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Revenge [1951, Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0140
Run Time
0h 26m 47s
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 a rehearsal of the ballet, using costumes and sets but no stage lighting, in preparation for a 1951 performance at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris.
The film opens with a shot of a stage as the curtain is first going up; a child (Count di Luna's son) brandishes a toy sword before three couples dancing while the Count and his wife cradle a new baby in the background.  The Count then joins his son and the two lead the group in an ensemble dance.  Suddenly, Azucena and her gypsy mother arrive.  Azucena begins an entrancing solo (which distracts the Count) while her mother places some sort of curse on the elder son.  When the Count recollects his wits, he has the old woman captured and taken away; he then captures Azucena himself and dances a struggling pas de deux with her, eventually throwing her to the ground and then walking away.   She rises and dances a solo, at the end of which she steals the Count's baby from its older brother's arms and escapes.  The curtain then drops to signal the end of the scene.

The curtain is raised again a few moments later, revealing the next scene, set a few decades later.  Leonora dances a solo by a well.  She is soon joined by Manrico, the Count's stolen child who Azucena raised as her own.  He admires Leonora and dances a pas de deux with her.  In the midst of this, another woman arrives (perhaps Leonora's sister or mother) and breaks up the couple, sending Manrico offstage and causing Leonora to beg otherwise.  The two women then dance together.  As Leonora lands once again in her begging position, the other woman greets the young Count di Luna (the previous Count's elder son, now grown).  He, too, admires Leonora but she remains shy to him as he dances a solo before her.  Soon, Manrico returns and sees the Count's advances.  Angered, he starts a fight with the Count over Leonora.  Besting the Count, Manrico carries Leonora away with him.  The curtain closes again.

The curtain reopens onto a scene at Manrico's gypsy camp.  He stands and then kneels at center while the others dance an exotic dance around him; he then begins circling them slowly.  Eventually he dances a solo at center, briefly leading the group before retreating into a wagon.  Afterwards, a female gypsy (perhaps a now aged Azucena) enters and commands the attention of the entire camp with her solo.  Manrico seems to disagree with her, for he emerges in opposition and the two dance a pas de deux, eventually leading the rest in a short ensemble sequence.

Suddenly, the Count and several companions arrive at the gypsy camp and incite violence.  In the fray, Manrico nearly slays the Count but some divine force seems to prevent it.  Afterwards, the tides quickly turn and the Count's men capture both Manrico and Azucena and carry them off as prisoners.  The curtain drops on a triumphant young Count.

When the curtain rises again, it does so on the prison where Manrico is being held.  A mournful Leonora paces below and dances a solo with a shawl while four solemn, hooded figures enter and slowly climb the stairs to the prisoner's tower one by one.  The film ends before she completes this solo.
Additional Credits
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Arova, Sonia (is performer)
Moreau, Jacqueline (is performer)
Related Place
Paris (production location of)