Dark Elegies is dance to the Song Cycle Kindertotenlieder ("Songs on the Death of Children") by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). This is a work consisting of five songs to lyrics by Friedrich Rückert.
Tudor described this work as his favorite ballet. Many consider is to be his greatest. From tender moments of quiet devastation to careening bursts of rage, Tudor's "ballet requiem," set to Mahler's absorbing Kindertotenlieder, expresses the raw emotion of a tight-knit community faced with the inexplicable loss of their beloved children.
Ballet Synopsis excerpted with permission from the Ballets of Antony Tudor by Judith Chazin-Bennahum.
Choreography: Antony Tudor.
Music / Composer: Kindertotenlieder by Gustav Mahler.
Scenery / Costumes: Nadia Benois, N/A.
First Performance: London. Duchess Theatre. February 19th, 1937. Ballet Rambert.
First Performance Cast: Peggy van Praagh, Maude Lloyd, Antony Tudor, Walter Gore, John Byron, Agnes de Mille, Hugh Laing, Daphne Gow, Ann Gee, Patricia Clogstoun, Beryl Kay, Celia Franks (Franca), John Byron; Singer - Harold Child, Baritone.
First U.S. Performance: New York. Center Theatre. January 24th, 1940. Ballet Theatre.
First U.S. Performance Cast: Nina Stroganova, Miriam Golden, Lucia Chase, Hugh Laing, Dmitri Romanoff, Antony Tudor.
First Canadian Performance: Kingston, Ontario. Kingston Memorial Centre. November 15h, 1955. National Ballet of Canada.
First Swedish Performance: Stockholm. Royal Opera House. September 6th, 1961. Royal Swedish Ballet.
Swedish Costumes / Sets: Rolan Svensson
First French Performance: Paris. Opera Comique. February 18th, 1985. Paris Opera Ballet. "Hommage a Antony Tudor".
Notated: 1980 by Airi Hyninen (Labanotation) 1981 by Elizabeth Cunlieffe (Benesh Notation) 1983 by Agneta Stjernlof (Benesh Anotation).
Number of Dancers: 3+5 Women, 3+1 Men.
Average Length: 25 minutes.
Costumes: ABT, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Rambert, Boston Conservatory, Star Dancers (Japan), Jose Limon Dance Co.
Scenery: ABT, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Rambert, Star Dancers (Japan).