Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (ballet)

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This article is about Balanchine's ballet. For Molière's 1670 comédie-ballet, see Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
Choreographer George Balanchine
Music Richard Strauss
Libretto after Molière
Based on Molière's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme
Premiere 1932 – Opéra de Monte-Carlo
Original ballet company Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
Characters Mr. Jourdain
Lucille
Cléonte
Design Alexandre Benois
Setting 17th-century France
Created for David Lichine and Tamara Toumanova
Genre neoclassical ballet

Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme refers to two different ballets by George Balanchine set to Richard Strauss's the Concert Suite (1924),[1] with a libretto after Molière's 17th-century comédie-ballet of the same name.

The first Balanchine Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme ballet was produced in 1932 by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, In 1979, Balanchine (with the assistance of Jerome Robbins) created all-new choreography[2] for Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, which premiered on April 8, 1979, with the New York City Opera at the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, in New York City. This production was notable for being the first ballet Balanchine ever choreographed for Rudolf Nureyev[2] (who at the time was 41 years old).

Performance history[edit]

Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo[edit]

Balanchine's first Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme ballet was performed in 1932 by Wassily de Basil & René Blum's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, featuring David Lichine and Tamara Toumanova, with sets by Alexandre Benois.[2]

In 1944, the ballet was performed by the second iteration of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, with Nicholas Magallanes (taking over for an injured Frederic Franklin), Maria Tallchief, and Nathalie Krassovska.[2]

New York City Opera[edit]

Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
Choreographer George Balanchine with Jerome Robbins
Music Richard Strauss
Libretto after Molière
Based on Molière's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme
Premiere April 8, 1979 – New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
Original ballet company New York City Opera
Characters Mr. Jourdain
Lucille
Cléonte
Design Rouben Ter-Arutunian
Setting 17th-century France
Created for Rudolf Nureyev
Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux
Patricia McBride
Genre neoclassical ballet

The 1979 version of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme included choreographic input from Jerome Robbins, who stepped in during a period of Balanchine's illness,[2] as well as from Peter Martins, who choreographed one scene near the end of the ballet.[1] By staging the ballet with the New York City Opera instead of Balanchine's customary New York City Ballet, the production was able to use Nureyev, who was not a member of NYCB.[1] Costumes and sets were designed by Rouben Ter-Arutunian.[2]

The premiere took place on April 8, 1979, at the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, as part of a double bill with Henry Purcell's short opera Dido and Aeneas.[1]

1979 opening night cast:

On May 22, 1980, the New York City Ballet produced the ballet at the New York State Theater, featuring Frank Ohman, Suzanne Farrell, Peter Martins, Heather Watts, and Victor Castelli.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kisselgoff, Anna. "Balanchine-Robbins Work for Nureyev From Moliere," New York Times (Apr. 9, 1979).
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hodgson, Moira. "A Balanchine Ballet for Nureyev," New York Times (April 9, 1979).
  3. ^ "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," New York City Ballet website. Accessed Jan. 24, 2015.

External links[edit]