Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article
|Journal publication date||1/12/2006|
|Journal||The Opera Quarterly|
|Number of pages||27|
The interpretation of Ravel’s La Valse by George Balanchine (1904-83) opens up new avenues of study for Ravel scholars by inviting enquiry into a complex web of relationships among music, choreography, literature, and historical context. Specifically, the choreographer’s superb visualization of La Valse (1951) yields additional meanings and implications for Ravel’s music - and, more speculatively, for his biography. By extension, the question is raised as to what theoretical-critical framework(s) might help to probe these relationships. In engaging with these issues, I hope to show that Balanchine’s realization can mediate powerfully between so-called “inherent” musical meaning and meaning that emerges through an examination of sociocultural forces (theorized broadly after Nicholas Cook). Balanchine’s choreography, I would argue, successfully negotiates both poles to open up ontological issues and intertextual networks that emphasize some of Ravel’s most recognized musical attributes. Finally, in light of Benjamin Ivry’s controversial biography, I maintain that Balanchine’s work permits hermeneutic enquiry into the composer’s possible homosexuality, and his preoccupation with death.