Ballet double feature: Verklungene Feste and Josephs Legende

John Neumeier’s powerful double feature Verklungene Feste and Josephs Legende appears twice on the December schedule of the Vienna State Opera. There is much to learn about these two great works of ballet before experiencing them yourself.

Verklungene Feste, that is Bygone Celebrations, is set in 1830 at an opulent Parisian residence and is a tale of an elderly aristocrat who sponsors a revival of courtly dances from the early eighteenth century. Thus Verklungene Feste is a ballet about ballet, and we witness the transition from baroque dances to “modern” ballet. Continue reading

Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée: A Near-Perfect Ballet

La Fille mal gardée

A moment from a performance of La Fille mal gardée.
RAGUENEAU LEDERER GODOY / Foter / CC BY-ND

If you have even a passing interest in ballet, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the timeless La Fille mal gardée. For everyone else, I offer an analogy. If you’ve seen how the comic brilliance of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall practically created the modern Romantic Comedy Genre in film, then La Fille mal gardée is the ballet equivalent, but even better.

Whether you’re talking about film of ballet, a classic doesn’t simply become a classic, the moniker is hard-earned. La Fille mal gardée has been earning it for well over two centuries. Here’s how Sir Frederick Ashton’s revival of La Fille mal gardée has made its way into the hearts of ballet lovers everywhere. To many of them, it’s perfect. Continue reading