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Carmen [1926, Highland Park, Ravinia]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0418
Run Time
0h 4m 0s
Date Produced
Ruth Page has staged at least 4 versions of Carmen, all set to Georges Bizet's original opera music. The version apparently depicted in this film is the first version, choreographed and performed in 1926 at the Ravinia Opera. As the footage is short, none of the Carmen narrative is legible here. The second version, in which "Carmen" is transported to Civil War Spain, was choreographed by Ruth Page and Bentley Stone. It was premiered in Chicago at the Great Northern Theatre on February 1, 1939 by the Page-Stone Ballet. Bizet's original music was selected and adapted by Jerome Moross for small orchestra; songs were selected from the poems of Federico García Lorca, translated by A. L. Lloyd. Libretto by Ruth Page, after the novel by Prosper Mérimée; scenery by Clive Rickabaugh; costumes by John Pratt. Additional versions appeared in 1959, 1960, 1962, 1972, and 1976.
The film opens with a distant view of a stage, full of dancers in Spanish-style costumes. It gradually offers closer perspectives, not always from straight on (even including some aerial shots!), over the course of the footage. Performers are loosely grouped into 2 sets of women, 1 set of men, and Carmen herself (apparently performed by Ruth Page) in a 'V' pattern. Page at times performs solos and is at other times accompanied by the rest of the dancers; throughout, there is a great deal of spinning. About a minute in, the piece appears to end, as all hold a final kneeling pose before Page begins walking away. But then the film cuts to more dancing, often with only a portion of the stage in frame. Several chunks of choreography from the beginning of the film are repeated. The film ends with a distant shot of the stage, in which all are kneeling in a final pose.
Preservation Sponsor
Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts
Additional Credit
Bizet, Georges (is composer)
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Page, Ruth (is performer)
Related Place
Highland Park (production location of)