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Ballet in two acts after William Shakespeare

Saturday, 19. November 2011
07:00 pm – 09:30 pm
Shanghai

Duration est. 2 hours 30 minutes · 1. Akt (est. 07:00 pm - 08:00 pm ) · Interval (est. 08:00 pm - 08:30 pm ) · 2. Akt (est. 08:30 pm - 09:25 pm )

#BSBTaming

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Cast

Choreographie
John Cranko
Bühne und Kostüme
Jürgen Rose

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Shakespeare's 1595 play provided the South-African choreographer John Cranko with a literary model for an evening of dramatic ballet, which was first performed in 1969 in Stuttgart before becoming part of the Bayerisches Staatsballett repertoire in 1976.

In The Taming of the Shrew, all is not quite what it seems. By the end, the prickly Katharina is tame, two whores become wives and Katharina's shy sister reveals herself to be a complete monster. This is how it happens: before Bianca is allowed to marry, a husband must be found for the stubborn, shrewish Katharina. For this, Bianca's admirers hire a daredevil called Petrucchio. To everyone's surprise, he not only succeeds in giving as good as he gets from the rebellious Katharina, but manages to bring out Katharina's true, kind and gentle self. This entertaining war of the sexes ends with an equal and loving partnership. 

 

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Act I

1. Outside Baptista’s House.
Hortensio, a fop, Lucentio a student, and Gremio, an elderly  roué, serenade the beautiful Bianca. Their love songs are brusquely interrupted by Katherina. Baptista explains to the suitors that Kate, as the elder of his two daughters, must be married first. Neighbors, awakened by rumpus, chase the thwarted lovers away.

2. A Tavern.
Petruchio, a gentleman of more generosity than means is stripped of his last penny by two ladies of the streets. The suitors suggest that he might be interested in the charms and the fortune of Katherina. He agrees.

3. Inside Baptista’s House.
Bianca muses over her preferences among her three suitors; she is interrupted by a jealous outburst from Kate who calls her a scheming flirt. This dispute is further interrupted by the arrival of Petruchio accompanied by Gremio, Lucentio, and Hortensio, disguised at Teachers of Singing, Dancing, and Music. Petruchio is none too favorably received by Kate.
Alone with Bianca the suitors doff their disguises and continue their wooing in the form of lessons. Bianca soon recognizes Lucentio as the most desirable.
Kate reacts violently against Petruchio’s protestations of passion thinking that they are a false mockery, but something in his manner convinces her enough to agree to the marriage.

4. A Street.
The neighbors on their way to Kate’s nuptials treat the matter as a huge joke. The three suitors join them, now in high hopes that Bianca will soon be won.

5. Baptista’s House.
The guests have arrived. Kate is in her bridal array, but the bridegroom appears to have forgotten the day. When he does appear, in fantastic garb, Petruchio misbehaves, ill-treats the priest, and carries-off the bride before the wedding festivities have begun.


Act II

1. The journey to Petruchio’s House.
Petruchio proceeds with his taming of Katherina by extinguishing the fire and finding fault with the food. Kate has a hard, cold, hungry night.

2. Carnival.
A masked and cloaked stranger appears to Gremio and Hortensio during the carnival. Both of them believing her to be Bianca are only too eager to take their marriage vows. Too late they discover that they have been duped and married vows. Too late they discover that they have been duped and married the two ladies of the streets, suitably briefed; bribed, and disguised by Lucensio.

3. Petruchio’s House again.
When Petruchio finds fault with the new clothes that he has ordered for Katherina, her weary resistance finanlly crumbles and she capitulates to her master; only to find that her master is kinder, wittier husband than she has imagined.

4. The journey to Bianca’s wedding.
Petruchio indulges in a few more whims and fancies, but Kate has learned her lesson, and joins in the fun.

5. Bianca’s wedding.
Gremio and Hortensio have found out that the joys of marriage are a mixed blessing, and even Lucentio has reason to fear that Bianca is not the angel that she appeared to be. Kate, on the other hand, and to everybody’s astonishment, turns out to be the truest, most obedient, most loving of wives. Which only goes to show that women are not always what they appear to be, or never judge a book by its cover.

Kurt-Heinz Stolze über die Musik

The music for The Taming of the Shrew is drawn from the huge legacy of more than 550 Sonatas for piano left by the great Neapolitan composer Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757), a contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach.
The model followed for the application and melding together of these themes from the various scores was Strawinsky’s Suite from Pulcinella, drawn from themes by Pergolesi. “After Scarlatti” is to be interpreted in a broad sense: variations on themes from the Sonatas are utilized, appearing sometimes as brief sketches and sometimes in a more formal style, typical of the composer. Occasionally hints of the baroque sound-idiom common to the two-part choral works or the concerto grosso of the period may be detected. The orchestra is set up as follows: eleven solo winds together with piano and percussion are placed opposite a chamber string group. Whatever the arrangement, Scarlatti’s colorful, diverse, vital music provides the ideal background for this ballet-comedy.

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Biographies

John Cranko was born on August 15, 1927 in Rustenburg, South Africa. He received his dance education mainly at the University of Cape Town, where he also choreographed his first ballet to Stravinsky’s Suite from The Soldier’s Tale. In 1946, he continued his studies at the Sadler’s Wells School in London and shortly afterwards became a member of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet (subsequently The Royal Ballet).

In 1947, Cranko made a sensational choreography to Debussy’s Children’s Corner for the Sadler’s Wells Ballet; from 1949 on he devoted himself exclusively to choreography, producing extremely successful ballets - mostly for the Sadler’s Wells Ballet. In 1955, he choreographed La Belle Hélène for the Paris Opera Ballet and in 1957 he created his first full-length ballett, The Prince of the Pagodas, for The Royal Ballet. In 1961, John Cranko was appointed ballet director in Stuttgart by Walter Erich Schaefer, the General Director of the Wuerttemberg State Theatre (today’s Stuttgart State Theater). At the beginning of his time in Stuttgart, Cranko created short ballets and gathered together a group of dancers, among whom were Egon Madsen, Richard Cragun, Birgit Keil and, most importantly, a young Brazilian dancer named Marcia Haydée who was to become his prime muse and inspiration.

The breakthrough for Cranko came in December 1962 with the world premiere of Romeo and Juliet, which was highly praised by critics and audience alike. In Stuttgart, Cranko created many small choreographic jewels such as Jeu de cartes and Opus I as well as his symphonic ballet Initials R.B.M.E. but it was with his dramatic story ballets such as Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew, Carmen, Poème de l’Extase and Traces that Cranko secured his place in the pantheon of great choreographers. In addition, he encouraged young dancers in his company - including Jiří Kylián and John Neumeier - to try their hand at choreography.

Cranko’s gift for nuanced story-telling, clear dramatic structure and his exquisite mastery of the art of the pas de deux conquered New York audiences during a triumphant season at the Metropolitan Opera in 1969. World-wide acclaim soon followed, as Cranko and his young company toured the globe.

John Cranko died unexpectedly at age 45 on June 26, 1973, on a return flight from a successful USA tour.

John Cranko was director of the Bavarian State Opera's ballet company between 1968 and 1970. In these years, he created "Begegnung in drei Farben", "Gesang der Nachtigall", "Triplum", "Französische Suite", "Une Fete Galante", "Orpheus" and "Ebony Concerto". Also, the company performed the masterly "Romeo and Juliet", "Onegin", and "The Taming of the Shrew" which are still part of the repertoire.

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