George Frederick Handel (from the Royal Fireworks Music, 1749, and Water Music, ca. 1717). Book by George Lewis; underlying ideas in the organization of the sequence of scenes suggested by Dr. Arthur Upham Pope
Scenery, costumes, and lighting by Esteban Francés. Scenery executed by Nolan Brothers; costumes executed by Karinska
April 13, 1960, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama, New York. Conductor: Robert Irving
SCENE I, THE SANDS OF THE DESERT: Violette Verdy, 18 women; SCENE II, THE WEAVING OF THE CARPET (PAS D’ACTION): Verdy, 12 women; Nomad Tribesmen, Conrad Ludlow, 6 men; SCENE III, THE BUILDING OF THE PALACE: ENTRANCE OF THE IRANIAN COURT: Prince and Princess of Persia, Jacques d’Amboise, Melissa Hayden; Their Courtiers, 8 couples; THE RECEPTION OF THE FOREIGN AMBASSADORS: France: The Prince and Princesses of Lorraine, Edward Villella, Susan Borree, Suki Schorer; Spain: The Duke and Duchess of Granada, Francisco Moncion, Judith Green; America: The Princess of the West Indies, Francia Russell, 6 women; China: The Duke and Duchess of L’an L’ing, Nicholas Magallanes, Patricia McBride, 4 women; Africa: The Oni of Ife and His Consort, Arthur Mitchell, Mary Hinkson (guest artist); Scotland: The Four Lairds of the Isles and Their Lady, Diana Adams, 4 men; GRAND PAS DE DEUX: Hayden, d’Amboise; SCENE IV, FINALE: THE GARDENS OF PARADISE; SCENE V, APOTHEOSIS: THE FOUNTAINS OF HEAVEN
Devised in the style of an eighteenth-century court ballet, based on Dr. Pope’s relation of Handel’s musical counterpoint to Persian carpet weaving of the period. The title is from a tale by Henry James. SCENE I evokes a desert atmosphere; in the APOTHEOSIS a large fountain plays on stage; the décor and costumes for SCENES III, IV, and V were derived from Persian designs. Presented in honor of the fourth International Congress of Iranian Art and Archeology. In 1976, Balanchine used the Scottish theme from the Water Music for the Royal Canadian Air Force variation in Union Jack .