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JCA Dance Home Page

Quelques Fleurs

The Ballet Russe Collection

One-act ballet choreographed by Ruthanna Boris, on a commission by the Houbigant perfume company.
Music by Francois Auber.
Scenery & costumes by Robert Davison.
Premiere: New York, September 30 1948, by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Quelques Fleurs concerns the events at a garden party given by the Contessa Ilaria del Caretto - how she loves Zenobio Bonaventuro, a gay young man of fashion - and by what means she endeavors to win his love. If you were told how the story ended, you wouldn't be surprised!

Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo Souvenir Program, Season 1949-50

...a story about a haughty Contessa who, unsuccessful in her attempts to snare a young man, seeks help from an alchemist who presents her with three wondrous perfumes which causes the young man to swoon at their loveliness. Ultimately, this gift proves to be of no avail, since the youth rejects the Contessa, preferring the fragrances to the woman.

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

As the hilarious names of the principal characters already indicate, this ballet was typical of Ms. Boris' irreverent sense of humor. She had at first been reluctant to undertake a ballet commissioned by commercial interests, but upon hearing that she would fully have free reins in artistic decisions finally had accepted the task, devising a libretto that nonetheless had something to do with perfume. The famous dance critic Walter Terry characterized the ballet as "...not as hilarious as her Cirque de Deux but it generates constant smiles and frequent chuckles" New York Herald Tribune, 10/10/1948.

The suspended swag border, with its rich hues of violet and gold, and countless colorful flowers interspersed throughout its folds, is the only remnant of this ballet in the drop collection.