Ballet in ten Themes by John Neumeier
based on William Shakespeare

 

Music
  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Choreography
Staging
  John Neumeier
Set
Costumes
  Klaus Hellenstein

 

World Premiere
The Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, July 13, 1985

 

Original Cast    
Rosalind
  Lynne Charles
Celia
  Colleen Scott
Orlando
  Ivan Liska
Oliver
  François Klaus
Touchstone
  Gabrielle Manferdini
für Max Midinet
Phebe
  Chantal Lefèvre
Silvius
  Jeffrey Kirk
Jaques   Roy Wierzbicki
Duke Senior   Anders Hellström
Duke Frederick
  Eduardo Bertini
Le Beau
  Maurice Courchay
Charles
  Stephen Pier
Audrey
  Gigi Hyatt
Eva
  Bettina Beckmann
Adam   Eric Miot
William   William Parton

 

Synopsis

Theme 1 - Nature
Andante from the Quartett in G-Major for flute, violine, viola and violoncello, KV 285a
Jaques walks alone.

This tree. I threw a stone at this tree. It didn't come back.
I climbed it slowly and lost myself in a distant land.
Karl Krolow

Theme 2 - Injustice
Symphony in G-Major No. 10, KV 74 (Allegro – Andante – Allegro)
Symphony in D-Major No. 23, KV 181 (Allegro spirituoso – Andante grazioso – Presto assai)

Oliver strikes his brother Orlando. Duke Frederick, Le Beau and Charles the wrestler seize the Old Duke's crown and drive him into exile. Rosalind, the daughter of the exiled Duke, and Celia, the daughter of Duke Frederick, remain. A new court is created. Oliver forces Orlando to fight with Charles. Although Orlando wins, he too is exiled. Orlando and Rosalind fall in love at first sight. Duke Frederick expels Rosalind from the court as well. Celia and Touchstone the clown leave with her.

Theme 3 - Escape and disguise
Divertimento No. 10 in F-Major "Lodron", KV 247 (1st Movement: Allegro)
Everyone dons a disguise and they all flee to the Arden forest.

Theme 4 - Pastoral
Divertimento in F-Major No. 10 "Lodron", KV 247
(2nd and 3rd Movement: Andante grazioso – Menuetto)
"A Musical Joke" KV 522 (1st ,2nd, and 3rd Movement: Allegro – Menuetto – Adagio cantabile)

Phebe, the proud shepherdess, rejects the advances of the infatuated Silvius. Phebe falls in love with Ganymed, who is actually Rosalind in dsiguise. Audrey, a peasant girl, falls in love with Touchstone; he, on the other hand, has fallen for a woman who is in fact Orlando's servant Adam in disguise.

Theme 5 - Dreaming of the Golden Age
Flute Improvisation to 2nd Movement of Symphony in D-Major No. 23, KV 181
The Old Duke and his retinue dream of the Golden Age.

The Golden Age
At the beginning of the world there was an Age of Gold. It was a time that knew no king nor law, for Truth and Righteousness ruled without force; and punishment was a non-existent terror. War was completely unknown and did not disturb the serenity of man's sweet leisure. Streams of milk and streams of nectar flowed and the oak trees trickled with golden honey.
Ovid, Utopia

Theme 6 - Confusion of love
Divertimento in F-Major No. 10 "Lodron", KV 247
(4th, 5th and 6th Movement: Adagio – Menuetto – Andante/Allegro assai)

Rosalind/Ganymed wants to help Orlando get over his love. She pretends that she wants to play Rosalind for him. All the lovers, in a complete emotional muddle, meet each other.

Theme 7 - All the bad guys turn good
Serenade in D-Major No. 7 "Haffner", KV 250 (1st Movement: Allegro maestoso)
Oliver, who tried to steal the drown of Duke Frederick, flees to the Arden forest. When Duke Frederick, Le Beau and Charles attack him, Orlando saves his life. Oliver is overcome and gives Orlando all his possessions.

Theme 8 - In love with love
Serenade in D-Major No. 7 "Haffner", KV 250 (3rd and 2nd Movement: Menuetto – Andante)
"A Musical Joke", (Dorfmusikanten-Sextett) KV 522 (1st and 4th Movement: Allegro – Presto)

Rosalind/Ganymed often meets Orlando. Adam has had enough of being a transvestite and discards his woman's outfit. Audrey finds the clothes and dresses up in them, thus promptly attracting the attentions of Touchstone.

Theme 9 - Time
Flute Improviation to the 2nd Movement of Serenade in D-Major No. 7 "Haffner", KV 250
Jacques and the Old Duke contemplate the problem of Time.

Theme 10 - Happy End
Serenade in D-Major No. 7 "Haffner", KV 250
(6th and 8th Movement: Andante – Adagio/Allegro assai)
Adagio for violin and orchestra in E-Major, KV 261
Symphony in G-Major No. 10, KV 74 (3rd Movement: Allegro)

Oliver wants to marry Celia. Touchstone wants to marry Audrey. Duke Frederick, Le Beau and Charles decide to become monks and restore the crown to the Old Duke. Rosalind discards her disguise and throws herself into Orlando's arms. Phebe is now also ready to accept Silvius. Everyone leaves the Arden forest. Only Jaques remains, alone.

 

Review

John Neumeier's comedy ballet "As You Like It" will put you on a good mood as no other ballet has done for very long time. The choreography abounds with delightful inventiveness. The maelstrom of masquerade in the Forest of Arden develops out in the most comical and charming way.
Klaus Geitel, Die Welt

Azzoni - Riabko
 

Photos

 
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