Legend of Joseph

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(orig. Ger. title. Die Josephslegende; title of Paris first production La Légende de Joseph)

Ballet in one act with choreography by Fokine, libretto by H. G. Kessler and H. von Hofmannsthal, music by R. Strauss, set by J. M. Sert, and costumes by Bakst. Premiered 14 May 1914 by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes at the Paris Opera with Kousnetzova and Massine—the latter's debut performance with the company. It is set to Strauss's ballet score of the same title and based on the biblical story in which Joseph virtuously rejects the lascivious advances of Potiphar's wife. However, its setting was updated to the court of a 16th-century Venetian doge and the ballet concluded with Potiphar's wife strangling herself with her rope of pearls. Later versions include Kröller (Berlin Staatsoper, 1921), Balanchine (Royal Danish Ballet, Copenhagen, 1931), Tudor (Teatro Colón, 1958), Neumeier (Vienna, 1977, the first purely dance version of the work), B. R. Beinert (Zurich), and Spoerli (Düsseldorf), both 1992.

Subjects: Dance.

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