NewsEntertainmentFrom the Ballets Russes to Nureyev, Molière's legacy

From the Ballets Russes to Nureyev, Molière’s legacy


From Sergej de Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes to Nureyev, from Maurice Béjart to Sergio Bernal, Molière’s universe has always been in the heart of Terpsichore, a source of inspiration and a model of life. In the beginning it was the famous Russian impresario who staged, after a long silence, ‘Les facheux’, a ballet in one act, with a light and ‘courteous’ atmosphere, signed by Bronislava Nijinska, to music by Georges Auriac and libretto by Boris Kochno , loosely based on Molière’s comédie-ballet with Nijinska herself in one of the main roles alongside Léon Woizikowsky and Anton Dolin (debut January 19, 1924). The rebirth of the great French playwright in Terpsichore areas is due to Maurice Béjart, to his very personal story. On 3 December 1976 Maurice Béjart was staged at the Comédie Francaise with the premiere of his show ‘Molière imaginaire’, a masterpiece, one of the cornerstones of contemporary ballet, ‘written’ for his Ballet du XX Siècle. With this play, in fact, Béjart, staged alongside Robert Hirsch, Bertrand Pie, Jorge Donn, Rita Poelvoorde, consecrates a new form of entertainment. Reversing the words of Molière’s comédie-ballet and taking the definitive step in the direction of a total theater experience, which combined dance and music with singing and acting, the great French choreographer dramatized the legend of Molière by giving it the breath of own experiences. As Jean-Baptiste Poquelin had done in his day, the Marseille master and choreographer had also left his family to devote himself to the art of ballet. He changed his name from Berger to Béjart, the surname of the family of actors to which the young Poquelin had joined in 1643. A work in biographical music that tells Molière in the armchair of his ‘malade imaginaire’. The last months, the last days of his life by now tired, aged, abandoned by his wife, betrayed by his friend Lully and by the frivolous environment of the court, saddened by the disappearance of his only son, he is apparently a man with no more power. And it is in the finale of his ‘Molière imaginaire’ that Béjart redeems him by projecting him as a symbol of a cultural power that humiliates the king. Faced with the resurrection of Molière and his theater, the sovereign exclaimed: “c’est le siècle de Louis XIV ‘. And Molière replied:’ c’est mon siècle ‘. Three years later, on April 8, 1979, he made his debut at the New York State Theater the ‘Borghese Gentiluomo’ in George Balanchine’s choreographic reinterpretation, on the homonymous orchestral suite by Richard Strauss, for Rudolf Nureyev alongside Patricia McBride Jean-Pierre Bonnefous. ‘I’ve been dreaming of a comic role for years – he confessed – And here is the meeting with Balanchine. The dream comes true “. Few performances, a ballet not loved by the terrible American critics. “Pretentious spectacle – wrote Arle Croce on the pages of the New Yorker – A collaboration, the one between Nureyev and Balanchine, of short duration”. This was not the case. The ballet was performed the following year also at the Paris Opera. The latest tribute to Molière on 30 and 31 January at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome as part of the Les Etoiles gala, curated by Daniele Cipriani with the Spanish dancer Sergio Bernal who presents, as a preview in the capital, the solo ‘ Le Roi Danse ‘with the costume created for the occasion by a gentleman of international haute couture, Roberto Capucci.



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