The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn was greatly loved by our generation and several before us. It is derived from his incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which premiered in 1842; although he wrote the overture in 1826 when only 17. It is still a magical, wondrous piece of music, popularized as a recessional at weddings when it was chosen by Queen Victoria’s daughter Vicky for her marriage to Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia.
The incidental music was arranged by John Lanchbery for Frederick Ashton’s compressed, one act ballet version The Dream, which premiered at Covent Garden in 1964. With designs by Henry Bardon and David Walker as an early Victorian fantasy, it was an immediate success and entered the repertoire of The Australian Ballet in 1969. Now it returns in a triple bill that is effectively a tribute to Ashton to be presented with his Monotones II with music by Erik Satie and Symphonic Variations to music by César Franck.
The Australian Ballet has not performed Monotones II since 1981 and it has never performed Symphonic Variations. The triple bill, presented under the title The Dream, opens at the Sydney Opera House on 29 April and in Melbourne on 4 June, an important and rare opportunity to experience an evening of works by this great master of 20th century ballet who came to Australia in 1972 to direct his Cinderella and dance in it with Robert Helpmann as outrageous Ugly Sisters.
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