Date Of Production
"La favorita" is a ballet choreographed by Ruth Page to the 1840 opera of the same name by Gaetano Donizetti. It was premiered by the Chicago Opera Ballet alongside the Lyric Opera of Chicago on October 12, 1964 at the Chicago Civic Opera House.
This film appears to be a rehearsal of the ballet around the date of its premiere. Full costumes are worn, but there is no scenery. Represented here is primarily the divertissement for the court scene in Act II of the opera.
The film opens with a shot of a stage (lined with barres, perhaps leftover from a warmup) in which two large groups of young women costumed in party dresses appear to be welcomed into court by a greeter in an elaborate headdress. A group of six energetic young men follows with a brief ensemble dance consisting mainly of large jumps. Two important-looking couples then enter and briefly dance the same pas de deux.
The film then cuts to a MLS of an adagio portion of a traditional grand pas de deux (dancers appear to be Klekovic and Johnson), which includes several developés, promenades, and penchées on the female dancer's part. Before they are finished, the film cuts to the male variation of the pas de deux, populated largely by sissonnes and entrechat sixes. It ends with a series of turns à la seconde, which is repeated a second time on the film. Next, the film cuts to the female variation, including battements, piqué pas de bourrées, and coupé chainé turns (also repeated a second time in the film).
The film then cuts back to the large group in the court scene, in which the two distinguished couples are dancing their pas de deux. The greeter then signals the young women and young men to line up at center for a group dance; they break into couples and dance in a moving formation. The men then split off and perform their own ensemble dance; the film then cuts forward a bit to the women's dance, after which half of the women rejoin the men for more couples' dancing.
The film once again cuts back to the grand pas de deux, perhaps the coda; part of the way through, the camera pulls back and shows the couple to be joined by the two distinguished couples from the court scene. All three couples then dance the same pas de deux. When they reach the final pose, the film cuts back to the court scene.
There, the young women all arrange themselves into two lines and dance an ensemble dance while the men stand just behind them; after a few moments, the men begin dancing as well. All then stop and seem to begin a mini finale line by line. All then run to the sides of the stage to make way for a female soloist (one of the women from the distinguished couples; the dancer appears to be Dolores Lipinski). Her male counterpart enters soon after her. The film cuts forward a bit to the other male entrance, and then the other female entrance, which is then repeated a second time. Lipinski then circles her with piqué turns.
The camera then cuts to a pulled-back view of the full stage, with the grand pas couple dancing at center (Klekovic now wearing leg warmers), the two distinguished couples dancing the same steps in the two downstage corners, and the rest lining the sides and back of the stage. The grand pas couple soon breaks from the shared choreography and complete the grand finale with a number of pirouettes while the other two couples end in dips. Once all strike their final pose, the film ends.
14 min 40 sec
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