escape caste oppression.The definition of “epic women” in this volume is multi-faceted: from looking at commonly accepted epic figures, such as the iconic Sita from The Ramayana, to examining epic women in politics, to probing dark women with passions of epic proportions, to legendary teachers of the classical dance style of bharatanatyam, to women with monumental courage and creativity across historical time-periods and geographical locations – Ancient Greece, Ancient India, 20th century Mexico, and Myanmar.Voyages of Body and Soul recognizes creative and courageous female saint-poets, and outspoken women in ancient epics and in contemporary times who follow their chosen paths with deep devotion. Their lives and works are models for the human community in the 21st century.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      May 2013

      Romualdo Marenco

      Excelsior and Sport

      by Author(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier

      Excelsior, an extraordinary spectacular ballet in 6 parts and 11 scenes by Luigi Manzotti, with music by Romualdo Marenco, was premiered on 11 January 1881 at La Scala Milan. This unique and remarkable allegorical work depicts the rise of human civilization, and the stormy progress of technical development. This scenario is envisioned as an embittered struggle between the Spirits of Light and Darkness, and their more human personifications as Civilization (or Progress) and Obscurantism. The invention of the steam ship, the iron bridge, electricity, telegraphy, the building of the Suez Canal and the Mont Cenis Tunnel see the Spirit of Darkness admitting defeat. A Grand Festival of the nations of the world in harmony is celebrated with an apotheosis of light and peace.The ballet enjoyed immense popularity and was constantly revived all over Europe. After its Vienna premiere in 1885, it remained in the repertory for 29 years, receiving 329 performances. Modern revivals have been by Ugo dell’Ara for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in 1967, at La Scala di Milano in 1974, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in 1990, and at the Teatro Degli Arcimboldi Milano in 2002.Sport premiered at La Scala, Milan on 10 February 1897. This was the third and last of Manzotti’s grand positivist trilogy which started with, and found its apotheosis in, Excelsior. As modern and spectacular as the other two, Sport was intended as a celebration of every kind of athletic activity, especially in the enthusiastic aftermath of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens on 11 April 1896. Although the scenario concerned the eternal triangle, it was only an excuse for displays of skill by soloists and stupendous ensembles for the corps de ballet, whose costumes were very daring for that period. Sport has been seen as the ancestor of the precision manoeuvres of the Hoffmann Girls, and even as an influence on Fokine’s geometric groupings and on the styles of Golejzovsky, Nijinska, Balanchine and Lifar. The popularity of the work was enormous (46 performances in the first season), and was equally successful when revived in 1905 and 1906 under the direction of Achille Copini.Romualdo Marenco (1841–1907) was involved with music from an early age, and began his professional life as violinist and second bassoonist at the Teatro Andea Doria in Genoa. His career as a composer was also launched at this theatre with the music for the ballet Lo sbarco di Garibaldi a Marsala. For a while he became principal violinist in various orchestras before being appointed deputy concert leader and director of ballet music at La Scala Milan, a position he held for seven seasons. Marenco worked with dance masters like Ferdinando and Giovanni Pratesi. But most significantly it was during this period that he met the famous choreographer Luigi Manzotti. He began a musical collaboration with Manzotti that was to bring them both great fame.Luigi Manzotti (1835–1905) was very successful in Rome as a mime artist, and choreographed his first ballet in 1858 (Le Morte di Masaniello). Even in his early works his special gifts for spectacular effects became apparent, as in Cleopatra and Pietro Micca. He went to Milan in 1872, where he found his true metier in collaboration with Romualdo Marenco. Manzotti surpassed his Roman successes, first with Sieba, ossia La spada di Wodan (Turin 1878), but most famously with the positivist trilogy Excelsior (Milan 1881), Amor (Milan 1886) and Sport (Milan 1897).Manzotti was the master of the ballo grande which used historical and allegorical subjects treated with great seriousness for their deeper social and symbolic significance, and employing huge casts and elaborate mise en scène to create an overwhelming spectacle. His ballets were devised as a series of related episodes expressed in mime with simple but effectively devised large ensembles by dancers, and processions with trained supernumeraries.Marenco’s music has been dismissed as a medley of polkas and military band music, yet it was spread all over the world by the success of Excelsior: always carefully moulded to the choreographic action, it is well-written, with melodic verve, formal invention, and an overwhelming sense of rhythmic dynamism. The music is fast-moving and vivacious, rarely sentimental, and often induces a torrential sense of exhilaration.The enduring success of Excelsior, the only full-length Italian ballet to survive from the 19th century, is a tribute to Manzotti’s artistic vision and Marenco’s musical imagination.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      May 2012

      Cesare Pugni

      Music from Five Ballets Ondine Esmeralda Pas de Quatre Catarina, ou La Fille du bandit Théolinda, ou Le Lutin de la vallée

      by Editor(s): Edited and Introduced by Robert Ignatius Letellier

      Cesare Pugni (1802–70) made his debut as a composer at La Scala in 1826 with the opera Elerz e Zulmida. In the 1840s he worked closely with the choreographer Jules Perrot (1810–92) in Paris and in London, creating some of the most renowned ballets of the 19th century, a number of which still find their place in some modern repertories. Pugni later followed Perrot to St Petersburg, and became official composer of the Imperial Russian theatres. Some of his earlier ballets were transferred to St Petersburg, and he also composed many new works for that city.Along with Perrot, Pugni also worked with Arthur Saint-Léon (1821–70), Paolo Taglioni (1808–84), Marius Petipa (1818–1910), and some of the greatest dancers of the century. His most famous collaboration, with Marius Petipa, lasted until the composer’s death on 26 January 1870. Pugni was extremely prolific, composing more than 300 ballets, a dozen operas, over 40 masses, other polyphonic works and a few symphonies. He was very popular with the public, who were delighted by his direct uncomplicated style, with its attractive melodies and infectious rhythms.Ondine, choreographed and danced by Perrot and Fanny Cerrito, was premiered at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1845. It is a variant on the famous water nymph story Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. The ballet became famous for the conception of the generic scene type of the Pas de l’Ombre, where the nymph sees her own shadow in the moonlight for the first time and tries to catch it. The ballet was praised for its magnificent décor and for Pugni’s score: “. . . the musical accompaniment which describes the rise and fall of the waves is eminently characteristic and beautiful: the very ripple of the flow, and the rushing sound of the ebb over the pebbly strand, are heard and fully satisfy the ear”.Esmeralda, choreographed by Perrot and premiered with Perrot, Carlotta Grisi and Saint-Léon in the principal roles, was first performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London in 1844. The ballet is based on the story of Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris. It was reasonably successful, and Grisi was pronounced the perfect personification of the gypsy girl Esmeralda. The ballet later became immensely popular in Russia; Fanny Elssler enjoyed one of her biggest triumphs in the title role. Pugni’s music successfully evokes an atmosphere of Medieval Paris, the changing moods of the story, and the delicate vulnerability of the heroine. For Petipa’s production of 1888, Riccardo Drigo was asked to compose several new numbers, including the Esmeralda Pas de Deux and the Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux, which became very popular in their own right.The Pas de quatre was a divertissement choreographed by Perrot for four of the leading ballerinas of the time, and premiered at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1845. Created by Marie Taglioni, Carlotta Grisi, Fanny Cerrito and Lucile Grahn, this plotless ballet epitomizes the Romantic cult of the ballerina. Pugni’s variations were exquisitely tailored to the character and particular skills of each of the illustrious protagonists. There were four performances of the Pas de quatre with the original dancers, and there have been many revivals, starting in 1847 (when the part created by Grahn was given to Carolina Rosati), and continuing through to later reconstructions in the 20th century.Catarina, ou La Fille du bandit was choreographed by Perrot, with the principal roles created by Lucile Grahn, Perrot and Louis Gosselin. It was first performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1846. The plot revolves around the love of the painter Salvator Rosa for Catarina, a bandit chief. The ballet grew in popularity due to the fascination and humanity of the unconventional characters from an original story based on the artist’s life, and the incomparable elegance of its mass movements. Founded on the contrast between feminine grace and military precision, this work was one of the greatest triumphs of both Lucile Grahn and Fanny Elssler.Théolinda, ou Le Lutin de la vallée, an opera-ballet in 2 acts and 3 scenes, with choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon, and music by Eugène Gautier, was first performed in Paris at the Théâtre Lyrique in 1853. Later Saint-Léon reworked the piece as Théolinda l’Orpheline for the Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow in 1862, with the score arranged by Pugni. Saint-Léon chose the new young star Marfa Muravieva to create the title role. The work was revived in 1865 with Praskovia Lebedeva, again with Lebedeva in 1866, and once more, in 1870, this time with Ekaterina Vazem. Pugni’s adaptation of the music became popular in Russia, and was published in Saint-Petersburg by Stellowsky.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      October 2012

      Cesare Pugni

      DOCH’ FARAONA La Fille du Pharaon/Pharaoh’s Daughter

      by Editor(s): Edited and Introduced by Robert Ignatius Letellier

      Cesare Pugni (1802–1870) made his debut as a composer at La Scala in 1826 with the opera Elerz e Zulmida, later becoming director of the Paganini Institute in Paris where he met the great choreogrpahers of the time. He began working closely with Jules Perrot, first in Paris, then in London. He also worked with Arthur Saint-Léon, Paolo Taglioni, Marius Petipa, and some of the greatest dancers of the century. His time in Paris with Perrot was marked by an extraordinarily intense activity, which accelerated when he reached Her Majesty’s Theatre in London where he presented some of the most renowned ballets of the 19th century, such as Esmeralda (1844) and the Pas de Quatre (1845), which still find their place in some modern repertories. Pugni later followed Perrot to St Petersburg and became official composer of the Imperial Theatres in St Petersburg. His most famous collaboration, with Marius Petipa, now followed, which lasted until Pugni’s death. Some of his ballets already well-known in Europe were transferred to St Petersburg, although he also composed new ballets in Russia. Pugni is known above all for his enormous output of musical works, including more than 300 ballets, a dozen operas, over 40 masses, other polyphonic works, and a few symphonies, among which was a Sinfonia a canone, highly praised by Meyerbeer. This extremely prolific composer was very popular with the public, as all his ballets are easy to to listen to and to understand. He also found no diffculty in adapting his music to suit all sorts of choreographic needs, and many different performers. Doch’ Faraona, or La Fille du Pharaon is a ballet in 3 acts and 9 scenes with prologue and epilogue. The scenario was devised by Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Marius Petipa, with choreography by Petipa. It was first performed on 30 January 1862, in St Petersburg at the Bolshoi Theatre. The principal dancers were Carolina Rosati, Nicholas Golts, Marius Petipa, and Lev Ivanov. The ballet was inspired by Théophile Gautier’s Le Roman de la Momie, and narrates the adventures of the English Lord Wilson and his servant John Bull,who seek shelter from a storm in an Ancient Egyptian tomb. They smoke opium and in their dreams are taken back to the times of the characters buried there: Lord Wilson meets the Pharaoh’s daughter Aspicia during a lion hunt, helps her to escape from the invidious attentions of the King of Nubia, and undergoes various adventures with her in the Egyptian countryside (including a visit to the watery underworld of the King of the Nile where all the great rivers of the world are represented in national dance). He is eventually saved from sacrifice and united with her in marriage, before waking to the cold light of reality. The ballet was a resounding success. The spectacle lasted over 4 hours and featured a cast of 400, 80 of them dancers. The spectacle was prepared in only 6 weeks for Carolina Rosati’s farewell performance. This success secured Marius Petipa’s appointment as maître de ballet (assistant ballet master) in St Petersburg. It marked the last of Rosati’s appearances in Russia, but thereafter tempted other great ballerinas, including Marie Petipa, Yekaterina Vazem, Virginia Zucchi, Mathilda Kschessinskaya and Anna Pavlova, each of them contributing her own interpretation of the heroine’s part. Marius Ivanovich Petipa (1818 -1910) was a hugely influential French balletmaster, teacher and choreographer who became Premier Maître de Ballet of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres from 1871 until 1903. Petipa created over fifty ballets, some of which have survived in versions either faithful to, inspired by, or reconstructed from the original, including Pharaoh's Daughter (1862); Don Quixote (1869); La Bayadère (1877); Le Talisman (1889); and Sleeping Beauty (1890) among others. Petipa also revived a substantial number of works created by other ballet masters. His productions became the definitive versions from which nearly all subsequent revivals would be based — Le Corsaire, Giselle, Coppélia, La Fille mal gardée (with Lev Ivanov), The Little Humpbacked Horse and Swan Lake (with Lev Ivanov). There are various dances from Petipa's original works and revivals that have survived in an independent form in versions either based on the original or choreographed anew by others.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      December 2012

      French Romantic Ballets

      Jean-Madeleine Schneitzhoeffer, La Sylphide Adolphe-Charles Adam, Giselle and Le Corsaire

      by Editor(s): Edited and Introduced by Robert Ignatius Letellier

      This collection presents music from three of the most important scores of the Golden Age of ballet in Paris from 1830–1870. The Romantic ballet had been inaugurated by Meyerbeer’s opera Robert le Diable (21 November 1831) with its ghostly Ballet of the Nuns, risen from their graves and dancing in the moonlight, led by their spectral Abbess; a role created by Marie Taglioni (1804–1884) to her father’s choreography. La Sylphide (1832), inspired by this situation, was the first fully fledged Romantic ballet. Its graceful and atmospheric score was written by the first violinist at the Opéra, Jean Schneitzhoeffer. The story, devised by the great tenor Adolphe Nourrit, similarly introduces spirits and elemental beings, which dominated ballet scenarios for the following decades. Filippo Taglioni’s creation provided the fullest realization of the Romantic ideal, especially in the leading character of the story, and its perfect incarnation in the original interpreter, Marie Taglioni, whose stage personality seemed to be made for the part of the Sylphide. The ballet became the source of theatrically romantic fantasies centred around the hopeless and fatal love between a human being and a supernatural creature. It was performed in Paris until 1860, when the work was abandoned. Only in the late 20th century was Taglioni’s original version revived in a literal reconstruction by Pierre Lacotte at the Paris Opéra on 7 June 1972.Giselle is a central work in the ballet repertory all over the world. It is regarded as the absolute masterpiece of Romantic dance theatre; a wonderful synthesis of style, technique, and dramatic feeling, with an exceptional score. The ballet was devised in 1841 as a result of the collaboration of some of the major talents in literature, choreography and music in the Paris of the time. The author, critic and poet Théophile Gautier, overwhelmed by the art of the ballerina Carlotta Grisi (1819–1899), discovered what he felt would be the perfect theme for her while reading a translation of Heinrich Heine’s book on German legend and folklore, D’Allemagne. Here he found the legend of the wilis—maidens who die before their wedding day and who come out of their graves at night in bridal dress to dance until dawn. Should any man be caught in the wood while the wilis are about their rituals, he is doomed to dance on and on until he drops dead from exhaustion. The choreography was created by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. The first act is on a realistic level, with an evocation of a medieval rusticity and emotional-sentimental intrigue, while the second act conjures up the supernatural, an ethereal world of magic symbolism. Both public and the critics greeted the work as a triumph. The score was praised for its “elegance, the freshness and clarity of the melodies, the vigour and novelty of the harmonic combinations, and the vivacity that pervades the musical texture from start to finish”. The ballet has come down the years in a more-or-less unbroken tradition. Perrot emphasized his own special creative imprint in the productions he supervised in London (1842) and St Petersburg (1856). In Russia he collaborated with Marius Petipa who made his own reconstruction of the ballet in 1884. This version became the model for all later revivals in Russia, as well as for Mikhail Fokine’s production for the Ballet Russes in Paris (1910).Byron’s famous narrative poem The Corsair inspired several ballets, with Joseph Mazilier’s proving the most important (1856). Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges’s scenario was of a superior quality. Mazilier was maître de ballet at the Paris Opéra between 1853 and 1859, the years of his fullest creativity. The solo parts were infused with an intense dramatic expressiveness, and there was a splendid mise-en-scène. But the great success of the work was due primarily to the quality of the chief performers: the ballerina Carolina Rosati (1826–1905) and the mime Domenico Segarelli (1820–1860). The spectacular shipwreck finale was a sensational feat engineered by the chief mechanist of the Opéra, Victor Sacré, and his crowning glory. Adam’s score—consistently rich in melodic inspiration, engaging in the set dances, imaginative in the many extended mime sequences, and more richly symphonic than ever before in his work—reached a height of inspiration in this last music he ever wrote for the stage. Mazilier’s ballet gained a world-wide popularity, and became a favourite of the leading ballerinas for decades. Marius Petipa produced his own version in St Petersburg in 1868, with additional music by Cesare Pugni and Léo Delibes. In 1899 Petipa revived the ballet again, for the Maryinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, this time completely re-choreographing it for Pierina Legnani, with additional music by Riccardo Drigo. Performances in the USSR and contemporary Russia derive from this version. Drigo’s music for the spectacular pas de deux in act 2 is still performed all over the world as an independent piece.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      June 2010

      Ludwig Minkus

      Don Quichotte; Ballet en cinq actes, avec prologue et épilogue, et onze tableaux, par Marius Peitpa après Miguel de Cervantes Piano Score

      by Editor(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier

      In 1868 the choreographer Marius Petipa planned his ballet Don Quixote for the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and the Austrian composer Ludwig Minkus was invited to compose the music. The plot of Don Quixote was based on the adventures of Quiteria (known as Kitri in the ballet) and Basilio, which Petipa had developed from the second part of Miguel de Cervantes's novel (1605). The ballet was an enormous success, both in Moscow (14/26 December 1869) and in St Petersburg where it was represented at the Bolshoi Theatre on 9/21 November 1871 in an expanded version as Don Quichotte—with revised scenario and choreography that took cognizance of the more sophisticated expectations of the Imperial capital. Changes were made to the story, with a new fifth act in three scenes, for which Minkus wrote additional music. Don Quixote no longer regarded Kitri simply as his protégée, but now actually mistakes her for Dulcinea, and she appears as such in his Dream Scene. Provision was made for one ballerina to perform the double virtuoso role of Kitri and Dulcinea. The big classical scene for Don Quixote's dream was rewritten. Greater emphasis was now placed on this episode, where Kitri/Dulcinea was surrounded by a large corps de ballet and seventy-two children dressed as cupids. Alexandra Vergina was partnered by Basilio (Lev Ivanov), and supported by Pavel Gerdt in the last scene. The cast also included Timofei Stukolkine (Don Quixote), Nicholas Goltz (Gamache), and Alexei Bogdanov (Lorenzo).Don Quixote became established in the repertory, and its continued life on the Russian stage bears testimony to the appeal of its exuberance, “the life-asserting and life-loving nature of its dances” (Natalia Roslavleva). Generations of Russian ballet-masters and dancers preserved these dances in essence, and the ballet is still part of the Russian repertory, given today in all Russian and Siberian companies, in the Moscow version of Alexander Gorsky, in three acts and seven or eight scenes.Petipa’s version of Don Quixote, with its life-affirming music by Minkus, has during the 20th century spread throughout the world, not least because of the work of Rudolf Nureyev who made a film version of the Australian Ballet production in 1971 that became very famous. It co-starred Robert Helpmann and Lucette Aldous, and made world history in being the first ballet to be produced with full film technique, so providing wider scope for imaginative handling of the famous story. Don Quixote has become the standard ballet version of the Cervantes tale, and one of the most popular pieces of the international repertory. Much of its emotional fervour is captured in the celebrated virtuoso Grand Pas de Deux for the wedding of Kitri and Basilio in the last scene. This piece, with a spectrum of feeling enshrined in its rapturous melodies and irresistible rhythmic élan, has assumed a life of its own as a concert piece in countless renditions wherever ballet is performed.The piano score of the St Petersburg version was published as Don Quichotte (St Petersburg: Theodore Stellowsky, c. 1882). This version is reproduced here.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      December 2012

      Cesare Pugni

      Esmeralda and Le Violon du diable

      by Editor(s): Edited and Introducted by Robert Ignatius Letellier

      Cesare Pugni (1802–70) made his debut as a composer at La Scala in 1826 with the opera Elerz e Zulmida. In the 1840s he worked closely with the choreographer Jules Perrot (1810–92) in Paris and in London, creating some of the most renowned ballets of the 19th century, a number of which still find their place in some modern repertories. Pugni later followed Perrot to St Petersburg, and became official composer of the Imperial Russian theatres. Some of his earlier ballets were transferred to St Petersburg, and he also composed many new ballets for that city. Along with Perrot, Pugni also worked with Arthur Saint-Leon (1821–70), Paolo Taglioni (1808–84), Marius Petipa (1818–1910), and some of the greatest dancers of the century. His most famous collaboration, with Marius Petipa, lasted until his death on 26 January 1870.Pugni was extremely prolific, composing more than 300 ballets, a dozen operas, over 40 masses, other polyphonic works and a few symphonies. He was very popular with the public, who were delighted by his direct uncomplicated style, with its attractive melodies and infectious rhythms. Esmeralda, choreographed by Perrot and premiered with Perrot, Carlotta Grisi and Saint-Leon in the principal roles, was first performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London in 1844. The ballet is based on the story of Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris (1831). It was reasonably successful, and Grisi was pronounced the perfect personification of the gypsy girl Esmeralda. The ballet later became immensely popular in Russia; Fanny Elssler enjoyed one of her biggest triumphs in the title role. Pugni’s music successfully evokes an atmosphere of Medieval Paris, the changing moods of the story, and the delicate vulnerability of the heroine. For Petipa’s production of 1888, Riccardo Drigo was asked to compose several new numbers, including the Esmeralda Pas de Deux and the Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux, which became very popular in their own right.Arthur Saint-Léon (1821–1870) had married the famous dancer Fanny Cerrito (1817–1909) in 1845. They were to be separated five years later and divorced in 1851, but in the meantime worked well together. Saint-Léon was not only a choreographer and a dancer, but also a violinist, a virtuoso in the tradition of Paganini. In Le Violon du diable he devised the role of the violinist Urbain for himself. The ballet was a revival and elaboration of an earlier version called Tartini il violinista (Venice, La Fenice on 29 February 1848). Urbain, a young violinist, is deeply in love with the beautiful Hélène de Vardeck, but she prefers her suitor Saint-Ybars. The sinister Doctor Matheus offers Urbain the power to play his violin so irresistibly as to win the heart of his beloved. At the Paris première on 19 January1849, subject and choreography were attributed exclusively to Saint-Léon, and the music exclusively to Pugni. The ballet was well received. The music in particular was praised. The dancing of Saint-Léon and Cerrito was also deeply admired: “In the pas de deux with her husband, all Cerrito’s gestures were of the greatest tenderness. It would be difficult to find more grace, freshness, lightness, or elevation”.

    • Theatre studies
      July 2018

      Consciousness, Performing Arts and Literature

      Trajectories, 2014-2018

      by Editor(s): Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe

      Against the background of personal, institutional and cultural trajectories, this book considers dance, opera, theatre and practice as research from a consciousness studies perspective. Highlights include a conversation with Barbara Sellers-Young on the nature of dance; an assessment of the work of International Opera Theater; a new perspective on liveness and livecasts; a reassessment, with Anita S. Hammer, of the concept of a universal language of the theatre; a discussion of two productions of new plays; the development of a new concept of theatre of the heart; a comparison of Western and Thai positions on the concept of beauty; and an examination of the role of conflict for theatre. The final chapter of the book is taken up by the author’s first novel, which launches the new genre of spiritual romance.

    • Dance & other performing arts
      August 2012

      Post-Apartheid Dance

      Many Bodies Many Voices Many Stories

      by Editor(s): Sharon Friedman

      The intention of this work is to present perspectives on post-apartheid dance in South Africa by South African authors. Beginning with an historical context for dance in SA, the book moves on to reflect the multiplicity of bodies, voices and stories suggested by the title. Given the diversity of conflicting realities experienced by artists in this country, contentious issues have deliberately been juxtaposed in an attempt to draw attention to the complexity of dancing on the ashes of apartheid. Although the focus is dance since 1994, all chapters are rooted in an historical analysis and offer a view of the field. This book is ground breaking as it is the first of its kind to speak of contemporary dance in South Africa and the first singular body of work to have emerged in any book form that attempts to provide a cohesive account of the range of voices within dance in post-apartheid South Africa. The book is scholarly in nature and has wide applications for colleges and universities, without alienating dance lovers or minds curious about dance in Africa. Mindful of its wide audience, the writing deliberately adopts an uncomplicated, reader-friendly tone, given the diversity of audiences including dance students, dance scholars, critics and general dance lovers that it will attract.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      October 2012

      Cesare Pugni

      KONIOK GORBUNOK, ILI TSAR-DEVITSA Le Petit Cheval bossu, ou La Tsar-Demoiselle The Little Humpbacked Horse, or The Tsar-Maiden

      by Editor(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier

      Cesare Pugni was born in Genoa on 31 May 1802, and studied in Milan from 1815 to 1822, with Antonio Rollo and Bonifazio Asioli. He became a cymbalist in the theatre orchestra, and on the death of Vincenzo Lavigna, was appointed musical director. He later moved to Paris where he became director of the Paganini Institute and met the great choreographers of the time. He started an artistic collaboration that was to prove one of the most productive in the history of ballet—working closely with Jules Perrot (1810–1892), first in Paris, then in London. Here Pugni presented some of the most renowned ballets of the 19th century, such as Esmeralda (1844) and the Pas de Quatre (1845), which still find their place in some modern repertories. He also worked with Arthur Saint-Léon (1821–1870), Paolo Taglioni (1808–1884), Marius Petipa (1818–1910), and some of the greatest dancers of the century. Pugni followed Perrot to Russia and became official composer of the Imperial theatres in St Petersburg where he composed new ballets, notably Doch’ Faraona (Pharaoh’s Daughter) (1862) and Koniok Gorbunok (The Little Humpbacked Horse) (1862). His most famous collaboration, with Marius Petipa, dominated these years, lasting until the composer’s death on 26 January 1870. Pugni is remarkable for his enormous output of some 300 ballets (either original compositions or in arrangements).Arthur Saint-Leon, famous for Coppélia with Leo Delibes (1870), created The Little Humpbacked Horse to the music of Cesare Pugni for the Imperial Ballet (today the Maryinsky Ballet). The story of Koniok Gorbunok is based on the popular fairy-tale by Petr Yershov (1834), and tells of the spectacular deeds of Ivanushka with the help of the magical Little Humpbacked Horse. The scenario is notable for its humour as well as its fantasy. The ballet is of particular interest as being the first to be based on themes from Russian folklore, a particular interest of Saint-Léon, who chose the subject and the source, and devised the scenario himself. The first performance was on 13 December 1864 at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg. The Emperor Alexander II attended the première, a great and enduring success. Marius Petipa revived the ballet in 1895 as The Tsar-Maiden for the dancer Pierina Legnani. The work lived on for many years in the repertory of the Imperial Ballet (given in St Petersburg over 200 times), a success continued in Soviet times at the Kirov Ballet, and also the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in a version by Alexander Gorsky (1901).Alexander Radunsky choreographed his own version of this ballet to a score by Rodion Shchedrin for the Bolshoi Ballet in 1960, a version of which was filmed with Maya Plisetskaya as the Tsar-Maiden and Vladimir Vasiliev as Ivanushka. In 2009 Alexei Ratmansky choreographed a new version for the Maryinsky Ballet, also using Shchedrin’s score. A reconstruction of Saint-Leon’s original was filmed in 1989 for Russian television with graduates from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in the lead roles. The film included narrated sections and illustrations from a popular 1964 Russian edition of Yershov’s book.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      May 2009

      Ludwig Minkus La Bayadère

      Grand Ballet in Four Acts and Seven Scenes by Sergei Khudekov and Marius Petipa Piano Score

      by Author(s): Ludwig Minkus Editor(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier

      La Bayadère was first produced at the Maryinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, on 4 February 1877. The scenario was by Sergei Khudekov and Marius Petipa, who also devised the choreography. The music was by the Austrian composer Ludwig Minkus (1827-1917), who spend most of his life working for the Imperial Ballet in St Petersburg. His music for this ballet—long scorned, never published, and endlessly re-arranged— has slowly emerged, since its revival began in the West in the 1960s, as a viable and significant musical achievement in its own right. Apart from the strongly defined melodies, infectious rhythm, and affecting harmonies, there is a powerful unity of conception and a sustained attention to mood that establishes its own unique incidental atmosphere. In its evocation of far-off times, the score conjures up an exotic Indian setting, where two spheres are set in contrast—a bright external world of colour and pomp, of ambition, rivalry and death; and an internal realm of night and dreams, of ideals, transcendent love and life—all realized most completely in the famous Kingdom of the Shades in act 3. The generous self-offering love of the temple dancer Nikia is one of the great stories of the Romantic ballet.Here for the first time is the piano score of the entire ballet. The music derives from four sources: a clear manuscript from the days of the Soviet Union; a version of Act 4 as held in the Library of Covent Garden; a beautiful Russian copy of the Kingdom of the Shades; and a potpourri from the 1880s by Johann Resch—the only music ever published from the score.

    • Ballet
      December 2010

      Daniel-François-Esprit Auber

      The Man and His Music

      by Author(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier

      Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782-1871), the composer of La Muette de Portici (1828) and Fra Diavolo (1830), was once regarded as one of the great figures of music, a staple of the operatic repertoire in France, and indeed around the world. It is now almost impossible to understand the extent of his once universal fame, his influence on contemporary composers. His operas were in the theatre repertories of the world until the 1920s, and innumerable arrangements of them were published and sold everywhere. The ubiquity of his overtures—Masaniello, Fra Diavolo, The Bronze Horse, The Black Domino, The Crown Diamonds—once as popular as those of Rossini and Suppé, and the influence of his melodies and dance rhythms on piano and instrumental music, and on Romantic comic opera, was overwhelming. In his operas Auber avoided any excess in dramatic expression; all emotion and expressiveness, any vivid depiction of local milieu, were realized within his discreetly nuanced tones, always stamped with a Parisian elegance. His operas were loved in his native France until the years before the First World War, with Fra Diavolo and Le Domino noir last performed at the Opéra-Comique in 1909. Auber’s career was a record of this success and appreciation. His appointment to the Institute (1829) was followed by other prestigious posts: as Director of Concerts at Court (1839), director of the Paris Conservatoire (1842), Musical Director of the Imperial Chapel (1852), and Grand Officer of the Légion d’Honneur (1861). During his lifetime, six biographies appeared contemporaneously, with another six appearing posthumously in the period up to 1914. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, however, reactions to Wagner, Impressionism and the Neo-Classicism of the Ballet Russe resulted in a growing lack of interest in the ancient traditions of opéra-comique, with its charming plots, melodic directness and rhythmic élan. Boieldieu, Hérold, Adam and Auber were relegated to the dustbin of history. Only in Germany did the genre continue to flourish; Auber’s most enduring work is still performed there. His death in pitiful conditions during the Siege of Paris (1871), in the city he always loved, marked the end of an era. Auber now occupies a shadowy niche in the general consciousness as the name of the metro station nearest the Palais Garnier, and remains unknown and neglected (apart of course from Fra Diavolo), although his impact on the nineteenth-century operatic theatre was just as great as Rossini’s. The time has surely come for Auber’s life and work, especially in association with his life-long collaborator Eugène Scribe (1791-1861)—master dramatist and supreme librettist, a determining force in the history of opera—to be reassessed. Perhaps then the world will begin to hear more of Auber’s elegant gracious, life-affirming music, written to Scribe’s words. The aim of the present study is to offer an overview of the life and work of Auber by close examination of his forty operas, with consideration of origins, casting, plot, analysis of dramaturgy and musical style, and reception history. This is presented in the context of Auber's relationship to the dominant genres of early nineteenth century French culture, opéra comique and grand opéra. The three evolving periods of Auber's unique involvement with opéra comique are of principal concern.This analysis of the operas is made in the context of Auber's crucial working relationship with Scribe, who provided 38 of his libretti. Their cooperation is unique and of great importance on several literary, musical and cultural levels. The nature of their interaction and personal friendship is assessed by a translation of the extant correspondence between them, some 80 letters that have not appeared in English before. The presentation of each opera is illustrated by musical examples from all the scores, prints from the complete works of Scribe and other theatrical memorabilia. The study also contains bibliographies of Auber’s works and their contemporary arrangements, studies of Auber’s and Scribe’s life and work, their artistic and historical milieux, and a discography.

    • The Arts
      October 2015

      The Future of (High) Culture in America

      by Editor(s): Daniel Asia

      This book brings together the proceedings of the inaugural conference of the University of Arizona Center for American Culture and Ideas (CACI), an institution dedicated to studying and promoting the arts, particularly investigating the relationship between the high arts and culture in America. The conference was titled “The Future of (High) Culture in America,” and was held in March 2014. Presenters and respondents included practicing artists, critics, educators and academics, curators, and art purveyors, all at the top of their game. Papers were presented, followed by comments from a panel of respondents and an audience question and answer period. The conference title can be read as both a statement and a question: Is there high culture in America, and if so, is it in jeopardy? This suggests an opportunity to consider what “culture” or “high culture” means. This book explores a range of subjects, including music, dance, the visual arts (particularly photography), and more general philosophical and psychological matters. As such, it offers a fascinating and provocative kaleidoscope of the position of arts and culture in America.

    • Folk dancing

      Carrying the Word

      The Concheros Dance in Mexico City

      by Susanna Rostas

      In the first full-length study of the Concheros dancers, Susanna Rostas explores the experience of this unique group, whose use of dance links rural religious practices with urban post-modern innovation in distinctive ways even within Mexican culture, which is rife with ritual dances. The Concheros blend Catholic and indigenous traditions in their performances, but are not governed by a predetermined set of beliefs; rather, they are bound together by long-standing interpersonal connections framed by the discipline of their tradition. The Concheros manifest their spirituality by means of the dance. Rostas traces how they construct their identity and beliefs, both individual and communal, by its means. The book offers new insights into the experience of dancing as a Conchero while also exploring their history, organisation, and practices. The book provides a new way for audiences to understand the Concheros dance tradition and will be of interest to students and scholars of contemporary Mesoamerica. Those studying identity, religion, and tradition will find this social-anthropological work particularly enlightening.

    • Complementary therapies, healing & health

      Dancing On the Earth

      Women's Stories of Healing Through Dance

      by Johanna. Leseho

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