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Ballet by John Neumeier

Afternoon of a Faun

Music: Claude Debussy
Choreography: John Neumeier

Dresden Ballet, Semperoper, October 12, 1996
Premiere in Hamburg:
Nijinsky-Gala XXIII, May 18, 1997

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The Afternoon of a Faun – Eclogue

Those nymphs, I want to perpetuate them.
So bright,
Their light rosy flesh, that it hovers in the air
Drowsy with tangled slumbers.

Did I love a dream?
My doubt, hoard of ancient night, is crowned
In a many a subtle branch, which, remaining the true
Woods themselves, proves, alas! that alone I offered
Myself as a triumph the perfect sin of roses.
Let us reflect ...

or if the women you describe
Represent a desire of your fabulous senses!
Faun, the illusion flows from the cold blue eyes
Of the most chaste like a spring of tears:
But the other, all sighs, do you say she contrasts
Like the warm day's breeze in your fleece?
But no! through the still and weary rapture
Stifling the cool morning with heat should it struggle,
No water murmurs unless poured by my flute
On the thicket sprinkled with melody; and the
Only wind, quick to escape the twin pipes before
Scattering the sound in an arid rain, is,
On the smooth untroubled surface of the horizon,
The visible and serene artificial breath
Of inspiration returning to the sky...

Motionless, everything burns in the tawny hour
Without revealing by what art together they fled
Too much hymen desired by one seeking the perfect note:
Then shall I rouse myself to the first fervour,
Upright and alone, under an ancient stream of light,
Lilies! and in my innocence I am one with you.

Stéphane Mallarmé