Contending with the Elements 1846-47
As FANNY DISCOVERED, on her return to the Continent after short visits to Manchester, Bury, and Brighton, there are forces which not even the power of a popular ballerina's fascination can hope to control, the two most refractory, so far as she was concerned, being the elements of water and fire. First to offend was water. While she was disembarking at Vienna in the teeth of a blustery autumn wind, the boat was rolling so violently in the swell that only the prompt action of a gendarme saved her from losing her balance and falling into the river; and then, as if disappointed at the failure of its attempt to seize her, the Danube claimed instead a large trunk full of her costumes which some sailors, temporarily losing their balance, let fall into the water. This incident, however, annoying enough at the time, was quickly forgotten in the excitement of the triumphs which followed in the ancient Hungarian city of Pesth at the end of October 1846 and in Berlin during the first three months of 1847.
The Berlin engagement was considered to be of sufficient importance to warrant two additions to Fanny's repertory, the first being the ballet La Esmeralda, in which she danced for the first time on 19th January 1847. Based on Victor Hugo's classic novel of fifteenth-century Paris, Notre Dame de Paris, this ballet had been first produced by Perrot in London in 1844 with Carlotta Grisi as Esmeralda, and was revived in Berlin, with due acknowledgment, by Saint-Léon, who had created the role of Phoebus and now took the part, which Perrot had originally played, of Pierre Gringoire.
The part of Esmeralda, the gipsy street dancer who marries the struggling poet Gringoire out of pity in order to save him from the savage justice of the truands, and who is nearly hanged for the supposed murder of her lover Phoebus, offered great scope for an expressive interpretation. Both Carlotta Grisi and Fanny Elssler had given moving portrayals of the role in London, where Fanny, whose capabilities as an actress were of a lower order than theirs, would have appeared at a disadvantage.1 In Berlin, however, the____________________
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Fanny Cerrito:The Life of a Romantic Ballerina. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: Ivor Guest - Author. Publisher: Dance Books Ltd. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1974. Page number: 111.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.