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JCA Dance Home Page

Devil's Holiday

The Ballet Russe Collection

Ballet in 3 scenes and 2 entr'actes choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton.
Libretto and music by V. Tommasini (after Paganini).
Scenery by Eugene Berman.
First production by the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, Monte Carlo, October 26, 1939.
Original title: Le Diable s'amuse.

The ballet tells of the love affair between the daughter of an impoverished lord and a poor young man. Her father wants to marry a rich man, and so the devil has to play some tricks during carnival to straighten things out.

Horst Koegler, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet

Devil's Holiday was what finally resulted from that often discussed plan to do a ballet about the life of Paganini. Initially, Balanchine was to choreograph it; then the project was entrusted to Ashton. But by the time he was ready to begin, Fokine was preparing his own Paganini for de Basil and, understandably enough not wishing to compete with Fokine, a new, rather thin, story was concocted concerning the devil's attempts to meddle in human affairs, especially in human love affairs.

Jack Anderson, The One and Only: The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo

Below are the pictures of the scenery for each movement.

Interior scene (cut drop)

Another interior scene (cut drop)

Backdrop from Devil's Holiday