Le Diable à quatre

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(Eng. title The Devil to Pay or The Wives Metamorphosed)

Ballet in three acts with choreography by Mazilier, libretto by Adolphe de Leuven, music by Adam, sets by P. L. C. Ciceri, E. D. J. Despléchin, and C. Séchan, and costumes by P. Lormier. Premiered 11 Aug. 1845 at the Paris Opera with Grisi, L. Petipa, Mazilier, and Maria Jacob. The plot is based on an English farce of the same title and contrasts the lives of two Polish women, a spoilt Countess and Mazourka, a sweet-tempered woman who is married to a brutal basket-maker called Mazourki. The two women encounter a magician disguised as a blind fiddler. The Countess behaves offensively but Mazourka is kind and in return he causes them to change places for a day. Mazourka astonishes everybody at the Countess's castle with her unexpected kindness while the Countess has to suffer Mazourki's rough treatment. Chastened, she promises to behave more humanely when returned to her real life, while Mazourki promises never to beat his wife again. The ballet's simple comic realism, rare during the Romantic era, was warmly praised, and gave Grisi the opportunity to display a sparkling wit, rather than her usual poetic lyricism. The first London production was at the Drury Lane Theatre (1845) and the first in New York at Broadway Theater (1848).

Subjects: Dance.

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