Vittorio Rieti, based on themes from operas by Vincenzo Bellini (1830-35, including La Sonnambula, I Puritani, Norma, and I Capuletti ed i Montecchi)
George Balanchine. Staged by John Taras
Scenery and lighting by Esteban Francés. Costumes by André Levasseur (from Les Ballets de Pâques production, 1957). Scenery and costumes executed by Nolan Brothers. Jewelry by Emmons
January 6, 1960, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama, New York. Conductor: Robert Irving
The Coquette, Jillana; The Baron, John Taras; The Poet, Erik Bruhn; The Sleepwalker, Allegra Kent; The Guests, 8 couples; DIVERTISSEMENTS: PASTORALE: 2 couples; THE BLACKAMOORS: Suki Schorer, William Weslow; HARLEQUIN: Edward Villella; ACROBATS: 3 women
Also performed by Tamara Geva and Alexandra Danilova on the tour of Germany and during the London engagement of the Principal Dancers of the Russian State Ballet in the summer and fall of 1924. The critic Cherepnin remarked on the work’s ‘Duncanesque rhythmic plasticity’ (Moscow, February 1924). Geva believed elements of the solo ‘prefigure’ the Sleepwalker in The Night Shadow (La Sonnambula) , especially the following passage, which recalls the Sleepwalker’s first entrance: ‘I moved forward toward the very edge of the proscenium as though I were blind and were about to go right off into the pit’ (Slonimsky, pp. 63, 13). The solo was taught in class at the Vaganova Academy at least as late as 1990.
Full documentation of Balanchine’s activities before he left the Soviet Union in 1924 is not possible. Printed programs of official performances at the Maryinsky Theater and Imperial Theater School in St. Petersburg exist, but none have been found for the performances given by the Young Ballet; a single poster announcing the opening concert is in the Museum of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. (The Maryinsky Theater was known as the State Maryinsky Theater between 1918 and 1920 and from 1920 to 1935 as the Petrograd/Leningrad State Academic Theater for Opera and Ballet. It was then called the Kirov Theater until 1991 when it again became the Maryinsky. The Imperial Theater School was renamed the Petrograd Theater School in 1918. Today it is the Vaganova School of Russian Ballet.) Research was carried out in Russia by Elizabeth Souritz (Moscow Institute of the History of the Arts) and the late Vera Krasovskaya (St. Petersburg, State Academy of Theater Art) and by Gunhild Schüller of the Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, University of Vienna, who visited Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1981. Major printed resources consulted were the newspapers Krasnaya gazeta and Zhizn iskusstva, the periodicals Teatr and Teatr i iskusstvo, and the weeklies of the Petrograd/Leningrad State Academic Theaters (Ezhenedel’nik petrogradskikh gosudarstvenniykh akademicheskikh teatrov; Ezhenedel’nik teatrov v Leningrade). Records 1-35 are based on the research of Souritz, Krasovskaya, and Schüller, on interviews conducted with Pëtr Gusev in St. Petersburg (Poel Karp, 1980) and with Balanchine, Alexandra Danilova, and Tamara Geva in New York (Nancy Reynolds and Gunhild Schüller, 1979-81), and on material from publications cited in full in the BIBLIOGRAPHY: Balanchine’s Complete Stories of the Great Ballets, Alexandra Danilova’s Choura, Tamara Geva’s Split Seconds, I Remember Balanchine (Francis Mason, ed., containing Yuri Slonimsky’s essay ‘Balanchine: The Early Years’ and the recollections of Geva, Danilova, and Stukolkina), the Maryinsky Theater’s exhibition catalogue Vek Balanchina – The Balanchine Century, 1904-2004, Mikhail Mikhailov’s My Life in Ballet, Natalia Roslavleva’s Era of the Russian Ballet, Bernard Taper’s Balanchine: A Biography, Robert Tracy’s Balanchine’s Ballerinas, and A.E. Twysden’s Alexandra Danilova.