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Ballet in three acts with choreography and libretto by Ashton, music by Hans Werner Henze, and designs by Lila de Nobili. Premiered 27 Oct. 1958 by the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, with Fonteyn, Somes, Farron, and A. Grant. Ashton based his libretto on the novel by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, which tells of a water-nymph who falls in love with a mortal, with fatal consequences for both. Ashton's fourth three-act ballet, it was the first to have a commissioned score, composed according to the choreographer's libretto. It also marked the culmination of his creative partnership with Fonteyn; some considered it to be her greatest created role. The role of Ondine had initially been associated with Fanny Cerrito, who appeared in Perrot's 1843 version. The famous pas de l'ombre (shadow dance), in which Ondine sees her shadow for the first time, was adopted by Ashton for his version. Henze's score was later choreographed by Alan Carter for Bavarian State Opera Ballet in Munich (1959), by Tatjana Gsovsky for Berlin Ballet (1959), by Nicholas Beriozoff for Zurich State Opera Ballet (1965), and by Imre Eck for Hungarian State Opera Ballet in Budapest (1969). Earlier versions included stagings by Louis Henry (mus.Gyrowetz, Vienna, 1825), Paul Taglioni (mus. H. Schmidt, Berlin, 1836), and Jules Perrot (mus. Pugni, London, 1843), whose Ondine, ou, La Naïade, was later staged by Petipa for St Petersburg in 1874 as The Naïad and the Fisherman. In a 1903 restaging at the Mariinsky (Shiryaev after Petipa and Perrot), Pavlova danced Ondine.

Subjects: Dance.

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