Posted by Rebecca King on 08.02.2010
Day One of our 2010-2011 season is over. It was a long day of rehearsals and now its time to kick back, relax, enjoy a delicious dinner, and perhaps a glass of wine? (It helps to relax the muscles right?) It is always fun and exciting to start working on a new ballet and right off the bat we started with a Balanchine ballet that I have yet to see, but already can’t wait to perform.
This season in Program II we will be performing “La Sonnambula.” Our first rehearsal today was for the corps dancers, or “The Guests,” and I thought I would take a moment to share with you the story and premise behind this ballet. New York City Ballet premiered this ballet in 1946, under the title, “Night Shadow.” The score, composed by Vittorio Rieti, encompasses themes from the “La Sonnambula” Opera, from which, one can imagine Balanchine drew inspiration. The choreography reflects the classical and dramatic music.
The ballet opens on a elegant masked ball being thrown by a Baron (i.e. “The Host”). “The Poet” is the Principal man who spends much of the night flirting with the “Coquette” while the guests, dance around them. The Poet is quickly distracted by an elusive woman who has just entered the stage, “The Sleepwalker”. This woman wanders around the Baron’s mansion like a ghost, entranced, with her hair down and a lit candle in hand. The Poet begins to dance with the Sleepwalker and attempts to wake her up, but to no avail.
So, there always has to be drama right? So cue drama. The Croquette, jealous of the Poet’s interest in the Sleepwalker, tells the Host of the Poet’s flirtations throughout the evening. The Host is furious and stabs the Poet. The Sleepwalker returns to take the Poet’s body. Yet again, we have a fabulously dark Balanchine ballet. Excited? You should be. I am. More on this Great Ballet as rehearsals continue.