Where Diana lives the local movie theater does live broadcasts of cultural events like operas, ballets, and plays. She invited me to join her this weekend to see the ballet Pharaoh's Daughter being performed by the Bolshoi Ballet. I always look forward to time together with Diana.
In the introduction the host gave a brief history of the ballet. It was commissioned by the Bolshoi for a 50 year old prima ballerina whose contract required a work created specifically for her. Pharaoh's Daughter was written in six weeks during 1862 and performed shortly thereafter. It opened to mixed reviews. The dancer for whom it was created performed it for a week then left Russia never to return. It was last danced sometime in the 1920s. The producer responsible for this revival said he had great difficulty in his research. He had to reconstruct large sections of choreography, set designs, and costuming ideas from sparse notes.
As my review allow me to say these various aspects of the ballet's history seemed to make themselves quite apparent. There may be a good reason why the dancer never showed her face in Russia again, why this particular ballet went so long without being performed by the Bolshoi (or any other ballet company for that matter), and why original choreography notes were difficult to find (destroyed intentionally perhaps?). Even a company so esteemed as the Bolshoi couldn't save this material. Imagine a cast of Academy Award winners reviving Joannie Loves Chachi. It was like that...with leotards and tutus...set in ancient Egypt...complete with dancers in blackface portraying Nubians.
The most entertaining part was listening to Diana's running commentary and listening to her giggle at the prominent bulges in the men's leotards so it wasn't a complete loss.