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Revenge [1951, Chicago, University of Chicago, Mandel Hall]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0098
Run Time
0h 11m 48s
Date Produced
"Revenge" is a ballet in four scenes, choreographed by Ruth Page and based on Giuseppe Verdi's 1853 opera Il Trovatore, itself based on Antonio Garcia Gutierrez's 1836 play El Trovador.  Page's first version was premiered on January 27, 1951 at Mandel Hall of the University of Chicago.  The ballet was then slightly revised and premiered in Paris at the Théâtre de l'Empire on October 17, 1951 by the Ballets des Champs-Élysées.  Music was arranged by Isaac Van Grove; costumes and scenery were designed by Catalan painter Antoni Clavé.  Revenge then returned to Chicago on November 26, 1955, as performed by the Ruth Page Ballets; its first New York performance was at the Broadway Theatre, December 20, 1955, also by the Ruth Page Ballets.

This film represents an excerpt of a rehearsal of the ballet, using full costumes and sets, in preparation for the January 1951 performance at Mandel Hall, University of Chicago.
The film opens during a scene toward the end of the ballet, in which Leonora is dancing a pas de deux with the young Count di Luna just outside of the prison where he is keeping her lover (and, unbeknownst to him, his brother), Manrico.  Leonora, having begged the Count to release Manrico, is being blackmailed into marrying the Count.  To end their long pas de deux, the Count carries her offstage after she reaches up toward the prison cell.

The promise is then honored: three shrouded women slowly bring Manrico and a frail Azucena onstage.  They dance a ginger pas de deux which ends in a slow ascent up the stairs back toward the prison as the shrouded women exit.  The curtain drops here, signalling the end of the scene.  Then, in front of the curtain, three acrobatic dancers wearing hornlike headpieces enter and dance together.  Two exit as the curtain goes up again.

Behind the curtain are three couples dancing together in the Count's court; the acrobats soon join them again onstage.  The Count and Leonora, his new bride, soon enter behind them and walk to center, where they are presented with their rings.  The two then lead all onstage couples in a couples' dance, while Azucena and Manrico slowly enter.  Suddenly, Leonora collapses to the ground (for she has taken poison).  She gets back up and, somewhat manically, keeps dancing with the Count but Manrico begins to approach her, concerned.  He then dances around the couple, and when Leonora collapses again, he rushes to her and lifts her up, only to watch her die at his feet and be carried off once again by the Count's men.  Only then, as the room is clearing of people, does Azucena come alive, revealing Manrico's true identity triumphantly to the Count. The count collapses, rolling around on the ground as Azucena towers over him.  The curtains then go down a final time and the film ends.
Additional Credits
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Related Place
Chicago (production location of)