Plots of Maurice Ravel’s ballets: sources and principles of formation

Irina S. Zakharbekova


The paper looks into the plots of Maurice Ravel’s ballets «Ma Mere l'Oye», «Adélaïde, ou Le langage des fleurs», «Daphnis et Chloé», «La Valse», «Bolero». Librettos of the ballets were created by Ravel himself and were either inspired by existing literature or guided by his own conception of chosen theme.

The plot becomes the ground for further fantasizing: Ravel often pays attention not to the story itself but to a certain stylistic nuances connected with it. This fact influences the structure of Ravel’s ballets which reminds a change of pictures more or less related to each other.

Creating a ballet’s libretto Ravel draws upon theatrical tradition of the 18th and 19th centuries as well as modern literature (Huysmans, Wilde, de Régnier). He subtly pastiches somebody else’s style such as «langage des fleurs», language of antiquity, language of romantic fairy tale and creates his own understanding of myth, fairy tale, dance or modern aesthetic literature.

Key words: Ravel, ballets, plot, authorship, content, dramaturgy, context, literature.


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Copyright (c) 2017 Irina S. Zakharbekova

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