Vienna State Opera Ballet

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Erika Hanka (1905—1958)

Gyula Harangozó (1908—1974)


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Austrian ballet company based at the Vienna Staatsoper. The first ballet production at the new Opera House on the Ring, which opened in 1869, was a revival of P. Taglioni's Sardanapal. The German dancer Karl Telle, who ran the ballet company until 1890, staged productions of Coppélia (1876) and Sylvia (1877). His successor, Josef Hassreiter, staged nearly 50 ballets during his reign, which continued until 1920. Heinrich Kroller (1922–8) offered ballets to music by Richard Strauss. Margaretha Wallmann directed the State Opera Ballet and its school (1934–9). During the Second World War the theatre's stage and auditorium were gutted by bombs and the Staatsoper was rebuilt, opening again in 1955. Erika Hanka, who ran the company for more than fifteen years until her death in 1958, made about 50 ballets, including Der Mohr von Venedig (The Moor of Venice), which was premiered on 29 Nov. 1955 to celebrate the first evening of dance in the reopened Staatsoper. Hanka brought current ideas in European modern dance into the repertoire, although she was also responsible for introducing the classics to the new theatre. After Hanka's death the company underwent a period of instability. Key productions in the 1960s and 1970s included Nureyev's stagings of Swan Lake (1964, revived 1996) and Don Quixote (1966), and Grigorovich's Nutcracker (1973). Russian guest artists frequently performed with the company; and the Russian ballet mistress Elena Tchernichova did much to improve technical standards when she directed the company (1991–3). Gerhard Brunner, artistic director from 1976 to 1980, commissioned new ballets from Neumeier (Josephslegende, 1977), van Manen (Grand Trio, 1978), van Dantzig (Ulysses, 1979), and Jochen Ulrich (Tantz-Schul, 1988). In 1995 Renato Zanella was appointed director commissioning Vladimir Malakhov to stage La Bayadère for the company in 1999. Gyula Harangozó (jun.) was appointed director in 2005, however the company's development continued to be hampered by the dominance of opera productions within the theatre and its repertory remained a conservative mix of 19th-century classics and key MacMillan and Cranko works (e.g. Mayerling and Onegin). In 2010 Harangozó was succeeded by Manuel Legris.

http://www.wienerstaatsoper.at Website for Vienna State Opera with link to the ballet

Subjects: Dance.

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