Thursday, September 18, 2014

ONDINE

The three act ballet of Ondine  was the result of a collaboration between German composer  Hans Werner Henze and British choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton and is thus the only ballet choreographed by Ashton to an original score. Ashton first approached William Walton to compose a score.  
However, Walton refused and suggested that his friend Hans Henze be approached. Therefore, the music for Ondine was commissioned from Henze, who went to considerable lengths to learn the special requirements of writing for ballet.  
Ashton gave him a very detailed breakdown of the action, with precise timings for each section in a similar way to how the famous nineteenth century choreographer, Marius Petipa did for Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky.  
Henze and Ashton met on the island of Ischia, just across the bay from Naples, to decide their key approaches to this new ballet. They decided to ignore the northern origins of Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué's novella Undine and move it to the Mediterranean.

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