Stravinsky ballet dating from 1911
It’s true that the main characters are puppets, rather than rounded human beings.
There we’re immersed in a human world, which exudes the very specific cultural ambience of Russia.Pulcinella is a one-act neoclassical ballet by Igor Stravinsky based on an 18th-century play Quartre Polichinelles semblables ("Four identical Pulcinellas").Pulcinella is a stock character originating from commedia dell'arte.It was 100 years ago that the most famous scandal in the history of the arts took place, at a swanky new theatre in Paris. The cosmopolitan German aristocrat Count Harry Kessler said that “it was the most dazzling house I’ve ever seen in Paris”.Jean Cocteau wrote that “the smart audience in tails and tulle, diamonds and ospreys, was interspersed with the suits and bandeaux of the aesthetic crowd.Whereas classical dance aspired upwards, in defiance of gravity, Nijinsky’s dancers seemed pulled down to the earth.Their strange, jerky movements and awkward poses defied every canon of gracefulness.The ballet premiered at the Paris Opera on under the baton of Ernest Ansermet. The ballet score was revised by Stravinsky in 1965.The dancer Léonide Massine created both the libretto and choreography, and Pablo Picasso designed the original costumes and sets. Diaghilev wanted a ballet based on an early eighteenth-century commedia dell'arte libretto and music then believed to have been composed by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.At a deeper level, the music negates the very thing that for most people gives it meaning: the expression of human feelings.As Stravinsky put it, “there are simply no regions for soul-searching in The Rite of Spring”.