Emperors and One Nightingale
2002, The Netherlands
Director: Alexander van der Meer
Choreographers/Dancers: Ballets Russes
Photo by Alexander
van der Meer
1925 saw the world première of a unique ballet to music
by Stravinsky, with costumes and decor by Matisse and choreography
by Balanchine (his first work in the West): "Le Chant
du Rossignol”. It was based on a fairytale by Andersen,
produced by Diaghilev with his Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo,
and made the 14-year-old nightingale Alicia Markova into a
star. The choreography was lost, one of the reasons being
that Diaghilev did not allow film cameras near his ballets.
In 1999 it was painstakingly reconstructed by two "ballet
archaeologists”, and performed again by Les Ballets
de Monte Carlo at the Holland Dance Festival in The Hague.
How does one go about reconstructing a lost ballet? And why?
This documentary for Dutch and Belgian TV tries to find answers
to these questions." - Dance Screen 2002