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84. APOLLON MUSAGÈTE (also called APOLLO MUSAGETES; APOLLO, LEADER OF THE MUSES; APOLLO; APOLO MUSAGETA)


Ballet in Two Scenes


Music And Book: By Igor Stravinsky (Apollo Musagetes, 1927-28, commissioned by Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 1927).

Choreography: By George Balanchine.

Production: Scenery and costumes by André Bauchant. (New costumes, by Chanel, 1929.) Scenery executed by Prince A. Schervashidze; costumes executed under the direction of Mme A. Youkine.

Premiere: June 12, 1928, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt, Paris. Conductor: Igor Stravinsky. Violinist: Marcel Darrieux.

Cast: Apollo, Serge Lifar; Terpsichore, Alice Nikitina (alternating with Alexandra Danilova); Calliope, Lubov Tchernicheva; Polyhymnia, Felia Doubrovska; 2 Goddesses; Leto, Mother of Apollo, Sophie Orlova.
SCENE I: THE BIRTH OF APOLLO. SCENE 2: Apollo; PAS D'ACTION (Apollo and Muses): Calliope; Polyhymnia; Terpsichore; Apollo; PAS DE DEUX (Apollo and Terpsichore); CODA; APOTHEOSIS (Apollo and Muses).

Note: SCENE I: Leto's labor, and the birth and youth of Apollo; two goddesses present him with a lute and teach him music. SCENE 2: Apollo plays the lute and dances. The three Muses enter; he presents each with an emblem of her art: Calliope, receiving the stylus and tablet, personifies poetry and rhythm; Polyhymnia, finger to lips, represents mime; Terpsichore combines both poetry and gesture in dance and is honored by Apollo. He dances a solo variation and a pas de deux with Terpsichore. APOTHEOSIS: Apollo and the Muses join in a final dance and ascend toward Parnassus.
Stravinsky conceived and composed Apollo Musagetes as a ballet; the music was commissioned for a festival of contemporary music in Washington, D. C., with choreography by Adolph Bolm. Balanchine's production was his first collaboration with the composer; he later described the choreography as the turning point in his creative life.

Revisions: 1928, Ballets Russes: Variation for Alexandra Danilova (alternating as Terpsichore in the original production) differed from Nikitina's. 1978, Second International Dance Festival: SCENE I omitted. 1979, New York City Ballet: For a revival with Mikhail Baryshnikov as Apollo, SCENE I and Apollo's first variation omitted; ending of APOTHEOSIS rechoreographed to conclude with earlier tableau of Muses posing beside Apollo in arabesque, visually suggesting the sun and its rays, instead of ascending Mount Parnassus. 1980, New York City Ballet: Apollo's first variation restored.

New Productions by Balanchine Companies: 1937, American Ballet: Scenery and costumes by Stewart Chaney. 1941, American Ballet Caravan: Scenery and costumes by Tomás Santa Rosa. 1951, New York City Ballet: Costumes by Karinska. 1957, New York City Ballet: Danced in practice clothes with minimal scenery; scenery omitted entirely since 1979.

Film: 1989, Seahorse Films, Dancing for Mr. B (PAS DE DEUX [excerpt]).

Video/DVD: 1995, Nonesuch, The Balanchine Library: Dancing for Mr. B (PAS DE DEUX [excerpt]); 1996, Nonesuch, The Balanchine Library: The Balanchine Celebration, Part One (complete 1979 version [1993]); 2002, George Balanchine Foundation, Music Dances: Balanchine Choreographs Stravinsky (PAS D'ACTION: Calliope's variation); 2004, Kultur, Balanchine (PAS DE DEUX, CODA); 2006, VAI, Jacques d'Amboise: Portrait of a Great American Dancer (complete [1960]).

Archival Video: George Balanchine Foundation Interpreters Archive (PAS D'ACTION: Terpsichore's variation; PAS DE DEUX), 1998.

See also: 133.8   176   198   284  

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