Thursday, 2 February 2012

Bacchus et Ariane

What happened to Ariadne after she helped Theseus get away from Crete afer killing her brother The Minotaur? Last chance to hear Albert Roussel's ballet Bacchus et Ariane free, online on BBC Radio 3. Ariadne's stuck on yet another island, Naxos this time, but along comes Bacchus, God of Wine and excess. With alcohol, Ariadne's frigidity dissolves and a kiss from Bacchus makes her immortal.

The music pulsates, with stamping "footprints" . Do they evoke sexual frustration, impatience or sheer physical exhiliration?  They're ideal for dancing too. The ballet was choreographed and danced by Serge Lifar in 1930, so perhaps the echoes of The Rite of Spring and L'après-midi d'un faune are deliberate in-jokes. Sets were designed by Georges de Chirico, whose painting of the sleeping.Ariadne is shown here. De Chirico's angles, unnatural lighting and surreal use of space create a curious sense of movement even though the subject is frozen immobile. Modernist art, modernist, modernist music, yet full of life and feeling.

1 comment:

Miss Bacchus said...

Love the story told through the ballet--notes of elegance and romanticism!