Ninette à la cour, ballet-pantomime

Ninette à la cour (1777)
A Pantomime Ballet by Maximilien Gardel

 

The pantomime ballet Ninette à la cour (‘Ninette at the King’s Court’) by Maximilien Gardel (1741-1787) was an adaptation of Charles-Simon Favart’s earlier comic opera Le caprice amoureux, ou Ninette à la cour (Paris, 1755), with music by various composers. Favart’s work was, in turn, based on the comic opera Bertoldo in corte as staged by Bambini (Paris, 1753), a version of Bertoldo, Bertoldino e Cacasenno (Venice, 1749), with a libretto by Carlo Goldoni and score by Vicenzo Ciampi.

Gardel’s ballet, with music drawn from a variety of sources, was premiered at Choisy before the French court in 1777 and then first mounted at the Paris Opéra in 1778. It would be performed over 80 times in different versions between 1778 and 1815, notably in Paris, London, Dublin, Stockholm, Turin and Naples. It can be rightly regarded as one of the “classics” of eighteenth-century pantomime ballet.

While Gardel’s choreography is lost, both the music and the scenario are extant. There are, in fact, two published programmes by Gardel himself, from 1777 and 1782, which differ only slightly, not to mention a synopsis in the Public Advertiser outlining the plot from the 1781 London production, and a summary in Stockholms Posten sketching the story from the Stockholm production in 1787. Neither the London nor the Stockholm versions differed in any major way from Gardel’s, as far as story goes.

Two versions of the score are also extant, one associated with Marcadet’s production of the ballet in Stockholm, and the other associated with Maximilien Gardel’s brother’s — i.e., Pierre Gardel’s — later remounting at the Paris Opéra in 1802. While both versions share a number of the same pieces, without any significant differences, several numbers are different. A little evidence suggests that the version used by Marcadet (who in fact figured in the 1777 performance at Choisy) may have been the original version, or leastwise an earlier version (i.e., from before 1780), which was subsequently revised for the Opéra (perhaps as early as the beginning of 1778) and which is largely preserved in the extant Paris score. Some of the “new” numbers in the Paris score appear in two published collections of selections from 1781 arranged mainly for keyboard (Benaut and Noferi). Thus, the version in the Paris score seems to have come into existence largely by 1781. An examination of the musical sources for other ballets by Gardel, notably the divertissement of La chercheuse d’esprit, shows that he did revise his works, sometimes more than once. And in his productions, Marcadet seems to have generally made few changes to the scores of Gardel’s ballet, as suggested by a comparison of the Stockholm versions with their Paris counterparts (notably in the case of Mirza). And so the differences between the Stockholm and Paris scores are more likely to be owing to Gardel’s own revision rather than Marcadet’s. A few of the changes in the Paris score, however, do clearly date to 1802, as witnessed by music stroked out and replaced with new music dating to a later period (notably a new overture by Méhul (1797) and a march entitled “La Buonaparte”).

The opening scene of Gardel’s Ninette à la cour: left, the first violin part in the Stockholm version; right, the scene summary (1777).

Portrait of Maximilien Gardel: dancer (serious style), choreographer, musician, and composer of dance music (N.F. Regnault, Louvre).

Below are presented both the music and the summaries corresponding to each scene. When the Stockholm and Paris scores differ, the music from each is given side by side. (There is also a fair amount of supplementary material available which fleshes out the program sketches, but only a few details therefrom are given below.) Mockups of the music for full orchestra are computer generated using the playback software NotePerformer, and so not a real performance, but they are realistic enough to give the listener a fair sense of what the score sounded like. With several numbers, an arrangement for real instruments is also provided.

To play the music, click the white arrowhead on the left in the black bars below. (Some of the ornaments in the MIDI versions may sound a little off, since the playback of such is by default.)

This page then, which is still under construction. presents some of the primary-source material which will figure in a planned in-depth study of the ballet (in collaboration with Mojca Gal).

 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Fragonard’s portrait of Marie-Madeleine Guimard (1743-1816), the lead dancer who regularly performed the role of Ninette at the Paris Opéra.

Ninette, a peasant girl
Colas, a peasant lad betrothed to Ninette
Astolphe, king
Émilie, countess betrothed to the king
Fabrice, the king’s confidant
court dancing-master
peasants, courtiers, servants

 

OVERTURE

STOCKHOLM VERSION:

No overture is extant for the Stockholm performances.

PARIS VERSION:


(MIDI version)

(Arrangement for two flutes (Darina Ablogina, Liane Ehlich), two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

Benaut’s keyboard arrangement of the overture (1781).

1802 VERSION:

The first page of Méhul’s hunt music in the Paris Ninette manuscript.

In the 1802 remounting, Pierre Gardel replaced the original overture and all of the original music for scenes i-v below with Méhul’s La chasse du jeune Henri. More than 500 bars long with a playing time of about ten minutes, this tone-painting piece would have lent itself well to a pantomimic treatment, allowing Pierre to expand the opening considerably, above all, the hunting scene, wherein real horses from the circus were employed.

Nothing could be finer than the new arrangements which citizen Gardel has put in place of those [originally] in the opening scenes of the ballet Ninette à la cour. No illusion could be more delightful than the use of those horses in most of the stag hunt, which takes up almost the whole of the first act. Imagine Méhul’s superb La chasse (formerly called the “Overture to Le jeune Henri”) transformed into action and reduced to a poem, as it were, and you will have some sense of a scene which outdoes in lifelikeness anything that has hitherto been seen at the Opéra. The meandering run of the horses through the wood, the action of the huntsmen in pursuit of the stag, their coming to rest to give signals, and the horn fanfares produced an effect which aroused the greatest enthusiasm. Madame Gardel’s acting and citizen [Auguste] Vestris were the main attractions in the rest of the ballet, which lends itself less to dance than to pantomime. (CS 17 July 1802)

For a recording of Méhul’s music, follow the Youtube link below:

Alterations to the part books suggest that Pierre Gardel had initially intended to use the fourth movement from Gossec’s Symphony in D major “La Caccia” of 1776 but then rejected this piece in favor of Méhul’s. To hear a recording of this work, follow the Youtube link (starting at 15:17):

 

ACT I

SET

A set from Monsigny’s opera Le roi et le fermier (1762), which perhaps gives some sense of how the greenery in the opening set of Ninette was handled. (See also the video below.)

Le Théâtre représente une Campagne agréable, coupée d’arbres fruitiers avec des cabanes de Paysans sur les aîles (Gardel 1777: 1). (‘Pleasant countryside, riven by [rows of] fruit trees; peasant cottages along the wings.’)

Le Théâtre représente une campagne agréable, coupée d’Arbres fruitiers, avec des Cabanes sur les côtés: le fond est occupé par un côteau (Gardel 1782: 5). (‘Pleasant countryside, riven by [rows of] fruit trees; cottages on the sides; a hill in the background.’)

A short video showing the sets for Monsigny’s opera Le roi et le fermier in the tiny Queen’s Theater at Versailles, serving as a short introduction to how the stage machinery of an 18C theater worked.

 

SCENE I

SCENE PREMIÈRE. NINETTE, Colas & plusieurs Paysans & Paysannes sont occupés à différents ouvrages; Colas & Ninette se donnent des témoignages réciproques de leur amour mutuel (Gardel 1777: 1-2). (‘Scene I. Ninette, Colas, and a number of peasants are busy working at sundry tasks. Colas and Ninette show that they are in love.’)

NINETTE, Colas, & des Paysans sont occupés à différens ouvrages; Colas & Ninette se donnent des témoignages de leur amour (Gardel 1782: 5). (‘Ninette, Colas, and some peasants are busy working at sundry tasks. Colas and Ninette show that they are in love.’)

Nancy [i.e., Ninette] sits by her Sweet-heart Colas, and seems very busy in Spinning, while her Female Companions follow various Occupations on a Grass-plot, and some Country Lads are cutting Wood on the Hill. Nancy quits often the Distaff to listen to the soft Whispers of Colas, who possesses her Heart, and hopes to get soon Possession of her Person, as their mutual Affections are on the Point of being crowned with nuptial Bliss. (Public Advertiser 26 Feb. 1781)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)

(Arrangement for two flutes (Darina Ablogina, Liane Ehlich), two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS VERSION:


(MIDI version)

Benaut’s arrangement of the Paris music for the opening scene (1781).

1802 VERSION:

This scene was played out during the new overture, Méhul’s La chasse du jeune Henri (see above).

Left: the singer-actress Madame Favart as Ninette in Favart’s opera (1759); right: the dancer Auguste Vestris as Colas in Gardel’s ballet (1781).


Ninette engage son Amant à cueillir des pêches; il y consent volontiers, à condition qu’elle lui donnera sa main à baiser, ce qu’elle lui accorde avec plaisir. Il monte ensuite sur l’arbre & donne un panier de fruits à Ninette, qui les partage avec ses Compagnes (Gardel 1777: 2). (‘Ninette presses her sweetheart to pick some peaches; he says he will only if she will give him her hand to kiss, which she gladly allows. He then climbs a tree and hands down a basket of fruit to Ninette, which she shares with her companions.’)

Ninette engage son Amant à cueillir du fruit pour ses compagnes; il y consent à condition qu’elle [6] lui donnera sa main à baiser, ce qu’elle lui accorde avec plaisir. Il monte ensuite sur l’arbre & rempli de fruits un panier qu’il donne à Ninette. (Gardel 1782: 5-6). (‘Ninette presses her sweetheart to pick some fruit for her companions; he says he will only if she will give him her hand to kiss, which she gladly allows. He then climbs a tree and fills a basket with fruit, which he hands down to Ninette.’)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version, melody “Travaillons, Travaillons de Bon Courage” from Favart’s opera)

(Arrangement for two flutes (Darina Ablogina, Liane Ehlich), two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS VERSION:


(MIDI version)

Benaut’s keyboard arrangement of the Paris music (1781).

1802 VERSION:

This scene was played out during the new overture, Méhul’s La chasse du jeune Henri (see above).

Ninette at her spinning-wheel and Colas in a tree picking fruit (illustration from a 1778 German translation of Favart’s libretto).

 

SCENE II

SCÈNE SECONDE. LE Bailli vient avec le Notaire, qui tient à sa main le contrat de mariage de Ninette & de Colas. Celui-ci descend de l’arbre, fait éclatter sa joie d’être bien-tôt uni à ce qu’il aime. On lui fait signer le contrat, ainsi qu’à sa chère Prètendue (Gardel 1777: 2). (‘Scene II. The bailli [an official in Ancien Régime France] comes with the notary, who bears in his hand Ninette and Colas’s marriage contract. Colas climbs down, filled with joy at the prospect of being soon united with his sweetheart. They have him, as well as his betrothed, sign the contract.’)

LE Bailli vient avec le Notaire qui tient le contrat de mariage de Ninette & de Colas. Celui-ci descend de l’arbre & fait éclater sa joie d’être bientôt uni à ce qu’il aime. On lui fait signer le contrat, ainsi qu’à sa chere prètendue (Gardel 1782: 6). (‘The bailli comes with the notary, who has Ninette and Colas’s marriage contract. Colas climbs down, filled with joy at the prospect of being soon united with his sweetheart. They have him, as well as his betrothed, sign the contract.’)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)


(Arrangement for two flutes (Darina Ablogina, Liane Ehlich), two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS VERSION:


(MIDI version)

1802 VERSION:

This scene was played out during the new overture, Méhul’s La chasse du jeune Henri (see above).

Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s L’accordée de village (c1761), showing on the extreme right a notary and to his left a clerk drawing up a marriage contract. A review of Gardel’s ballet disapproved of “one of the notary’s clerks who presents his back as a desk” in this scene (JP 30 Aug. 1778: 967).

 

SCENE III

SCÈNE TROISIÈME. ON entend un bruit de chasse, Colas rentre avec tout le monde (Gardel 1777: 2). (‘Scene III. The sounds of a hunt are heard. Colas goes inside with everyone else.’)

On entend un bruit de chasse; Colas fait entrer Ninette dans la cabane, & la prie de ne pas en sortir qu’il ne soit de retour. La chasse s’approche, Colas va au-devant (Gardel 1782: 6). (‘The sounds of a hunt are heard. Colas has Ninette go inside and asks her to come back out only once he has returned. The hunting party draws near; Colas goes off in its direction.’)

STOCKHOLM & PARIS VERSION:


(MIDI version)

1802 VERSION:

This scene was played out during the new overture, Méhul’s La chasse du jeune Henri (see above).

 

SCENE IV

SCÈNE QUATRIÈME. LES Chasseurs paroissent au fond du Théâtre & font du feu continuel en traversant la Scène (Gardel 1777: 3). (‘Scene IV. The huntsmen appear at the back of the stage and continually fire in crossing the set.’)

Le cerf qui paroît gagne la montage, il est bientôt suivi de tous les Chasseurs (Gardel 1782: 6). (‘The stag, which appears, reaches the mountain. It is soon followed by all the huntsmen.’)

Opéra records suggest that about there were usually 14-16 dancers involved in this scene, apart from any supernumeraries.

STOCKHOLM VERSION:

Only the first of the three sections making up the hunt music as found in the Paris version was included here (listen to the opening of the Paris version below); apparently the hunt scene was greatly shortened in Stockholm. An annotation in the part books indicates that the horns were to play from backstage in the foregoing number, apparently to suggest distance. The hornplayers then were in transit from backstage to the orchestra pit during the number in question here. The clarinets were removed everywhere from the score, and so the only winds left for this number were the oboes. To make up for the loss of the horns and clarinets, the strings (without contrabasso) were made to fill in.

PARIS VERSION:

YET TO BE ADDED

A scene from an early 17C theatrical piece showing the use of hobby-horse costumes. An invoice in the archives of the Opéra specifies that the “horses” in Gardel’s Ninette were made “with life-like heads and bodies large enough to contain a man inside,” in other words, hobby-horse costumes along the lines of those shown above. There were eight of them in all, and also a full-sized wicker stag complete with antlers.

1802 VERSION:

This scene was played out during the new overture, Méhul’s La chasse du jeune Henri (see above).

 

SCENE V

Gaétan Vestris as the “Prince” Astolphe in the 1781 London production of Gardel’s ballet.

SCÈNE CINQUIÈME. ASTOLPHE quitte la chasse & vient se reposer devant la maison de Ninette. Il déclare à Fabrice l’amour qu’il ressent pour une Villageoise remplie de charmes. Fabrice fait appercevoir son étonnement. Le Roi lui ordonne de s’éloigner pour un instant (Gardel 1777: 3). (‘Scene V. Astolphe [i.e., the king] leaves the hunt and comes and rests in front of Ninette’s house. He tells Fabrice of the love he feels for a most charming village girl. Fabrice shows his amazement. The king orders him to draw away for a moment.’)

Astolphe, plus empressé de voir la charmante Ninette, abandonne la chasse & vient se reposer devant la maison de celle qu’il adore. Il déclare à Fabrice là passion qui le domine. (Gardel 1782: 6). (‘Astolphe [i.e., the king], more eager to see the charming Ninette, forsakes the hunt and comes and rests in front of the house of the one whom he adores. He tells Fabrice of the passion that holds sway over him.’)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)


(Arrangement for two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS VERSION:

This scene appears to have played out during the final part of the hunting music (see above).

1802 VERSION:

This scene was played out during the new overture, Méhul’s La chasse du jeune Henri (see above).

 

SCENE VI

SCÈNE SIXIEME. RESTÉ seul, Astolphe s’abandonne à son inquiétude & balance s’il doit écouter la tendresse de son cœur ou l’orgueil de sa naissance; il apperçoit Ninette & cache les marques de sa dignité (Gardel 1777: 4). (‘Scene VI. Alone, Astolphe gives in to his worry and weighs whether he should follow his heart or heed the pride of his birth; he catches sight of Ninette and hides the attributes of his dignity [i.e., the royal insignia on his costume].

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)


(Arrangement for two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS & 1802 VERSION:


(MIDI Version)

 

SCENE VII

SCÈNE SEPTIÈME. NINETTE sort de sa cabanne en dansant; Astolphe la considère avec autant de surprise que de plaisir. (Gardel 1777: 4).  (‘Scene VII. Ninette comes out of her cottage dancing. Astolphe watches her with as much surprise as pleasure.’)

Ninette paroît, & le Roi ordonne à Fabrice de s’éloigner. Astolphe considere Ninette avec le plus grand plaisir. (Gardel 1782: 6) (‘Ninette appears, and the king orders Fabrice to draw apart. Astolphe watches Ninette with the greatest of pleasure.’)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)


(Arrangement for two flutes (Darina Ablogina, Liane Ehlich), two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS & 1802 VERSION:


(MIDI version)

Benaut’s keyboard arrangement of the Paris music (1781).


Enhardi par sa gaité, il l’aborde & lui déclare son amour; elle en fait un badinage; mais le Roi paroît si troublé, qu’elle veut fuir; il l’arrête & lui fait voir les attributs de son rang, & pour la déterminer il lui offre de s’unir avec elle. Elle hésite, mais il profite de l’embarras où elle se trouve pour lui prendre la main qu’il serre tendrement. (Gardel 1777: 4). (‘Emboldened by her gaiety, he goes over to her and declares his love to her. She makes light of it, but the king is so agitated that she wishes to flee; he stops her and shows her the attributes of his rank, and in order to sway her, he proposes to her. She hesitates, but he takes advantage of her predicament in order to take her hand, which he presses tenderly.’)

Enhardi par sa gaîté, il l’arborde & lui déclare son amour, elle en fait un badinage; mais le Roi est si troublé, qu’elle veut fuir; il l’arrête & lui fait voir les attributs de son rang. Pour la déterminer à écouter ses vœux, il lui offre de s’unir avec elle; Ninette hésite, il lui prend la main & la lui serre tendrement. (Gardel 1782: 6-7) (‘Emboldened by her gaiety, he goes over to her and declares his love to her. She makes light of it. But the king is so agitated that she wishes to flee; he stops her and shows her the attributes of his rank. In order to sway her, he proposes to her. Ninette hesitates. He takes her hand and presses it tenderly.’)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)


(Arrangement for two flutes (Darina Ablogina, Liane Ehlich), two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS & 1802 VERSION:


(MIDI version)

Benaut’s keyboard arrangement of the Paris version (1781).

Before (William Hogarth, 1730), showing a scene of attempted seduction.

 

SCENE VIII

A scene from Annette et Lubin (coloured etching by Debucourt, 1789), with Lubin on his knees begging for non-interference. This was another Farvart work (1762), which, like Ninette, deals with lordly interference in the daily life of peasants.

SCÈNE HUITIÈME. COLAS arrive & les sépare brusquement, Astolphe quitte la main de Ninette, & regarde Colas avec indignation. Ce dernier a l’air furieux. Ninette fait signe à Colas de se retirer, ce qu’il ne veut pas faire. Ninette l’avertit que c’est un grand Seigneur, Colas alors lui fait des révérences, tandis qu’en arrière il se désole. Astolphe les laisse ensemble, & engage Ninette à refléchir sur ce qu’elle refuse. (Gardel 1777: 5) (‘Scene VIII. Colas arrives and separates them brusquely. Astolphe lets go of Ninette’s hand and glowers at Colas. The latter is furious. Ninette makes a sign to Colas that he should leave, but he refuses. Ninette warns him that this is a great lord. Colas then does bows to him, while underneath he is upset. Astophe leaves them together and asks Ninette to think about what she has turned down.’)

Colas arrive, & les sépare brusquement: Astolphe le regarde avec indignation, & Ninette apprend à Colas que c’est un grand Seigneur. Il reste interdit & le Roi se retire après avoir su que c’étoit le Pretendu de Ninette. (Gardel 1782: 7) (‘Colas arrives and separates them brusquely. Astolphe glowers at him, and Ninette tells Colas that Astolphe is a great lord. He remains dumbfounded, and the king withdraws when he sees that Colas is Ninette’s betrothed.’)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)


(Arrangement for two flutes (Darina Ablogina, Liane Ehlich), two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS & 1802 VERSION:

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

 

SCENE IX

SCÈNE NEUVIÈME. COLAS & Ninette restés seuls se regardent, la fureur est peinte dans les yeux de Colas; Ninette le considere en souriant; au bout d’un instant elle part d’un éclat de rire qui renouvelle toute la fureur de Colas; il s’emporte contre elle, lui jette le bouquet qu’il en a reçu le matin, les rubans qu’elle lui avoit donnés & lui dit adieu pour jamais. Elle court le retenir; il la repousse si rudement qu’elle tombe. Comme elle se releve en pleurant, il se hâte de se jetter à ses genoux pour lui témoigner son repentir. (Gardel 1777: 5-6) (‘Scene IX. Now alone, Colas and Ninette look at each other: anger flashes from Colas’s eyes; Ninette looks at him with a smile. At length, she burst out into laughter, which only makes him angrier. He chides her, throws at her the nosegay which he received that morning and the ribbons that she gave him, and bids farewell. She rushes over to him meaning to keep him from going; he pushes her back so roughly that she falls. As she rises crying, he rushes over and throws himself before her knees to show that he is sorry.’)

Colas furieux accable Ninette de reproches, elle part d’un éclat de rire qui augment sa fureur; il s’emporte contre elle, lui jette le bouquet & les rubans qu’elle lui avoit donnés, & lui dit adieu pour jamais. Elle court le retenir, il la repousse si rudement qu’elle tombe. Il se hâte de se jetter à ses genoux pour lui témoigner son répentir. (Gardel 1782: 7) (‘Furious, Colas chides Ninette; she begins to leave, with a burst of laughter, which only increases his anger. He loses his temper with her, throws at her the nosegay and the ribbons that she gave him, and bids her farewell. She rushes over to him meaning to keep him from going; he pushes her back so roughly that she falls. He rushes over and throws himself before her knees to show that he is sorry.’)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)


(Arrangement for two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS & 1802 VERSION:

MUSIC YET TO ADDED

 

SCENE X

SCÈNE DIXIÈME. PENDANT que Ninette rebutte les excuses de Colas, Astolphe qui de loin a vu sa chûte accourt à son aide. Elle se plaint à lui de la pétulence de Colas, qui tente vainement de la fléchir en se mettant encore à ses génoux. Elle lui jette avec courroux les rubans & le bouquet qu’elle avoit reçus de lui, & sort avec Astolphe qui la tient dans ses bras. (Gardel 1777: 6) (‘Scene X. While Ninette rejects Colas’s apologies, Astolphe, who from afar has seen her fall, hastens up to help her. She complains to him of Colas’s peevishness, and the latter tries in vain to soothe her by getting down again before her knees. She angrily throws at him the ribbons and nosegay that he gave her and leaves with Astolphe, who holds her in his arms.’)

Astolphe qui de loin a vu la chûte de Ninette, accourt: elle se plaint à lui de la brutalité de Colas qui tente vainement de la fléchir. Elle lui jette à son tour, les rubans & le bouquet qu’elle avoit reçus de lui, & suit Astolphe qui la tient dans ses bras. (Gardel 1782: 7) (‘Astolphe, who from afar has seen Ninette fall, hastens forward. She complains to him of Colas’s roughness, and the latter tries in vain to soothe her. She in her turn throws at him the ribbons and nosegay that he gave her and leaves with Astolphe, who holds her in his arms.’)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)


(Arrangement for two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS & 1802 VERSION:

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

 

SCENE XI

SCÈNE ONZIÈME. COLAS resté seul paroît anéanti, puis il se dépite de son sort, & veut courir après son infidèle & le rival qui la lui enlève. (Gardel 1777: 7) (‘Scene XI. Alone, Colas seems crushed, then he bewails his lot, and means to run after his unfaithful one and the rival who has taken her from him.’)

Colas resté seul, demeure anéanti; il se plaint de son sort & veut courir après son infidèle; (Gardel 1782: 7-8) (‘Alone, Colas is crushed. He bewails his lot and is about to run after his unfaithful one.’)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)


(Arrangement for two flutes (Darina Ablogina, Liane Ehlich), two violins (Mojca Gal, Anna Lisa Rogers), viola (Sara Gomez), and cello (Carla Rovirosa))

PARIS & 1802 VERSION:

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

 

SCENE XII

A group of liveried huntsmen from the 1760s.

SCÈNE DOUZIEME. Les Chasseurs de la suite d’Astolphe entrent en dansant & entourent Colas, qui leur échappe: ils rient à ses dépens & se retirent en dansant. (Gardel 1777: 7) (‘Scene XII. The huntsmen in Astolphe’s following enter dancing and surround Colas, who escapes them. They laugh at him and exit dancing.’)

Les Chasseurs, par ordre du Roi, viennent tourmenter Colas: ils le balotent, rient à ses dépens, & le poursuivent après s’en être bien amusé. (Gardel 1782: 8) (‘The huntsmen, by order of the king, come and harass Colas. They push him around, laugh at him, and chase him off after having had their fun with him.’)

This was likely a mix of pantomime and dance in the half-serious style. Opéra records from Oct. 1780 suggest that there were eight huntsmen here during the performances that year.

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)

PARIS VERSION:

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

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A hunting scene showing Louis XV and his liveried huntsmen, by Jean Baptiste Budry (1730, Toulouse). It is likely that the huntsmen in Ninette were costumed so as to suggest livery, costumes of the same cut and color. Indeed, Noverre (1760: 181-82) alludes to use of one cut and color in theatrical costumes to suggests cohorts.

 

ENTR’ACTE

 

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ACT II

SET

Le Théâtre change & représente une chambre où des fauteuils sont placés d’un côté avec les habits de Ninette, de l’autre est une toilette. (Gardel 1777: 8) (‘The set changes showing a room [in the king’ palace]: At one side are chairs with Ninette’s clothes, and at the other, a dressing table.’)

Le Théâtre représente une Chambre: des fauteuils sont placés d’un côté avec les habits de Ninette, de l’autre est une toilette. (Gardel 1782: 11) (‘A room, chairs to one side with Ninette’s clothes.’)

A room in the Versailles palace, showing the then common arrangement of chairs lined up along the wall,. “The chairs to one side” mentioned in the Ninette program likely refer to this kind of arrangement, i.e., chairs lined up along one wing.

 

SCENE I

Porcelain pieces (1760s) showing dancers apparently in the serious style, men in tonnelets and women in paniers or hoop-skirts. The skirt of Ninette’s court dress would presumably have resembled the latter.

SCENE PREMIÈRE. NINETTE en habit de Cour, s’examine en riant, ses vêtemens la gêne, elle marche en faisant balancer son panier; on lui présente des diamans, elle est étonnée de leur éclat; en appercevant des fleurs, elle laisse tomber les diamans & marche dessus; à peine s’est-elle saisi du bouquet, elle reconnoît qu’il est artificiel & le jette dédaigneusement. (Gardel 1777: 7) (‘Scene I. Ninette in court dress looks at herself, laughing. Her clothes bother her. She walks about trying to keep her hoop-skirt from swaying. She is presented with diamonds; she is amazed by their sparkle. In catching sight of some flowers, she drops the diamonds and treads on them. No sooner does she take hold of the nosegay but she sees that it is artificial and casts it aside scornfully.’)

NINETTE, en habit de Cour, est suivie de plusieurs femmes-de-chambre qui, pour achever de la parer, la conduisent au miroir. Elle s’y examine & rit beaucoup de son ajustement. Elle marche en faisant balancer son panier; on lui présente des diamants, elle est étonnée de leur éclat; mais elle préfere un bouquet de fleurs qu’on prépare, & laisse tomber l’écrain, elle va le chercher; à peine s’en est-elle saisi, qu’elle reconnoît qu’il est artificiel & le jette dédaigneusement. (Gardel 1782: 11) (‘Ninette in court dress is attended by a number of chambermaids, who lead her to the mirror in order to adorn her. She looks at herself and begins to laugh wildly at her appearance. She walks about trying to keep her hoop-skirt from swaying. She is presented with diamonds. She is amazed by their sparkle, but she prefers a nosegay being prepared and drops her jewelry box. She goes over for it. No sooner does she take hold of it but she sees that it is artificial and casts it aside scornfully.’)

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A lady at her toilette or dressing table topped with a mirror and draped with a cloth, a very common arrangement shown in many contemporaneous illustrations (Louis Rolland Trinquesse 1776). The table with looking glass in Ninette would have presumably resembled this.

 

SCENE II

An affected dancing master with his pupil (1791). The reference to “a fashionable Pedant” in the description of the London production suggests that the dancing master in Ninette was perhaps conceived of as an affected fop.

SCÈNE DEUXIÈME. LE Maître à danser de la Cour arrive pour lui donner leçon; il lui fait une profonde révérence & lui fait entendre qu’il vient pour lui donner des grâces: il la prend par les mains, la fait d’abord tenir droite, puis marcher & tourner les pieds, ce qui l’ennuie fort, ensuite il lui donne une leçon de menuet & de contredanse. La gêne où elle est par le maintien qu’on lui fait observer, & par la pesanteur de ses habits, lui donne de l’humeur & lui fait quitter la leçon. Une de ses femmes de chambre lui apporte un éventail. Elle ignore ce que c’est. Le Maître à danser lui en apprend l’usage: elle cherche à l’imiter. (Gardel 1777: 7-8) (‘Scene II. The court dancing master arrives to give her a lesson. He bows deeply to her and makes it known that he has come to make her graceful. He takes her by the hands, has her first hold herself straight, then walk and turn out her feet, and this bothers her greatly. Then he gives her a lesson in [a few elements of] the minuet and contredanse. Discomforted by the deportment to be observed and the heaviness of her clothes, she becomes ill-humored and has him stop the lesson. One of the chambermaids brings her a fan. She has no clue what it is. The dancing master shows her how to use it, and she tries to ape him. ‘)

Le Maître à Danser de la Cour arrive, il lui fait une profonde révérence, lui donne la main, lui place la tête & les pieds, & la fait marcher. Il veut lui montrer le menuet, mais cette leçon l’ennuie, & elle va s’asseoir, très-fatiguée de la gêne de ses habits & du maintien qu’on lui fait observer. Une des femmes-de-chambre lui apporte un évantail: elle en ignore l’utilité; le Maître de Danse lui apprend à s’en servir. (Gardel 1782: 11-12) (‘The court dancing master arrives. He bows deeply to her, gives her his hand, arranges her head and feet and has her walk. He means to show her [some elements of] the minuet, but the lesson bores her, and she sits down, exasperated by the discomfort of her clothes and by the bearing to be observed. One of the chambermaids brings her a fan. She has no clue about how to use it. The dancing master shows her how to use it.’)

The satiric print Grown Ladies &c. Taught to Dance (1769): The dancing master struggles to correct his pupil, recalling the “dance lesson” in Ninette.

Her Dancing-Master now comes, with his Attendant, to teach her the Graces and the suitable Deportment of a Lady of Fashion; but her natural Simplicity cannot be reconciled to those endless Ceremonies. She looks upon them as a very dull and tedious Task; and being exceedingly tired with it, she sits herself down, when one of her Women brings her a Fan, which she considers with an Air of Surprise, and makes a very comical Use of it, till her Dancing-Master informs her, that there is a peculiar Art in handling a Fan, which she must absolutely learn; that every polite and well-bred Lady

Directs in wanton Motions so,
That it wounds more than Cupid’s Bow;
Gives Coolness to the artful Dame,
To ev’ry other Breast a Flame.

This, however, is all Greek to Nancy: The Dancing-Master seems to her no better than a fashionable Pedant, and his numberless Theorems of Good-breeding put her quite out of Humour. (Public Advertiser 26 Feb. 1781)


(MIDI version)

Benaut’s keyboard arrangement (1781).

 

Excerpt from Caraccioli’s Le livre de quatre couleurs (1759-60), a slightly tongue-in-cheek discussion of the lady’s fan. The latter had a use and “language” of which Ninette knows nothing.

 

SCENE III

SCÈNE TROISIÈME. ASTO[L]PHE paroît & ordonne au Maître à danser de se retirer: il obéit. (Gardel 1777: 9) (‘Scene III. Astolphe appears and orders the dancing master to leave. The latter does as bidden. ‘)

Astolphe, dans tout son éclat, arrive & congédie le Maître à Danser & les femmes-de-chambre. (Gardel 1782: 12) (‘Astolphe arrives in all his splendor and dismisses the dancing master and chambermaids.’)

The Prince enters, and finding her quite out of Breath, and her lovely Cheeks flushed at a strange Rate, he enquires after the Cause of her Agitation, when she gives him to understand that her Dancing-Master has exercised her too much. He orders the Dancing-Master to withdraw. (Public Advertiser 26 Feb. 1781)

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SCENE IV

SCÈNE QUATRIEME. ASTOPLPHE regarde tendrement Ninette: il lui vante sa gentillesse Ses complimens l’ennuient: elle se cache avec son éventail pour pouvoir bailler librement. (Gardel 1777: 10) (‘Scene IV. Astolphe ogles Ninette and praises her charming appearance. His compliments bore her. She hides behind her fan so as to be able to yawn freely. ‘)

Ensuite il regarde Ninette tendrement, & vante ses charmes & sa gentillesse (Gardel 1782: 12) (‘Then he ogles Ninette and praises her charms and charming appearance.’)

And finding himself alone with the Objet of his Affections, he takes Occasion to renew his tender Solicitations, which he does in a more passionate Manner than before, her natural Charms being, in his Opinion, considerably enhanced by the Brilliancy of her fashionable Dress. Poor Nancy, however, is exceedingly uneasy and low-spirited, and lets the Prince know that she is not at all pleased with her Situation. (PA 26 Feb. 1781)


(MIDI version)


Le Roi ne pouvant la fléchir lui demande ce qu’elle veut: elle lui avoue que l’absence de Colas est la seule cause de son chagrin: il ordonne qu’on le fasse venir & prend amoureusement la main de Ninette. (Gardel 1777: 10) (‘Unable to sway her, the king asks what she wants: She tells him that the absence of Colas is the sole cause of her glumness. He has him summoned and lovingly takes Ninette’s hand. ‘)

He begs to know the Reason of her Uneasiness; assures her, that her Wishes shall never be controulted [i.e., overruled]; that he is anxious about nothing but her Happiness, that Object alone engrossing all his Thoughts, and that he is ready to comply with any Thing her Fancy might suggest to her. She immediately replies, that she only wants to see Colas, for she cannot live without him. This ingenuous Declaration is a little mortifying for his Highness, but being deeply skilled in the Rules of Gallantry, he takes Care not to contradict the Caprices of his Mistress, especially as it is natural for a Prince in Love, to flatter himself that he has nothing to fear from the Competition of a Clown. He therefore gives Order to the Captain of his Guards to send for Colas; and as he always endeavours to improve his Time, he throws himself at the Feet of his bewitching Nancy, repeating in a soft languishing Tone his amorous Protestations. (PA 26 Feb. 1781)


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SCENE V

SCÈNE CINQUIÈME. EN ce moment arrive la Comtesse: elle regarde avec mépris cette petite personne & complimente ironiquement Astolphe sur sa nouvelle conquête. (Gardel 1777: 10) (‘Scene V. At that moment the countess appears. She regards this little person with contempt and, with irony, compliments Astolphe on his new conquest.’)

Ils sont surpris par la Comtesse qui regarde avec hauteur sa rivale. Elle complimente le Roi sur sa nouvelle conquête. (Gardel 1782: 12) (‘They are surprised by the appearance of the countess, who looks down at her rival. She compliments the king on his new conquest.’)

In this humble Attitude he is surprised by the Countess, a Lady the Prince is shortly to be married to, every Thing being already settled for that Purpose. The Surprise puts his Highness a little out of Countenance; but as a Man of the World, he immediately endeavours to throw a Blind on the whole Matter, in order to conceal his Weakness from his future Spouse. Her Ladyship, however, being as knowing as himself, receives his Apologies with an ironical Face, and forgets not to banter him on the Refinement of his Taste, as well as the Sincerity of his Attachment. (PA 26 Feb. 1781)


(MIDI version)


Son dépit augmente en le voyant retenir Ninette qui vouloit se retirer; . . . (Gardel 1777: 10) (‘Her scorn increases in seeing him hold back Ninette, who means to withdraw, . .’)

Ninette étonnée, veut s’en aller, mais Alphonse [i.e. Astolphe] la retient . . . (Gardel 1782: 12) (‘Shocked, Ninette is about to leave, but Alphonse [i.e. Astolphe] stops her . . .’)


(MIDI version)


. . .  & engage la Comtesse à calmer son dépit. (Gardel 1782: 12) (‘. . . and presses the countess to curb her pique.’)

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. . . mais elle dissimule & feint d’avoir envie de s’en amuser, paroissant la trouver charmante. Elle la retourne d’un air dédaigneux, lui fait lever la tête avec brusquerie, & la pique en faisant semblant d’y poser une fleur. Ninette la repousse & se met à pleurer. Astolphe vient la calmer. (Gardel 1777: 10-11) (‘. . . but she dissembles and feigns a wish to amuse herself, seeming to find her charming. With a scornful air, she has her turn around, roughly raises her head, and pricks her in pretending to place a flower. Ninette pushes her away and begins to cry. Astolphe comes and calms her.’)

Elle dissimule & prend le parti de s’amuser aux dépens de Ninette; elle la retourne, lui fait lever la tête & lui attache, une fleur à la tête pour avoir le plaisir de la piquer. Ninette la repousse & se met à pleurer. Astolphe vient la calmer. (Gardel 1782: 12) (‘She dissembles and decides to have fun at Ninette’s expense. She has her turn around and raise her head, and attaches a flower to her head so as to have the pleasure of pricking her. Ninette pushes her away and begins to cry. Astolphe comes and calms her.’)

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Emilie défend à Ninette d’oser reparoître en sa présence, . . . (Gardel 1777: 11) (‘Emilie forbids her to appear ever again in her presence . . .’)


(MIDI version)


. . . & présente sa main au Roi qui est obligé de la reconduire. (Gardel 1777: 11) (‘and holds out her hand to the king, who is obliged to escort her out.’)

On vient avertir le Roi que toute la Cour est assemblée pour le Bal. Il donne la main à la Comtesse . . . (Gardel 1782: 12) (‘The king is informed that the whole court has assembled for the ball. He gives his hand to the countess . . .’)

During this Scene, a Symphony is heard, announcing an elegant Entertainment, alias a Fete, the Prince ordered to be got ready for the Sake of Nancy. He makes it up with the Countess as well as he can, and hands her to the Ball-Room, . . . (PA 26 Feb. 1781)

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Scene VI

SCÈNE SIXIÈME. ON vient avertir Ninette qu’on l’attend à la Cour. (Elle sort.) (Gardel 1777: 11) (‘Scene VI. Ninette is informed that she is awaited at court. (She leaves.)’)

. . . & ordonne à ses Écuyers d’y conduire Ninette. (Gardel 1782: 12) (‘. . . and orders his squires to escort Ninette’)

. . . while some Pages come to fetch Nancy. (PA 26 Feb. 1781)


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SET CHANGE

(Le Théâtre change & représente un sallon orné pour un bal.) (Gardel 1777: 11) (‘(The set changes, revealing a room decorated for a ball.)’)

Le Théâtre change & représente un magnifique Sallon orné de lustres & de girandolles. (Gardel 1782: 12) (‘The set changes, revealing a mangificent room decorated with lights and candalabras..’)

The Scene changes to a Ball-Room, to which Nancy is conducted by her Pages. (PA 26 Feb. 1781)

The ballroom in St. Peterburg’s Winter Palace.

 

Scene VII

SCÈNE SEPTIÈME. NINETTE paroît étonnée de la magnificence de la salle: la Comtesse paroît avec sa suite & s’amuse un instant au dépend de Ninette. (Gardel 1777: 11) (‘Scene VII. Ninette enters, amazed by the room’s magnificence. The countess appears with her following and momentarily has fun at Ninette’s expense.’)

Ninette arrive & est étonnée de la magnificence de la Salle: la Comtesse entourée des Dames de sa suite, survient & s’amuse un instant aux dépens de Ninette. (Gardel 1782: 12-13) (‘Ninette arrives and is amazed by the room’s magnificence. The countess, surrounded by ladies-in-waiting, then arrives and momentarily has fun at Ninette’s expense.’)

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Scene VIII (The Ball)

Entrance March

SCÈNE HUITIÈME. LE Roi arrive avec son cortége, . . . (Gardel 1777: 12) (‘Scene VIII. The king arrives with his following, . . .’)

Ensuite arrive le Roi avec son cortege. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘The king arrives with his cortege.’)

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Pantomime

. . . on commence le Bal, dont le Maître à Danser fait les honneurs; Astolphe lui fait ordonner de danser un menuet avec Ninette, elle veut refuser; mais le Roi lui témoigne qu’elle lui fera plaisir; . . . (Gardel 1777: 12) (‘. . . the ball begins. The dancing master has the honors of beginning it. Astolphe has him informed that he is to dance a minuet with Ninette. She wants to refuse, but the king indicates that she would thereby please him; . . .’)

Le Roi ordonne au Maître de Danse de faire commencer le Bal. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘The king orders the dancing master to have the ball begin.’)

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Dances No. 1-4

Les tricolets [i.e., tricotets] dansés par les Seigneurs & Dames de la Cour. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘Les tricolets [i.e., Les tricotets] danced by the lords and ladies of the court.’)


(MIDI version, dance 1)

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(MIDI version, dance 4)

These four dances almost certainly would have been performed without pauses between them. Noferi (see image below) presents the four as one single piece, and the Paris score has the annotation “enchaînez” after the first three. Given the context, one would expect choreography in the serious style.

A reduction of the four dances of Les tricotets based on the 1781 London production (Noferi).

 

Title page and first page of Malpied’s engraving of a “danse de ville” (‘ballroom dance’) choreographed to the music Les tricotets (c1780). The music appears in a number of 18C sources, an indication that it was popular in the ballroom. Gardel presumably chose to use the same music in the Ninette ballroom scene because of this association. The last of the four tunes was also used later by Tchaikovsky in his ballet The Sleeping Beauty.

The pas d’Henri IV as it appears in Malpied’s ballroom dance.

One small detail is known about Gardel’s choreography for the fourth dance of Les tricotets. According to Despréaux (1806: 2/268), who in fact performed the role of the dancing master in the Opéra’s 1778 production of this work and so had first-hand experience of the ballet, a step called the pas d’Henri IV, which amounted to five stamps of the foot, was seemingly included:

Thus is called a stamping of the foot that Henry the Fourth used to do when dancing the end of the last passage of les tricotets and which exactly marks the value of the five syllables in de boire et de battre [’to drink and to fight’]. This stamping, although very simple, produces a great effect when it is executed with precision by a whole quadrille. Gardel the Elder placed this dance in the ballet Ninette à la cour in 1780 [i.e., 1778]; it had the greatest success.

 

1802 VERSION:

The last of the four pieces was cut in the 1802 production (see image below). Since the music had acquired an independent existence as a royalist anthem in support of the Bourbon dynasty (“Vive Henri IV”), Pierre Gardel presumably cut it so as not to offend Napoleon, who took a keen interest in the programming at the Opéra.

The last of Les tricotets stroked out in one of the violin I part books in the 1802 material.

Incidentally, the last of the four melodies making up Les tricotets was also used by Tchaikovsky for the “apotheosis” in The Sleeping Beauty. To hear a performance of the latter, follow the Youtube link:


Dances No. 5-6

Menuet de la Reine, dansé par le Roi & la Comtesse. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘Menuet de la reine [and Gavotte] danced by the king and the countess.’)

This two-part duet almost certainly was in the serious style, as suggested by both the context as well as the classification of the dancers who performed the roles of the king and countess.

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The minuet melody was taken from André-Modeste Grétry’s opera Céphale et Procris (1773). To hear a performance of this music as it appears in the opera, follow the Youtube link (38:53-39:53):

Ttitle page of Malpied’s notation of a “danse de ville” (‘ballroom dance’) choreographed to the same Grétry tune. This dance is said to have been created by Gardel, presumably for the French court, where Gardel was also a ballet master and dancing master. This piece was clearly not Gardel’s choreography from the ballet, as the title page makes clear, despite unfounded claims found in some ballet histories.

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Dance No. 7

. . . alors elle le danse ridiculement. (Gardel 1777: 12) (‘She [i.e., Ninette] then dances it ridiculously.’)

Menuet de Ninette & du Maître à Danser. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘Minuet for Ninette and the dancing master.’)

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All the available information suggests that this dance was in the comic style. In her realization of the role of Ninette, Guimard clearly attempted to bring out the comedy in the quirky music:

To give some idea of the difficulty inherent in the role of Ninette and to do the greatest honour to Mlle Guimard, it can be said that she in vain took great pains to be off the music in the minuet which she dances before the king and his court, but her sensitive ear always kept her steps from losing touch with the music. (JP 30 Aug. 1778: 967)

An attempt to appear awkward also characterized Baccelli’s performance as Ninette in the 1781 London production, wherein a reviewer (PA 26 Feb. 1781) appreciated her

Display of that rural Naivete, which forms the Character. . . . We thought her as inimitable in her affected Aukwardness in attempting the Minuet, as she is, when her Part requires of her the Exertion of those extraordinary Abilities which speak her one of the first Women of her Profession.


Dance No. 8

Gavotte, par un Seigneur de la Cour, & une Dame. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘Gavotte by one lord of the court and a lady.’)

This dance was likely in the half-serious style. Indeed, in the 1782 court performance, it was danced by Auguste Vestris and Dorival, both formally classed as half-serious dancers at the Opéra.

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The reference to “a new entrée” added as the eighth number in the second act (see image below) presumably refers to this piece, i.e., the eighth dance in the second-act ballroom scene.

“On the 27 April [1780], there was added a new entrée danced by monsieur Gardel Sr. and mademoiselle Théodore in the ballroom scene, no. 8 of act II” (Beffara 1783-4).

1802 VERSION:

Pierre Gardel apparently intended to include the Gavotte de Vestris (see image), but it clearly did not make it into the actual performance. It is highly unlike that this music was ever part of Maximilien’s ballet. In the program to Pierre’s La dansomanie (1800), the gavotte is said to be “new;” by that year, Ninette had not been performed since 1785.

The Gavotte de Vestris in one of the first violin part books of the 1802 production, stroked out and partly covered over with an addition.

For a discussion and performance of the early 19C ballroom dance the Gavotte de Vestris, follow the Youtube link:


Dance No. 9

Le Bal finit par une Angloise; . . . (Gardel 1777: 12) (‘The ball ends with an anglaise . . .’)

Contre-Danse Anglaise qui termine le Bal. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘English contredanse ending the ball.’)

This would have been a group dance for all the performers in the scene.

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A schematic illustration showing “a column of 16 couples” in an English contredanse (Link 1796). Some formations typical of ballroom contredanses were indeed used on stage. A column of couples, as shown above, was a characteristic arrangement in English country dances. The program description above suggests that such an arrangement, among others, was perhaps used at this point in the ballroom scene.


Exit March

. . . après laquelle tout le monde se retire. (Gardel 1777: 12) (‘. . . after which everyone withdraws.’)

Marche sur laquelle tout le monde se retire. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘March wherein everyone withdraws.’)

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SET CHANGE

(Le Théâtre change, & représente la chambre de Ninette où l’on voit une table, une bergere & plusieurs fauteils.) (Gardel 1777: 12) (‘The set changes and shows Ninette’s room, with a table, bergère and several armchairs.’)

Le Théâtre change & représente la chambre de Ninette. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘The set changes and shows Ninette’s room.’)

 

Scene IX

SCÈNE NEUVIÈME. COLAS entre furieux; on le poursuit en lui arrachant son chapeau & se moquant de lui; il met l’épée à la main, & met en fuite ceux qui s’acharnoient après lui. (Gardel 1777: 12) (‘Scene IX. Colas enters furious. He is pursued; his hat is pulled off, and he is mocked. He draws his swords and puts to flight those hounding him.’)

Colas, en habit de Cour, poursuivi par les Pages & les Écuyers, entre furieux de voir qu’on rit à ses dépens; il met l’épée à la main, & met en fuite ceux qui s’acharnoient après lui. (Gardel 1782: 13) (‘Colas, in court dress, pursued by the pages and squires, enters, furious to see himself laughed at. He draws his sword and chases off those who were set against him.’)

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Scene X

SCÈNE DIXIÈME. RESTÉ seul, Colas reprend haleine, ramasse son chapeau, & se jette dans un fauteuil où il s’évente. (Gardel 1777: 13) (‘Scene X. Alone, Colas catches his breath, picks up his hat, and flops down in a chair where he fans himself.’)

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Scene XI

A costume design for the Opéra dancer Langlois in the opera Alcindor (1787), showing a veil attached to the headdress. Something similar was presumably worn by Ninette.

SCÈNE ONZIÈME. NINETTE paroît au fond du Théâtre. Colas la salue profondément. Ninette charmée de ce qu’il ne la reconnoît pas, s’approche en laissant tomber un voile; elle affecte de le considere, & témoigne le trouver charmant. Il est d’abord interdit; mais il profite de l’occasion pour se venger des perfidies de Ninette qui lui offre une bourse d’argent, & lui fait entendre que s’il veut l’aimer, elle lui fera sa fortune. Il refuse ses dons; elle paroît au désespoir, affecte de tomber en foiblesse. Colas embarassé, ne sçait que faire; il veut la délacer, il va chercher de l’eau & est prêt à lui en jetter, lorsqu’elle paroît revenir à elle, en le regardant tendrement. Elle lui présente la main qu’il prend & serre avec vivacité; alors elle ôte son voile, & saisi Colas au collet; il reste un moment interdit, ensuite la joie de retrouver Ninette . . . (Gardel 1777: 13-14) (‘Scene XI. Ninette enters at the back of the stage. Colas greets her with a deep bow. Amused that he does not recognize her, Ninette draws near, letting down her veil. She finds pleasure in gazing at him and shows that she finds him charming. At first he is dumbfounded, but he takes advantage of the situation to revenge himself on Ninette for her unfaithfulness. She offers him a purse of money and gives him to understand that if he will be her lover, she will make him rich. He turns down her gifts. She looks as if in despair and feigns a swoon. In this predicament, Colas is at a loss. He wants to loosen her lacing; he looks for some water and is about to throw some on her when she seems to come to again and looks at him sweetly. She offers him her hand, which he takes and brusquely clasps. Then she lifts her veil and seizes Colas by the collar. For a moment he is dumbfounded, then the joy of finding Ninette again . . .’)

Ninette revient du Bal. Colas qui ne la reconnoît pas, la salue. Elle laisse tomber son voile, s’approche de lui pour l’éprouver & lui fait mille complimens. Il est enchanté de trouver l’occasion de se venger des perfidies de Ninette, qui lui offre une bourse, & l’espoir de faire sa fortune, s’il veut l’aimer. Il refuse ses dons, & Ninette feint d’en être piquée au point de se laisser évanouir. Colas embarassé, fait tous ses efforts pour la faire revenir. Elle lui présente la main qu’il baise; alors elle ôte son voile & saisi Colas au colet; la joye de retrouver sa chere Maitresse le met hors de lui; . . . (Gardel 1782: 14) (‘Ninette comes back from the ball. Colas, who does not recognize her, greets her. She lets down her veil, draws nears to him in order to test him and compliments him profusely. He is delighted to have a chance to revenge himself on Ninette for her unfaithfulness. She offers him a purse, with the promise of making him rich if he will be her lover. He turns down her gifts, and Ninette pretends to be so hurt by this that she feints. In this predicament, Colas does his best to bring her to. She offers him her hand, which he kisses. Then she lifts her veil and seizes Colas by the collar. He is overcome with the joy of having found his beloved again.’)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED


. . . & la honte de l’avoir trahie, le met dans un état affreux; il la prie de croire qu’il l’adore; mais elle ne veut pas l’écouter; sort précipitamment. Il court après elle. (Gardel 1777: 14) (‘. . . and the shame of having betrayed her put him in a frightful state. He begs her to believe that he loves her, but she will hear nothing of it and rushes out. He runs after her.’)

. . . il la conjure de croire qu’il l’adore; mais elle ne veut pas l’écouter, & se sauve précipitament. Il la poursuit. (Gardel 1782: 14) (‘He begs her to believe that he loves her, but she will hear nothing of it and hastens away. He goes in pursuit.’)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

 

Scene XII

Miniature portraits were often worn at the wrist of fashionable women.

SCÈNE DOUZIÈME. ASTOLPHE vient à dessein d’entretenir Ninette, qu’il est surpris de ne point voir; Emilie le surprend à la chercher, & lui fait de tendres reproches de son inconstance; il veut s’efforcer de lui persuader qu’il ne lui est point infidèle; mais son air embarassé ne laisse que trop entrevoir son amour pour Ninette. Alors Emilie arrache son portrait qu’elle a reçu de lui, & le lui rend; il refuse de le reprendre, & sort tout troublé.(Gardel 1777: 14-15) (‘Scene XII. Astolphe comes meaning to speak with Ninette but is surprised not to find her. Emilie comes upon him unawares while looking for her and tenderly upbraids him for his unsteadfastness. He does his best to persuade her that he has not been unfaithful to her, but his apparent uneasiness all too clearly betrays his love for Ninette. Emilie then snatches the portrait of him that he gave her and wants to give it back to him. He will not take it back and leaves greatly upset.’)

Astolphe impatient de revoir sa chere Ninette, revient, & est au désespoir de ne la point trouver. La Comtesse qui prévoit le sort qui la menace, le suit, & le surprend inquiet sur le parti qu’il prendra. Le Roi étonné de la voir, écoute ses tendres reproches; il veut lui presuader qu’il n’est point infidèle; mais son air embarassé ne laisse que trop entrevoir son amour pour Ninette. La Comtesse outragée arrache le portrait qu’elle a reçu de lui, & le lui rend; il refuse de le reprendre, & sort tout troublé; . . . (Gardel 1782: 14-15) (‘Astolphe, most keen to see his beloved Ninette again, comes again and is downcast by not finding her. The countess, who foresees the fate that threatens her, enters in pursuit of him and comes upon him in his upset over whom he will favor. Surprised to see her, he listens to her tender reproaches. He would have her believe that he has not been not unfaithful, but his apparent uneasiness all too clearly betrays his love for Ninette. Outraged, the countess snatches the portrait that he gave to her and wants to give it back to him. He will not take it back and leaves greatly upset.’)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

Scene XIII

SCÈNE TREIZIÈME. EMILIE au désespoir, se laisse tomber dans un fauteuil, . . . (Gardel 1777: 15) (‘Scene XIII. In despair, Emilie flings herself into an armchair.’)

. . . restée seule, elle se livre à tout son désespoir; . . . (Gardel 1782: 15) (‘Alone, she gives herself up to her despair.’)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED


Ninette qui revient du Bal, l’apperçoit qui gémit. Elle court à elle; la Comtesse la regarde avec fureur; mais elle se calme en apprenant de Ninette qu’elle ne veut plus rester à la Cour; elle l’embrasse de plaisir. Ninette voyant de loin venir le Roi, dit à Emilie de se cacher dans un cabinet, & lui promet de les racommoder ensemble. La Comtesse entre dans le cabinet, & Ninette court au-devant du Prince. (Gardel 1777: 15) (‘Ninette, who returns from the ball, sees her bemoaning her lot and runs to her. The countess glowers at her, but she becomes calm when she learns from Ninette that the latter does not want to remain at court any longer. Transported, she embrasses her. Seeing the king approaching, Ninette tells Emilie to hide in a cabinet and promises to help her become reconciled with him. The countess goes into the cabinet, and Ninette hastens to meet the prince.’)

Ninette arrive & la voit qui gémit, elle court à elle; la Comtesse la regarde avec fureur, & Ninette lui apprend qu’elle ne veut plus rester à la Cour. Cette nouvelle remplie de joie, la Comtesse qui l’embrasse avec transport. On apperçoit le Roi qui s’avance; Ninette fait cacher la Comtesse dans un cabinet, après lui avoir promis de la servir, & va au-devant du Roi. (Gardel 1782: 15) (‘Ninette arrives and sees her bemoaning her lot. She runs to her. The countess glowers at her, and Ninette tells her that she does not want to remain at court any longer. This news fills the countess with joy, and transported, she embraces her. The king is seen approaching; Ninette has the countess hide in a cabinet after promising to help her and hastens to meet the king.’)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

 

Scene XIV

SCÈNE QUATORZIÈME. COLAS entre & remarquant Astolphe & Ninette qui s’approchent ensemble, inquiet de ce qu[’]ils vont faire & desirant les voir sans en être apperçu, il se tapit sous une table. (Gardel 1777: 16) (‘Scene XIV. Colas enters, and seeing that Astolphe and Ninette together are drawing near, worried about what they might do, and wishing to see them without being seen, he hides under a table.’)

Colas entre & voit de loin le Roi & Ninette qui s’avancent, il se cache sous la table pour s’instruire de son sort. (Gardel 1782: 15) (‘Colas enters and sees the king and Ninette coming. He hides under the table, so as to discover what his fate is to be.’)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

 

Scene XV

SCÈNE QUINZIÈME. NINETTE entre avec le Roi qu’elle fait approcher; elle éteint les lumieres; Astolphe veut lui prodiguer les plus tendres caresses, elle l’engage à différer jusqu’à ce qu’elle ait vû si l’on ne sçauroit les surprendre; sous ce prétexte elle va jusqu’à la porte du cabinet. (Gardel 1777: 16) (‘Scene XV. Ninette enters with the king, whom she has draw near. She puts out the lights. Astolphe wants to shower her with sweet caresses. She gets him to wait until she has made sure that no one can come upon them unawares. Under this pretext, she goes to the cabinet door.’)

Ninette conduit le Roi qui veut lui prodiguer les plus tendres caresses; elle l’enage à différer jusqu’à qu’elle ait vu si l’on ne sauroit le surprendre; elle apperçoit Colas sous la table, éteint les lumieres & va chercher la Comtesse à qui elle fait prendre sa place: elle sort bien vîte. (Gardel 1782: 15) (‘Ninette leads the king, who wishes to shower her with sweet caresses. She gets him to wait until she has made sure that no one can come upon them unawares. She catches sight of Colas under the table, puts out the lights and goes to the countness, whom she has take her place. She leaves very quickly.’)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

 

Scene XVI

SCÈNE SEIZIÈME. NINETTE en fait sortir la Comtesse & lui fait prendre sa place, sans que le Roi s’en apperçoive; Astolphe tombe aux genoux de la Comtesse & lui baise la main, croyant que c’est celle de Ninette; Colas qui le présume de même se désole & se croit perdu: cependant Ninette paroit, tenant deux flambeaux & fait voir au Roi sa méprise: Colas qui sortoit furieux de dessous la table, reste interdit; le Prince confus n’ose regarder Émilie, qui le fixe tendrement; Ninette lui recommande de faire le bonheur de celle dont il est aimé, & va se jetter dans les bras de Colas, qui la reçoit avec transport & l’embrasse de tout son cœur. Astolphe convaincu de l’amour de la Comtesse, tombe à ses genoux & lui promet sa main, il unit ensuite Colas & Ninette, il appelle ses Pages & leur ordonne d’aller tout préparer au Village de ces deux Amans pour leurs nôces. (Gardel 1777: 17-18) (‘Scene XVI. Ninette has the countess come out and take her place without the king noticing. Astolphe falls before the countess’s knees and kisses her hand, thinking that it is Ninette’s. Presuming the same, Colas is saddened and imagines himself lost. Ninette, however, appears, holding two candlesticks, and causes the king to see his error. Colas, who comes out from under the table furious, is dumbfounded. Ashamed, the prince dares not look at Emilie, who intently but tenderly looks at him. Ninette advises him to make happy the one who loves him and goes and throws herself into the arms of Colas, who receives her ecstatically and embraces her with all his heart. Assured of the countess’s love, Astolphe falls to her knees and promises her his hand. He unites Colas and Ninette. He calls his pages and orders them to go and have everything prepared in the couple’s village for their wedding.’)

Astolphe se croyant avec Ninette, tombe aux genoux de la Comtesse, & lui dit mille fois qu’il l’adore. Colas qui le présume de même, se désole & se croit perdu. Ninette paroît, tenant deux flambeaux & fait voir au Roi sa méprise; le [16] Prince confus détourne les yeux de la Comtesse qui le fixe tendrement; Ninette le conjure de faire le bonheur de celle dont il est aimé. Il revient à lui & se jette aux genoux de la Comtesse, qui lui pardonne aisément ses torts. Colas, de son côté, vole avec transport à sa chere Ninette qui ne veut point l’écouter. Il va implorer les bontés du Roi, qui se charge de la réconciliation. Il appelle & ordonne d’aller préparer dans ses jardins une fête pour la nôce de Ninette & de Colas. (Ils sortent). (Gardel 1782: 15-16) (‘Thinking that he is with Ninette, Astolphe falls before the countess’s knees and tells a thousand times that he adores her. Colas, who presumes the same, is saddened and imagines himself lost. Ninette appears, holding two candlesticks, and causes the king to see his error. Ashamed, the prince averts his eyes from the countess, who intently but tenderly looks at him. Ninette beseeches him to make happy the one who loves him. He returns to her and throws himself before the knees of the countess, who readily forgives his wrongs. For his part, an ecstatic Colas rushes to his dear Ninette, who will not have him. He turns to the king and implores his kindness. The king takes it upon himself to reconcile them. He calls [his servants] and orders them to go and prepare festivities in his garden to celebrate the wedding of Ninette and Colas. (They exit.)’)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

Ninette coming in with candlesticks, while the king is on bended knee before the countess and Colas is under the table, illustration from a 1778 German translation of Favart’s libretto.

 

ENTR’ACTE

STOCKHOLM VERSION

Not extant

PARIS VERSION

YET TO BE ADDED

1802 VERSION

YET TO BE ADDED

 

ACT III

 

SET

(Le Théâtre change & représente des jardins galament décorés: au fond est une estrade ou berceau, garnie de fleurs.) (Gardel 1777: 18) (‘The set changes, showing some gardens stylishly adorned; at the back there is a dais or bower, bedecked with flowers.’)

THE Scene represents a delitious Garden, . . . (PA 26 Feb. 1781)

A set from the Drottningholm palace theater in Sweden showing an outdoor scene.

 

Entrance March

MARIAGE DE NINETTE. LE Bailli, le Syndic, le Magister & le Notaire ouvrent la marche; après eux viennent les Garçons & Filles du Village, des Gardes chasses, les Seigneurs de la Cour, Astolphe, Émilie & leurs Pages ainsi que les futurs époux. (Gardel 1777: 18) (‘The bailli, the syndic, the magistrate, and the notary lead the march; after them come the lads and maidens of the village, the rangers, the lords of the court, Astolphe, Emilie, and their pages, as well as the newly weds.’)


(MIDI version)


Royal Blessing

Astolphe unit Colas à Ninette, donne la main à la Comtesse & va se placer avec elle sur les gradins préparés. (Gardel 1777: 19) (‘Astolphe unites Colas and Ninette; he gives his hand to the countess, and they go and take up their place on the tiers that have been made ready.’)

ASTOLPHE unit Colas & Ninette, & va se placer sur un thrône de fleurs. (Gardel 1782: 19) (‘Astolphe unites Colas and Ninette and takes up his position on a throne of flowers.’)


(MIDI version)


Divertissement

Alors commence une fête aussi variée que gaie. (Gardel 1777: 19) (‘Then begin the festivities, which are as varied as they are gay.’)

 

Dance No. 1 (Pas de Deux in the Comic Style)

Alors les nouveaux Mariés commencent la fête, . . . (Gardel 1782: 19) (‘The newly weds begin the festivities . . .’)

. . . and the Bridegroom and Bride dance together, to shew their joy at the Conclusion of their mutual Felicity. (PA 26 Feb. 1781)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:


(MIDI version)

In the Paris version, this music was repurposed as Ninette’s dance in act I, scene vii.

PARIS VERSION:


(Capella Savaria, Mary Térey-Smith, Naxos, as the music appears in Rameau)

This was taken from Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera La naissance d’Osiris (1754); the short section in the minor was cut for the ballet.

LONDON VERSION:

Midway through the London production of Ninette in 1781, G. Vestris is said to have introduced “improvements” to the ballet. No source outlines what these were. One possibility is that some of the dances for the soloists were changed, with new music and new choreography added or used to replace originals (see also the Postscript below). (Vestris had earlier in the run introduced a dance to the music The Devonshire Minuet.) The second of Noferi’s three volumes of music associated with this production contains pieces from Les caprices de Galathée and Ninette à la cour. A few of the pieces do not appear in the extant scores of either these two works, and it is possible that these unaccounted-for pieces were part of his “improvements.” One of the pieces is a dance from Gossec’s 1775 opera Philémon et Baucis, a lightly revised form of the third movement (allegro pastorale gracioso) from his Symphony No.2 in E Flat (Brook 82) written c1771-1774. Noferi indicates that this music was danced to by Auguste Vestris and Giovanna Baccelli. This pas de deux was perhaps a replacement of the original for the wedding duet.

The first page of Noferi’s arrangement of Gossec’s “Danse des Bergers.”

To hear a performance of the symphonic version, follow the Youtube link (up to 2:09):

 

The comic style was characteristically lively and airborne, with many jumps. Consider the sequence shown here. (Ferrère uses a notational short-hand here, wherein the number of beats is signaled simply by the digit 4, to avoid having to write out all the position changes.)


Dance No. 2 (Pas de Deux in the Serious Style)

. . . & les Seigneurs, les Dames, les Paysans, les Bergers, &c. se mêlent & forment un Ballet général aussi galant que varié. (Gardel 1782: 19) (‘. . . and the lords, the ladies, the peasants, shepherds, and so forth join in and form a general ballet as stylish as varied.’)

All the Peasants now address the Prince and the Countness, intreating them to take a Share in their Amusements, which the Prince contents to, and dances with the Countess.  There follow several Ballets; . . . (PA 26 Feb. 1781)

STOCKHOLM VERSION:

This dance seems to have been cut from the Stockholm production. The original notation has been pasted over.

PARIS VERSION:


(MIDI version)

Benaut’s keyboard arrangement (1781).

LONDON PRODUCTION:

The 1781 London production at the King’s Theatre, mounted by G. Vestris, presumably used the same music as found in the Paris version. In the some of the performances during the run, a dance to the music The Devonshire Minuet was inserted. The dance may have been placed here, as a kind of adjunct to the duet, or as a replacement of it. Noferi (1781) published a reduction of the music, which is given here:


(MIDI version)

The first page of a reduction of The Devonshire Minuet as presented by Noferi (1781).

 

Two porcelain figurines (Höchst 1758) representing theatrical dancers, specifically in small poses (as shown by the lack of turnout and the fanciful arrangement of the arms). The male dancer wears a tonnelet, a kind of male tutu, typical of dancers in the serious style, which was mainly a slow terre-à-terre genre. The woman is shown in street shoes rather than dance shoes. Extant dances in notation indicate that 18C pas de deux were strongly characterized by mirror-image symmetry, as shown here.

A notational example showing mirror-image symmetry in a serious-style dance (Le Roussau c1720).


 

The remainder of the divertissement varied greatly in the different productions.

 

STOCKHOLM VERSION

Dance No. 3 (Gigue)

This was perhaps a group dance in the comic style.


(MIDI version)

Ranzegnati, or jumps with the feet drawn up, were a characteristic feature of the comic and grotesque styles. Above is a reconstruction of a comic changement de pieds.


Dance No. 4

This was perhaps a group dance in the half-serious style.

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

The half-serious style combined the lively airborne quality of the comic with the elegance of the serious style. The image above shows a reconstruction of a cabriole en avant as described at the beginning of the eighteenth century.


Dance No. 5 (Tambourin)

This was perhaps a pas de deux in the half-serious style for a lord and lady of the court (to balance the two foregoing pas de deux).

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

A tambourin was a characteristic piece of music intended to evoke the music of the folk-instrument combo the tambourin (drum) and galoubet (whistle). At the time of Ninette‘s premiere, the Paris Opéra orchestra included a musician who played the tambourin. The famed dancer Camargo excelled in dancing tambourins, according to Noverre, and Lancret’s portrait of her (above) shows her dancing to the folk instruments.


Dance No. 6

This was perhaps a group dance in the serious style for the lords and ladies of the court.

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED


Dance No. 7 (Contredanse Générale)

. . . and the whole Entertainment concludes with a general Country Dance. (PA 26 Feb. 1781)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED


 

PARIS VERSION

SEVERAL PIECES TO BE ADDED

Dance no. 11 (Contredanse Générale)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED

Benaut’s keyboard arrangement of the contredanse générale (1781).

 

A bird’s eye view of a sequence of figures from a complex ballroom contredanse by Magri (1779). Theatrical contredanses were expected to make imaginative use of interesting patterns.

On small detail about Gardel’s contredanse générale is known from a review:

If it is true that the corps should really be made to execute only simple steps and assume natural attitudes in order to avoid making grimaces, then it seems to us that in contredanses générales, too much use is made of that figure wherein the dancers quickly have to pass one after the other beneath each others’ arms. The height of the women’s coiffeurs, and the fear of mishaps that might befall if they were to bump against [the raised arms], constrains them to stoop too low and to assume awkward attitudes which causes the dancer to lose the beat, deprives them of grace, and constitutes a displeasure for the viewer. (JP 19 Aug. 1778: 923)


 

1802 VERSION

PIECES YET TO BE ADDED

Final Dance

This was to Domenico Cimarosa’s overture to Il matrimonio segreto (1792). The idea of playing an overture for a dance at the end of a work was not new. In a production of Grétry’s opera Panurge dans l’île des lanternes at the Opéra, the overture was repeated at the end of the opera to serve as music for the final dance divertissement (Grétry 1789: 452-53). To hear a performance of this, follow the Youtube link:


 

FINAL TABLEAU

The ballet likely ended with a general tableau, i.e., a grouping of the performers in various poses in order to create a kind of “picture.” This was common practice in various theatrical works at the time. “All of the operas, tragedies, pastorals, comédies-ballets, ballets héroïques, in a word, all of our operas end with a general ballet, at the end of which all the dancers remain en attitude until the curtain has fallen.” (JT 15 Jan. 1778)

Examples of early Tableaux. Top: a late 17C grouping of acrobats; bottom: an early 19C grouping of dancers.

 

POSTSCRIPT

The second volume in Noferi’s collection of pieces associated with the 1781 London production of Ninette à la cour may contain a few of the “improvements” that G. Vestris is said to have introduced midway through the run. Possible candidates are the following (Noferi’s keyboard arrangements):


(MIDI version, “Sigr. Vestris & Sigra. Bacchelli”)


(MIDI version)

MUSIC YET TO BE ADDED