Photograph courtesy of Ken Howard
© 2005 by Ken Howard
The Metropolitan Opera Premiere of Franco Alfano's "Cyrano de Bergerac" (2005, 2006)
Production: Francesca Zambello
Set Designer: Peter J. Davison
Costume Designer: Anita Yavich
Lighting Designer: Natasha Katz
Fight Director: Rick Sordelet
Choreographer: Thomas Baird
New York Philharmonic's Young People's Concerts
Performing and teaching for the New York Philharmonic's Young People's Concerts was a great opportunity to expose young people and their parents to period style dance. Even better, before each show, the Philharmonic hosts an event called KidZone Live! It is an interactive component to the concert that allows the children and their parents to experience what it feels like to play an instrument, compose music, and, this year, learn the dances that go with the music they are hearing! At KidZone Live!, Tomiko and I taught the younger audience members (and a few parents as well) how to do the bourrée, menuet, waltz, and some of the animal dances from the 1920's.
The Baroque, Classical, and Romantic concerts were pretty much straight forward as to what dances would be appropriate. It was a tougher decision to make when we got to the Modern concert - so many choices! What Theodore Wiprud (Director of Education), Tom Dulack (Director of the show) and I decided, was to tie all three of the previous concerts together by dancing to Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite. Since the modernist Stravinsky had adapted and re-scored 18th century music by composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi for this ballet*, which premiered in 1920, I thought we could bring the two eras together with dance through the characters of Pulcinella, and a 1920's flapper. In our little ballet, Pulcinella makes a characteristically silly entrance, introduces himself to the audience, and is totally taken aback by the Flapper when she enters! Her legs show, her hair is cut short, and she makes very suggestive moves! But, during the menuetto, the two come together and he accepts her for who she is - and, oh boy, does he!
We've been invited back for the Young People's Concert, Music 4 Dance, November 10, 2007!
*Pulcinella was originally commissioned by Serge Diaghilev in 1919, was choreographed by Léonide Massine after a Commedia dell Arté scenario (The Four Pulcinellas). Scenery and costumes were designed by Pablo Picasso. It premiered at the Theatre de l'Opera, Paris, on May 15, 1920. Massine danced Pulcinella, Karsavina danced Pimpinella, Tchernicheva danced Prudenza, and Enrico Cecchetti danced Il Dottore! Another interesting fact that I discovered while researching this project was that besides having been a pupil of Cecchetti's, Massine was very familiar with the work of RA Feuillet, Pierre Rameau, Malpied, and Blassis.