November 2007
Hovhaness 'Miss Emily' ballet revived

The music that Alan Hovhaness composed for Agnes de Mille’s ballet A Rose for Miss Emily is to be heard again, for the first time since the ballet’s 1970 premiere. The revival is by Richmond Ballet, Richmond, Virginia.

Juxtaposing past with present, A Rose for Miss Emily is an acclaimed short story of William Faulkner, portraying a brief but ultimately tragic love affair, with an unsettling final twist. Agnes de Mille’s original Miss Emily from 1970, Gemze de Lappe, came to Richmond Ballet to help faithfully reconstruct this passionate ballet.

As for Hovhaness’ music, it is something of an amalgamation of new and very early music, not especially representative of the kind of music he was writing around 1970.  In fact, as Op.229 No.2 it bears no musical resemblance to the famous Op.229 No.1, none other than And God Created Great Whales.  One of the early works he recycled for this ballet (almost in its entirety) was Storm on Mount Wildcat, which enjoyed a recent revival at the BBC in England, which then led to its appearance on a Telarc CD.

This rare outing of Miss Emily follows hot-on-the-heels of another recent stage revival for which Hovhaness wrote the music.  In June 2007, the Martha Graham Dance Company, America's oldest, "reconceived" Ardent Song, at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.  It was also featured in the company's New York and touring performances this fall.  More details here.

The Rose for Miss Emily performance details, complete with other works being performed, are as follows:

Richmond Ballet:

A Rose for Miss Emily
Choreography: Agnes de Mille
Music: Alan Hovhaness

To Familiar Spaces in Dream
Choreography: Jessica Lang
Music: Philip Glass, Craig Armstrong and John Cage

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