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George Rouault Designed The Prodigal Son for Balanchine, Baryshnikov as The Son


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    B & B
    (Martha Swope/George Balanchine Trust, via New York Public Library)
    George Balanchine demonstrating a movement to a young Mikhail Baryshnikov at New York City Ballet.

    Jerome Robbins, Edward Villella and Baryshnikov danced The Prodigal Son.

    “Balanchine’s choreography upset Prokofiev, who conducted the premiere. The composer had envisioned a production that was ‘real’; his concept of the Siren, whom he saw as demure, differed radically from Balanchine’s. Prokofiev refused to pay Balanchine royalties for his choreography.”

    Rouault and Prokofiev
    Monte-Carlo, 1929

    George Rouault – May 27, 1881

    Fauvist and Expressionist
    n 1907, Rouault commenced a series of paintings dedicated to courts, clowns and prostitutes. These paintings are interpreted as moral and social criticism. He became attracted to Spiritualism and the dramatic existentialism of the philosopher Jacques Maritain, who remained a close friend for the rest of his life. After that, he dedicated himself to religious subjects. Human nature was always the focus of his interest.

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