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JCA Dance Home Page

Harold in Italy

The Ballet Russe Collection

Ballet in 4 movements choreographed by Leonide Massine.
Music by Hector Berlioz.
Decor by Bernard Lamotte.
Premiere: Boston, October 14, 1954, by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

The ballet follows closely the programme of Berlioz' symphony [of the same title] which itself received inspiration from Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.

Horst Koegler, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet

[Massine] follows the programmatic suggestions made by Berlioz himself. In the first movement Harold, the contemplative poet, observes the swirl of life around him; the second is a pilgrims' march (Massine achieving grotesque effects by contrasting the grave pilgrims with the antics of a carping Simpleton); the third, a country idyll; and the last, by universal agreement the weakest choreographically, an attack by a band of brigands.

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

Two backdrops are in the collection, untagged as to which movement it may have belonged to, and one of which being unfortunately heavily stained, and only three legs.

Below are pictures of the other backdrop and of the set of legs, as well as a reconstructed image with one backdrop and the three legs.

Mountain scene

Legs alone

Mountain drop with set of three legs (reconstructed image)