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The Romantic Ballet
Transcript of The Romantic Ballet
circa 1830 - 1890s Romantic Beginnings More than a Mask It is widely acknowledged that “Robert le Diable", an opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer (introduced in 1831), contained the first Romantic ballet (Kisselgoff, 1984). Music: Jean Schneitzhöffer
Choreography: August Bournonville http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/o/origins-of-ballet/ Giselle (1841) Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky One definitive element in Romantic ballet was the Prima Ballerina. Marie Taglioni is said to have been the first. She first drew attention with her performance in Meyerbeer's production of “Robert le Diable". Her costume and movements were enchanting and a perfect representation of the often mythical elfin characters she depicted in dance. Pugni was an italian composer who composed his first ballet, as part of an opera in 1826, without much fanfare. Upon partnering with prominent choreographer, Jules Perrot, at Her Majesty's Theatre in London Pugni created his most enduring ballets. Cesare Pugni Marie Taglioni http://www.lifeinitaly.com/heroes-villains/marie-taglioni.asp http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/Filippo_Taglioni.jpg Presentation by
Jennifer Schellenger “…from her début at Vienna in 1822 Marie Taglioni was preparing to bring about the revolution in theatrical dance that became the romantic ballet.” Her father, Filippo Taglioni (1777–1871), was a renown ballet teacher and a task master to Marie. Under her father's scrutinizing eye, she cultivated an expression “...of lightness, grace and modesty, by the use of point-shoes for artistic effect..." (Harris-Warrick). She next starred in La Sylphide and garnered further attention as Prima Ballerina http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cesare_Pugni_-circa_1860.jpg http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?1515946 Print of Gaétan Vestris (1729-1808) as Jason performing at Randolphe King's Theatre, late 18th century. Museum no. E.2836-1962 "A detail from the ballet scene from Meyerbeer's opera 'Robert le Diable', 1876 by Edgar Degas; Victoria & Albert Museum, London Photo: Bridgeman Art Library" http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/opera/9706069/The-19th-centurys-equivalent-of-Phantom-of-the-Opera.html Idole de ma vie La Sylphide was the first full-scale Romantic ballet, composed and choreographed to be independent of opera (Kisselgoff, 1984). During the Romantic era, artists and musicians began to look to nature and more ethereal subjects for inspiration. Fairies (or Sylphs) became a popular symbol for the period, portrayed in every form of art. While the music evolved, ballet was not far behind. Ballet was suddenly deemed worthy of the same attention to scores and composition as the operas it was typically part of. Adolphe Charles Adam Adolphe Charles Adam was the son of a musician, composer, and instructor at the Paris Conservatoire. His father, Jean Louis Adam, did not support his musical interests, perhaps because of the meager living many professional musicians received. Instead he found mentors who inspired and encouraged his aspirations. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/img/grove/music/F000065 (1802–1870) In 1837, the full production of La Sylphide traveled from Paris to Russia. This not only exposed aristocratic Russian theatre goers to Romantic ballet, but perhaps more importantly, Russian composers, musicians and dancers. Quickly gaining popularity, ballet became integral to operas but the music was something of an after-thought up until the 19th century. It was common for a musician employed by the theatre to arrange music for the ballet--without preparation--as he met with the master choreographer (Harris-Warrick). http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=855359&imageID=1532694&total=2&num=0&word=Ballet%20--%20Austria%20--%2019th%20century&s=3¬word=&d=&c=&f=2&k=1&lWord=ballet&lField=2&sScope=Subject&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&imgs=20&pos=2&e=w http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=355950&imageID=1114878&word=Tchaikovsky%2C%20Peter%20Ilich%2C%201840-1893&s=3¬word=&d=&c=&f=2&k=1&lWord=tchaikovsky&lField=2&sScope=Subject&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=1&num=0&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=1 1840-1893 1803-1853 "Snowflakes from Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, 1892." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/img/grove/music/F001581>. Romantic ballet had its peak in the mid 1840s. Many productions there after, with some exceptions, were trite and overdone and the genre was considered to be defunct by the 1870s. Fortunately, just before it fizzled out entirely, Russian composer Peter (Anglicized) Ilyich Tchaikovsky brought forth a few dazzlingly original offerings. After several years of composing vaudeville, Adam found himself drawn to Romantic ballet at its zenith and penned the music for Giselle, set to a scenario by Théophile Gautier. It was a great success, largely due to Adam's “incipient use of leitmotifs and musical reminiscence for dramatic effect" (Harris-Warrick) Music: Adolphe Adam Choreography: Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot Leitmotifs, first observed by A.W. Ambros in the works Richard Wagner, function as musical expressions of themes or characters. When leitmotif was adopted in Romantic ballet, it added great dimension and, to this day, is easily noted even by the most uneducated spectator. Leitmotif Dance of the Little Swans
from Swan Lake Composed by Tchaikovsky La Esmeralda (1844) Author Andrea Lanza cites, “The reasons for Pugni's success can be found in the music's brio, its imaginative fancy and expressive quality, and in its subservience to the functional requirements of the choreography, a subservience which is, at the same time, its greatest artistic limitation" La Esmeralda was the second production to come from Pugni's collaboration with Jules Perrot at Her Majesty's Theatre. Music: Cesare Pugni
Choreography: Jules Perrot A student of Adolphe Charles Adam, Leo Delibes carried the torch of leitmotif in the music for Romantic ballet and employed it masterfully in Sylvia. Music: Leo Delibes
Choreography: Louis Mérante Sylvia (1876) Sylvia made a particular impression on Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was quoted calling his own ballet, Swan Lake “...poor stuff compared with Sylvia" Tchaikovsky had an affinity for romantic stories and adapted many of his ballets from fanciful tales. One particularly fanciful ballet is Nutcracker, adapted from the German “Nussknacker und Mausekönig" Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Choreography: Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov Nutcracker (1892) REFERENCES Harris-Warrick, R. et al. Ballet. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed February 11, 2013, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/46700.
Kisselgoff, A. (1984, 12 02). Dance view; romantic ballet began in an opera by meyerbeer. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1984/12/02/arts/dance-view-romantic-ballet-began-in-an-opera-by-meyerbeer.html?pagewanted=1
Lanza, A. Pugni, Cesare. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed February 11, 2013, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/22527.
Macdonald, H. Delibes, Léo. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed February 11, 2013, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/07469.
Whittall, A. Leitmotif. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed 11 Feb. 2013.