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Pillar of Fire


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Ballet in one act with choreography and libretto by Tudor, music by Schoenberg, designs by Jo Mielziner. Premiered 8 Apr. 1942 by Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, with Kaye, Chase, Annabelle Lyon, Tudor, and Laing. The music is Schoenberg's Transfigured Night, and the Richard Dehmel poem which inspired the score was also inspiration for Tudor's libretto. Set in small-town New England it portrays the fraught emotional situation that arises when Hagar, the ballet's sexually repressed heroine, believes the man she loves prefers her younger sister, and in despair gives herself to a sadistic stranger (the Man Opposite). She confesses her betrayal to her lover who forgives her. One of Tudor's greatest works, it was a landmark in the genre of psychological ballet. It was revived for the Royal Swedish Ballet (1962), the Vienna State Opera Ballet (1969), Australian Ballet (1969), and Birmingham Royal Ballet (1995). Kylián choreographed a different version for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1975 and Petit did his own version for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1976 using the Schoenberg score.

Subjects: Dance.


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