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1653, France. The "Sun King" takes over the ballet stage and the reins of the country: a legendary moment of art-as-propaganda...
The riot that took place at The Rite of Spring premiere in Paris is almost as notorious as the work itself. Stravinsky set the stage for scandal....
Strauss’s opera Salome scandalized the musical world in 1905—and again in May 1906, when, as Ross vividly describes, the Austrian premiere in Graz drew together an astonishing array of musical luminaries, from Mahler to Schoenberg to Puccini. “Like a flash of lightning,” Ross writes, “it illuminated a musical world on the verge of traumatic change. Past and future were colliding; centuries were passing in the night.”
Tchaikovsky’s three ballet scores are all revered today, but they drew mixed—sometimes very negative—reviews when they were first performed. "The melody is too… how can I say it? Too confused, too capricious—in a word, it was not written 'balletically.'” (St Petersburg News, 1877) That was a critic’s verdict after the premiere of—wait for it—Swan Lake.
Which animal is responsible for Nikiya's death in La Bayadère, one of ballet's most tragic moments? Just how long is the typical tutu in the Romantic ballet? Can you recognize what ballet basics like an arabesque or a grand jeté look like on stage? Let's find out!