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Valses Nobles et Sentimentales


Valses Nobles et Sentimentales


Valses Nobles et Sentimentales was one of two works choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan for his debut at the Berlin Ballet. The other was Concerto, with  completing the evening. The two new works were made to show off the company’s capacities. Valses, which opened the programme was set for two soloists and two supporting couples.

There were changes to the orders of the waltzes, which disconcerted Dance and Dancer’s critic, Horst Koegler; MacMillan had transposed the second and first, repeating the first at the end of the ballet. “I find this much liberalism in MacMillan disturbing”, he complained. But when he wrote, Koegler was apparently unaware that MacMillan had at the last minute been refused permission by Ravel’s estate to use, as he had originally intended, the Mother Goose suite. MacMillan had hastily to adapt the choreography to the score of Valses.

Alexander Bland, in The Observer characterised Valses as “comings and goings for four couples revolving around a boy in love with a girl in love with herself (there is a nice pas de deux in which he vainly tries to wean her attention from her hand mirror). All ends well in what Ravel called ‘the delight of absolutely useless movement” “It is nothing to show off in – and so a rather daring opening piece”, Koegler said of the choreography. “But there was already an element of elegance to be spotted, which was quite new with these dancers, a longer kind of breathing, a greater spaciousness of their phrasing.”

MacMillan was his own harshest critic. Valses was “an awful ballet”, he told Edward Thorpe, “created in a hurry”.

  • First performance: Deutsche Oper, West Berlin, 30 November 1966

  • Company: Ballet of the Deutsche Oper

  • Cast: Didi Carli, Falco Kapuste Vergie Derman, Silvia Kesselheim, Gert Schulze, Gerhard Bohner

  • Music: Ravel

  • Design: Jürgen Rose

Concerto


Concerto


When MacMillan became director of the ballet at the Berlin Opera House, he made two new works for his first programme. One was Concerto, the other Valses Nobles et Sentimentales with The Invitation completing the evening).

Three years after Symphony, MacMillan turned again to Shostakovich, this time to the exuberant second piano concerto (which he had written for his son Maxim’s 19th birthday). Like SymphonyConcerto is plotless. There is a different pair of soloists for each of the three movements (for the premiere the third movement had to be hastily rechoreographed for a solo woman, Silvia Kesselheim – her partner broke his foot days beforehand). In the background are three subsidiary couples and a corps of sixteen women and eight men.

Concerto was danced on a bright stage, (darkening only for the andante) and against a plain backdrop; Jürgen Rose’s costumes, plain tights and short tunics were from a palette of olive and ochre. The opening allegro began with broad sweeping unison movements for Carli and Kapuste. Horst Koegler, who reviewed the opening night for Dance and Dancers, was struck by the latter. “Berlin’s miracle boy...spinning like mad, enjoying himself in exhibiting his high spirited dancing – youthful energy unbound......a marvellous performance.”

For the central andante MacMillan created a languorous pas de deux for Lynn Seymour and Rudolf Holz. In her autobiography Seymour remembers this as “a romantic impressionistic sequence which resulted from Kenneth slyly observing me working alone, an hour on pointe before evening rehearsals. He transported curving movements of concentrated simplicity – an arm slowly dropping, a leg stretching sensuously – into a joyous pas de deux.”

For Koegler, this movement was the most effective of the three. “It starts with both partners heading for each other from different sides of the stage. When they have met, Seymour begins with a very simple port de bras exercise, beautifully presented in all its variations. Seymour lends it an almost dreamlike quality, languorous, yearning and yet relaxed, and having made her piece with herself. Holz has not more to do than to be her partner – a function he fills with quiet distinction. This is a piece of pure choreographic poetry”.

The final movement, in Koegler’s description, was “all dazzling manèges, a whizzing pool of spinning bodies, dashing diagonals – with Silvia Kesslheim darting through it like one of those long-legged Balanchine amazons in search of her partner who somehow got lost.” (When, eventuallyConcerto, reached the Royal Ballet, MacMillan did not restore the missing male part).

Alexander Bland of The Observer, also reported on MacMillan’s Berlin opening, on “a lavish concern in a fine modern building....and a very adequate company.” Bland was impressed by the pas de deux for Seymour and Holz. OfConcerto taken in the round, Bland wrote, “Apart from minor innovations it is pure classicism....and (is) continually pleasing. Thus ended what has been hailed locally as the birth of a new age in Berlin ballet.“

  • First performance: Deutsche Oper, Berlin, 30 November 1966

  • Company: Ballet of the Deutsche Oper

  • Cast: Didi Carli, Falco Kapuste, Lynn Seymour, Rudolf Holz, Silvia Kesselheim

  • Music: Shostakovich, Piano Concert No. 2

  • Design: Jürgen Rose

  • Benesh notation score: Faith Worth (1967) Working score

Anastasia


Anastasia


In summer 1967, Kenneth MacMillan had hoped to end his first season as ballet director in West Berlin with a new production of The Sleeping Beauty. When this had to be delayed, he substituted a triple bill consisting of Diversions, Solitaire and a new work, Anastasia.

MacMillan had been powerfully struck by the case of Anna Anderson, a psychiatric patient in Berlin in the 1920s, who had had tried to commit suicide by jumping into a canal. She had claimed to her rescuers to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia, daughter of the last Tsar, Nicholas II. Somehow, she told those who would listen, she had escaped the massacre of the Imperial Russian family by the Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg in 1918. For MacMillan, Anna Anderson’s story opened a rich seam; compelling material for a ballet on psychosis and memory.

In a programme note MacMillan described his heroine as “the woman believed to be Anastasia” and the doubt thereby left hanging is what gives the ballet its dramatic tension. The setting is a mental hospital, where the dowdy Anna sits on her bed attended by nurses. First she struggles to recall who she is, and, having remembered, she struggles to persuade others of her identity. A chorus of formidable Russian émigré women inspect her, shake their heads and laugh derisively. She is shown old film of pre-Revolution Anna and suddenly, seeing a child’s face, she is animated. The memories that are evoked are not in sequential time, but are kaleidoscopically episodic; children at play; a sinister monk who might be Rasputin; a flurry of soldiers and an execution; flight, huddled on a wheelbarrow; life with a man who fathers her child; another shooting; another flight. But by the close, Anna knows she is Anastasia and a hospital bed becomes in her mind a stately carriage, on which Anna stands high. As the stage resolves, Anna on her bed makes a royal progress in what seems triumphant self-realisation.

copyright Graham Brandon  Lynn Seymour as Anna Andersen in Anastasia 1989

MacMillan broke new ground when he made Anastasia. The movement is strongly expressionist and for one critic, the ballet recalled Martha Graham’s dance dramas. Another innovation was the use of silent film, which was projected on two curving screens, to animate the action on stage below. MacMillan’s choice of score was apposite. Martinu’s sixth symphony was itself an act of recollection, written several years after the composer had had a serious head injury; in writing it Martinu was seeking to summon up - and makes sense of - a confused past. In addition, MacMillan used electronic music created in a studio at the Technical University of Berlin to set the opening scene. The projected film of the Tsar’s family came from a documentary From Tsar to Stalin. Because MacMillan was spending so heavily on the delayed production of The Sleeping Beauty, there was almost no money for designs. This meant that the designer Barry Kay had to improvise and use costumes from the Deutsche Oper wardrobe. The only luxury was stage rehearsal time, vital for Anastasia because of the production’s reliance on lighting and projected film.

In the event, the ballet was successful with audiences and warmly praised both in the Berlin papers and by those critics who had travelled from London. For John Percival of The Times, whose review appeared the morning after the premiere, Anastasia was “unusual, daring and tremendously stirring” and on a bolder scale than anything MacMillan had previously attempted. “To hold the ballet together”, he wrote, “demands a powerful effort from its protagonist, which Lynn Seymour makes magnificently. To add to her difficulties, she has to begin one duet holding her baby, and end another on a revolving stage, but nothing daunts her for a moment.”

The Guardian’s critic, Craig Dodd, also praised Seymour’s performance, both as dancer and actress, noting thatAnastasia was “effectively MacMillan’s first attempt at a piece of ‘total theatre’”. Dodd also singled out Barry Kay’s designs. “He has marshalled all the effects into an exciting stage picture, a final masterstroke being a line of tailors’ dummies wearing the clothes of the Tsarist family, mute echoes of Anastasia’s past.”

In 1971, when MacMillan had returned to London as director of The Royal Ballet, the one-act Anastasia he had made in Berlin became the third act of a full-length ballet. It was not until 1994 that DNA evidence proved that Anna Anderson could not have been a member of the Russian Imperial family. Even if she wasn’t who she claimed, MacMillan thought her story compelling. As he told Clement Crisp in 1971, “I found in her story a theme that has sometimes appeared in my work before; the Outsider figure. Anastasia seems to me to be a supreme example of this.”

  • First performance: Deutsche Oper, Berlin, 25 June 1967

  • Company: Ballet of the Deutsche Oper

  • Cast: Lynn Seymour, Rudolf Holz, Vergie Derman, Gerhard Bohner

  • Music: Bohuslav Martinu, Symphony No. 6 (Fantaisies symphoniques); electronic score, Fritz Winckel and Rudiger Rufer

  • Design: Barry Kay

  • Benesh notation score: Monica Parker (1968), Working score, one act version

The Sleeping Beauty


The Sleeping Beauty


“As Germany has no real tradition of classical ballet”, Kenneth MacMillan told Ian Woodward of The Guardian in 1969, “my policy when I first came out here was to show them what the real thing is all about, and then to do my own things as well.” On MacMillan’s own account, his time as the director of the ballet at the Deutsche Oper in West Berlin was tough going. “When I did my new Sleeping Beauty, the critics said I should have done my own choreography because I was a better choreographer than Petipa”. When MacMillan staged Balanchine’s Ballet Imperial there was barracking from a section of the audience, who seemed to object to the ballet on ideological grounds (it also may have been true that the Balanchine work was a challenge too far for the Deutsche Oper ballet of the day.)

Nonetheless, wrote John Percival, The Times critic, “TheSleeping Beauty is the work that shows how far MacMillan can lead them when the circumstances are right. With a company, many of whom had never before seen any of Petipa’s choreography, let alone danced it, the elaborate production was an insurance against any deficiency of performance. In the event, they need not have worried”

MacMillan worked from Petipa’s original, repatriating Aurora to her native Russia and to Barry Kay’s luxuriant setting of a Kremlinesque imperial palace. For Alexander Bland of The Observer this was “a world Fabergé might have dreamed up if he had had taste”. The time transition from the first act to the last is from the court of Catherine the Great to that of Alexander III; from the wigs and pannier skirts of the late eighteenth century to the bustled skirts and uniforms of the late nineteenth. For Horst Koegler of Dance and Dancers, it was as if Petipa and Tchaikovsky might have been guests at the royal wedding apotheosis. “The transformation scene when the whole stage revolves in a dark sea of lamps and fronds”, reported Alexander Bland.

Courtesy of the Barry Kay Archive

Choreographically, the prologue and first act kept close to the Royal Ballet’s version. MacMillan made new dances for the hunting party; for Aurora (Lynn Seymour at the premiere) and her attendants in Act II; he restored the Jewel Fairies in the last act, expanded to a pas de sept; and there was a “Mazurka with Moiseyev-like formations for 30 dancers” at the end. The character divertissements were restricted toSiamese cats and the Bluebirds.

For Trevor Gee of The Times, Seymour’s Aurora was “distinguished more by appealing charm than assured grandeur”, but Vergie Derman’s Good Fairy (not Lilac Fairy in this production – lilac would have been at odds with Barry Kay’s palette) was “cool, capable and serene”, and Rudolf Holz a “handsome-looking but modestly talented Florimund.”

The Berlin dancers were, according to Gee, extended to the limit of their techniques and in some cases beyond it. Yet, a year later in November 1968, John Percival could report on how impressive the company’s dancing had become over twelve months (and only sixteen performances). “The six fairy solos in the prologue were well done. Falco Kapuste and Silvia Kesselheim were well above average in the Bluebird pas de deux and MacMillan’s Mazurka in the finale showed with what fire and pace the corps de ballet as a whole could dance.”

A dissenting voice was that of Horst Koegler, who had some sympathy with those Berlin critics who thought that MacMillan should have substituted his own choreography for Petipa’s. “Once MacMillan had decided to produce a KremlinSleeping Beauty, he should have switched over to a Bolshoi-style of choreography. If it can’t be St Petersburg champagne, then let it be Moscow burgundy. As it is, Petipa’s enchaînements look rather sombre and oppressed and altogether out of place in these very different surroundings and dressings.” Of Seymour, Koegler wrote that “her sensuous charm and warmness work on a different wavelength from Petipa’s diamond cut.”

Like John Percival, The Observer’s Alexander Bland saw some later performances in 1968, with two guest artists from Stuttgart, Marcia Haydeé and Richard Cragun.

MacMillan struggled constantly with the Deutsche Oper’s administration. Despite the house’s high budgets, ballet was opera’s poor relation. Ballet performances were scheduled erratically, which made it hard for the company to develop cohesion in its performances. There were union problems too. MacMillan complained that dancers were unwilling to do two performances a day, whenever he could persuade the Deutsche Oper to schedule them. “The ridiculous thing”, he told The Guardian, “is that the dancers only do three performances a month at most.” His Sleeping Beauty did not strongly engage Berliners. Now, MacMillan said, he understood their tastes. “Give your ballets a strong dramatic and erotic quality, and you can’t go wrong.”

  • First performance: Deutsche Oper, Berlin, 8 October 1967

  • Company: Ballet of the Deutsche Oper

  • Choreography: Marius Petipa and Kenneth MacMillan

  • Cast: Lynn Seymour, Rudolf Holz, Vergie Derman, Hannelore Peters, Marion Cito, Silvia Kesselheim, Falco Kapuste, Katia Dubois, Gert Schulze, Gerhard Bohner

  • Music: Plot Ilyich Tchaikovsky, TheSleeping Beauty

  • Design: Barry Kay

Olympiad


Olympiad


This work was first staged in an Olympic year 1968, when the Games were held in Mexico City. Already in Germany there was eager anticipation of the Games to be held four years later in Munich. It is not difficult to view Olympiad as a straightforward crowd-pleaser. MacMillan was still director of the Ballet of the Deutsche Oper. While audiences in Berlin showed naked contempt for anything that smacked of the classical repertory, MacMillan had found greater acceptance for contemporary pieces, his own included.

Other choreographers had already been attracted to Stravinsky’s score (Hans Van Manen (1963), Aurel Milloss (1960)), for its surges of rhythmic power culminating in the concluding agitato (with its strong afterimages of The Rite of Spring). Olympiad’s idiom is neo-classical, the symphony’s outer movements playful explorations of athleticism. In the first, movement the male principals limber, jump, run and spar. The middle section is a choreographed mixed doubles tennis match with a leading role for Seymour (tennis had not, at the time, been played at the Olympics for more than sixty years). The finale, with a large corps de ballet, recalls the marathon.

The principal dancers, six men and three women were costumed in light blue track suits and short pleated tennis skirts; the improvised designs were MacMillan’s - there was almost no budget for costumes).

According to Stravinsky, he had written his symphony ‘under the impression of world events....each episode is linked in my imagination with a specific cinematographic impression of war’, the third movement a more specific reaction to an encounter with Brown Shirts in Munich in 1932. When in 1969 Olympiad was staged at Covent Garden (an unintended substitution for Cain and Abel), the programme notes were devoted not to the choreography, but, rather jarringly, to Stravinsky’s remarks about its genesis. According to MacMillan’s earlier biographer, Edward Thorpe, the choreographer conceded subsequently that half way through creating the work, he realised he had ‘not understood the aims of the music’.

Clement Crisp’s view of Olympiad as a “happy venture in the refreshing of classical steps” was not widely shared. Horst Koegler, while allowing that MacMillan was ‘a genuine choreographer of the instinctive kind’, thought the choreography no more than ‘perfectly danceable’. For The Guardian’s James Kennedy, Olympiad show(ed) MacMillan in one of those troughs between his peaks of achievement”

The Sphinx was performed once and was not notated.

  • First performance: Deutsche Oper, Berlin 11 March 1968

  • Company: Ballet of the Deutsche Oper

  • Cast: Lynn Seymour, Hennelore Peters, Klaus Beelitz, Rudolf Holz, Falco Kapuste

  • Music: Igor Stravinsky, Symphony in Three Movements (1946)

  • Benesh notation score: Monica Parker (1968/1969, Master Score)

The Sphinx


The Sphinx


Kenneth MacMillan was commissioned by John Cranko to create The Sphinx for four of his principal dancers at Stuttgart Ballet. It is named for the ballet’s opening frieze; Marcia Haydée, resting sphinx like across the outstretched hands of Madsen, Cragun and Clauss. Each dancer has a variation. Sphinx ends with the three men, this time crouched on the floor on hand and knee; Haydée, again in a sphinx like pose straddled across their backs, seems to chop their heads off with a giant split-step. “In between”, wrote Horst Koegler, in Dance and Dancers was “the strangest, most distant and least MacMillan like ballet I have ever seen.”

The choreography, spiky and piquant, had a ritual like quality with, in Koegler’s words, Haydée as a “perversely smiling and yet so very distant Coptic Turandot.” Haydée also signalled a series of riddles with her fingers, while standing on pointe, a recurring sequence of 4-2-3, which mystified audiences and critics alike. According to Edward Thorpe, the theme was “the familiar one of the Theban monster – an animal with a woman’s head – who asked travellers: what is it that goes upon two legs in the morning three legs in the afternoon and four legs in the evening? Those who could not solve the riddle were killed.” (The answer: a man in his progress from crawling infancy, to maturity on two feet and a stick support in old age)

Koegler had failed to solve the riddle: “For certainly I had arrived at a completely wrong solution, identifying the Sphinx with the German Opera, Berlin, and the three solver-victims with its procession of frustrated ballet-masters and choreographers who tried in vain to master its complex ballet problems.”

The Sphinx was performed once and was not notated.

  • First performance: Württemburgische Staatstheater, Stuttgart, 1 June, 1968

  • Company: Stuttgart Ballet

  • Cast: Marcia Haydée, Egon Madsen, Richard Cragun, Heinz Clauss

  • Music: Darius Milhaud, Five Small Symphonies (extracts)

  • Design: Elisabeth Dalton

Cain and Abel


Cain and Abel


“There is not much left of the Biblical story except the killing: this is a story from The Book of Freud”, wrote Alexander Bland of Kenneth MacMillan’s Cain and Abel for the Ballet of the Deutsche Oper. In this telling of the story, the brothers are rivals for their mother’s affections. And the Outsider motif emerges again in a MacMillan work, this time as Cain. His suffering is not of remorse at slaying his brother, but is, rather, caused by expulsion from the family.

As the ballet opens, the family is represented as a sea of ribbons, cross-crossing the stage, held tightly by dancers at the rim. Eve, mater familias, reclines at the centre. She reigns supreme; Adam, on the other hand is tyrannical, yet ineffective. The men, Adam, together with his sons, dive repeatedly into the ribbons of family life. But there is another presence too, that of The Snake. He coils and winds himself around every grouping, until their unity undone, Adam, Eve,Cain and Abel descend into fractiousness.

Cain and Abel design ©Barry Kay Archive

Cain and Abel design ©Barry Kay Archive

Eve warmly embraces Abel, to Cain’s intense jealousy. It is this, not God’s displeasure at Cain’s offering that precipitates creation’s first murder. MacMillan’s Cain is already a figure apart. As he is increasingly possessed by jealousy and anger, he leaps across the stage in great desperate arcs. After a sequence involving the snake and the two brothers, drum rolls herald Cain’s overflow of rage. After a taut intense struggle Cain murders Abel. Overcome by what he has done, Abel tries to crawl for shelter between his parents’ bodies. With great force they expel him from the family, which binds itself against him with its ribbons. Cain stumbles off, dragging his brother’s body.

“It is a little undigested in parts”, Alexander Bland wrote. “You feel that MacMillan is trying out a new language rather than exploiting a familiar one. But it works, and it has the special flavour of new basic discovery. Both the choreographer and his young anti-hero clearly promise us some surprises for the future.” There was general praise for the cast, in particular for Frank Frey’s portrayal of Abel (“A powerful young man with a prodigious jump and a glowering dramatic presence”, according to Bland). When the production was restaged a year later, Rudolf Nureyev flew to Berlin to see it, as the role of Cain was one he coveted. But MacMillan would not agree to a Royal Ballet staging without Frank Frey and it was abandoned.

Cain and Abel appeared in a triple bill with Cranko’s Opus Iand Balanchine’s Ballet Imperial. In November 1968, the Deutsche Oper unusually scheduled eleven consecutive ballet nights, which included all the productions staged there since MacMillan became director.

  • First performance: Deutsche Oper, Berlin, 1 November 1967

  • Company: Ballet of the Deutsche Oper

  • Cast: Frank Frey, Daniel Job, Dorothea Binner, Rudolf Holz, Gerhard Bohner

  • Score: Andrzej Panufnik, Sinfonia Sacra and Tragic Overture

  • Design: Barry Kay

Swan Lake


Swan Lake


This was Kenneth MacMillan’s final production at the Deutsche Oper before he returned to London to direct the Royal Ballet and it remained in the company’s repertoire for many years afterwards. In a characteristically distinctive reinterpretation of a classic, MacMillan yet again behaved as an analyst to his stage characters.

With a few deft brush-strokes he presented the story of Swan Lake in an entirely new light, centering the ballet on the Prince. During the overture the curtain rises to reveal him sleeping. What follows is the Prince’s dark nightmare. In the apotheosis there is a quick-change surprise happy ending: he wakes to find a young woman – his ideal – in front of him.

In her biography of Kenneth MacMillan, Different Drummer, Jann Parry cited MacMillan’s draft in English of the programme note: “I have made the Prince a young, freedom-loving man, raised in a court that is suffocating him by the fact that his mother is arranging a marriage for him. To compensate for this the Prince develops into wild fantasies and dreams. Therefore the whole ballet becomes a dream, in which he must struggle against forces that prevent him from reaching full maturity as a man, and the freedom of choice that he desires.”

The figure of Rothbart, who lent a sinister glamour to the staging, is the Prince’s inner demon; the Swan Queen he summons up is a false heroine; and when in the final act Rothbart is overcome by the Prince, he is revealed as Death. “The translation of the old bird-bogyman into our old friend, The Dark Stranger”, wrote The Observer’s Alexander Bland, “adds a new dimension of romanticism and adds an undertone of Hamlet to the hero’s character. His relationship to the phantom on the balustrade hints strongly at Rothbart as a father-figure from whom he seeks release.”

Nicholas Georgiadis, against convention, set the production in the Napoleonic period. The structure was essentially traditional; Act One is virtually intact, but with new court dances by MacMillan and the pas de trois given to four dancers. Later there was a new Black Swan pas de deux. Of the performances, Bland noted that Seymour was “theatrical as ever, though not yet sufficiently recovered from her recent illness to give quite her old theatrical punch”, while Frey had “inborn stage presence and a fine generous movement.” In her biography, Lynn Seymour recalled of Frei that other dancers called him the Neanderthal Man. “His quirky dance qualities appealed to Kenneth who always sought anti-cliché dancers. He thought we were the most strikingly odd couple he had ever seen in Swan Lake.

  • First performance: Deutsche Oper, Berlin, 14 May 1969

  • Company: Ballet of the Deutsche Oper

  • Cast: Lynn Seymour, Frank Frey, Gerhard Bohner

  • Score: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

  • Design: Nicholas Georgiadis

Miss Julie


Miss Julie


The making of Miss Julie was an unhappy experience for Kenneth MacMillan in Stuttgart. It led to a breach in his relationship with John Cranko and MacMillan did not make another work for Stuttgart Ballet until after Cranko’s death. During Miss Julie’s gestation there were tensions in the company and the eventual ballet was not considered a success, even by critics usually warm to MacMillan’s work.

Set drawing for Miss Julie ©Barry Kay Archive

Set drawing for Miss Julie ©Barry Kay Archive

Strindberg’s original play powerfully portrays the downfall of its aristocratic anti-heroine because of her infatuation with a servant. There is a rich web of tension; the power of class and the countervailing power of sexual attraction. But the story ofMiss Julie seemed to Clement Crisp an overly obvious target, “which so suggested ‘a MacMillan ballet’ in its exploration of sexual identity as to be almost self-parodistic. It had all the necessary components of passion and social tension yet did not seem to challenge him.”

From the outset there were tensions. Stuttgart’s dancers were unhappy with MacMillan’s insistence on casting Frank Frey from the Deutsche Oper Ballet as Jean, the valet. MacMillan prized highly Frey’s muscularity and dramatic stage presence. Frey had made a powerful impression in Cain and Abel; MacMillan had already refused to replace Frei with Rudolf Nureyev in a planned Royal Ballet production of that ballet, on which rock the plans perished.

In Stuttgart, however, MacMillan was determined to cast Frei as a powerful foil to Haydée’s Miss Julie and John Cranko, Stuttgart’s director, relented. In the event, neither made a decisive impact and for a combination of reasons, an incomplete conception on MacMillan’s part coupled with company tensions (Cranko’s interference with costumes; inadequate time spent on the set), the production failed and only had a handful of performances.

  • First performance: Württembergische Staatstheater, Stuttgart, 8 March 1970

  • Company: Stuttgart Ballet

  • Cast: Marcia Haydée, Frank Frey, Birgit Keil

  • Score: Andrzej Panufnik (commissioned score)

  • Design: Barry Kay

  • Benesh notation score: Monica Parker (1970). Working score (incomplete)

Pavane


Pavane


This was a piéce d’occasion for a gala at Covent Garden to celebrate Britain’s accession in January 1973 to the European Community and was the first of two MacMillan contributions to the evening’s programme (in the other Rudolf Nureyev and Lynn Seymour danced the Side Show pas de deux). The couple in Pavane were Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell, who also designed the costumes.

For Mary Clarke, writing in Dancing Times, the pas de deux was “one of the loveliest he (MacMillan) has written; not perhaps Gala fare, too sensitive and delicate, but with some extraordinarily beautiful lifts and changes of direction.”Pavane took on an intensely elegiac quality when, after Kenneth MacMillan’s death, Birmingham Royal Ballet added performances to a mixed programme as a tribute to his memory. The dancers were Marion Tait and Kevin O’Hare.

  • First performance: Covent Garden, 13 January 1973

  • Company: The Royal Ballet

  • Cast: Antoinette Sibley, Anthony Dowell

  • Music: Gabriel Fauré, Pavane

  • Design: Anthony Dowell

  • Benesh notation score: Monica Parker (1973). Preliminary master score

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