Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000253, Tue, 10 May 1994 14:07:04 -0700

"Camera Obscura", a ballet (fwd)
Christine Raguet-Bouvart, guest editor of the special Nabokov issue of
EUROPE (Spring 1995) and French translator of VN's LAUGHTER IN THE DARK,
provides the following account of a new Paris ballet based upon her
translation. For further information about either the ballet or the
Nabokov issue of Europe, she may be contacted at
ang@montaigne.u.bordeaux.fr. DBJ, Editor

"Camera obscura", a ballet, premiered at the Opera de Paris March 9, 1994.

Musique: Arnold Schoenberg Concerto pour piano & orchestre op. 42 (1942); 3
pieces pour piano, op. 11 (1909); le no 1 & le no 3 des 5 pieces pour piano
op. 23 (1920); le no2 des 6 pieces pour piano op. 19 (1911).
Choregraphie: Roland Petit
Scenographie: Bernard Michel

The ballet lasts 41 minutes & is divided into 9 parts:
-a cinema in Berlin -Pas de 2 Margot/Albinus -Axel Rex arrives
-The apartment -Albinus on the road -Margot an attentive nurse
-Albinus thinks he is alone with his sweetheart
-Albinus discovers Rex is with them
-the murder

There are only 3 dancers (Fanny Gaida, Kader Belarbi, Lionel Delanoe), all
excellent on the night I attended. I enjoyed it but did not exactly
recognize the novel I translated. It was sketchier than the original
because the plot is reduced to the theme of unfaithfulness and I suppose
that those who have not read the novel could not understand what is
exactly going on. It all begins in the dark. There is a screen & we hear
the noise of the reel running. We can make out the shadow of a girl. By
the way, Margot is blonde in the ballet (she is not naturally blonde, but
wears a platinum blonde wig). If anyone can give me an explanation,
you're welcome. There is something bestial in AR & MP's relationship in
the ballet. It is also much more sensual, and even carnal than in the
novel. AA is a weak character, they make fun of. Altogether, I think it is
rather in the expressionist mode though the ballet does not reflect the
mood of the thirties. If you want to know more about it inquire via
Christine Raguet-Bouvart