Two Pigeons

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Ballet in two acts with choreography and libretto by Ashton, music by André Messager, arranged by John Lanchbery, and designs by Jacques Dupont. Premiered 14 Feb. 1961, by the Royal Ballet Touring Company at the Royal Opera House in London, with Seymour, Gable, and Anderton. Loosely based on La Fontaine's fable, Ashton's ballet transposes the story to Bohemian Paris in the late 19th century. A young painter, bored with his domestic life, flirts with a gypsy girl but is finally reconciled with his forgiving fiancée. The ballet's lightly comic demeanour hides a deeper, more serious statement about the loss of innocence in love. One of the ballet's many charms is its use of two live pigeons to represent the lovers. It was re-staged for the Royal Ballet in 1962 (with Seymour and Gable). It has also been revived for CAPAB Ballet (1968), Australian Ballet (1975), National Ballet of Canada (1979), Teatro Regio Ballet (1992), and Sarasota Ballet (2007). Les Deux Pigeons, the original production of the Messager score, with choreography by Louis Mérante, was premiered at the Paris Opera on 18 Oct. 1886 with Rosita Mauri and Marie Sanlaville. The hero was danced en travestie.

Subjects: Dance.

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