I have written before about my love of the ballet. One of the annual traditions which Mr Tracks and I developed over the years while we were living in London was to attend whichever ballet performance was given on New Year’s Eve at London’s Royal Opera House. They always scheduled the performance slightly earlier than a normal one, to give people time then to go on after to have dinner and see in the New Year. Sometimes we did this just as a couple, other times we were joined by members of our family. Either way, it was it was a wonderful treat, a fabulous way to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the new one.
The Opera House, not surprisingly, tended to stage the classical Christmas ballets – mainly the Nutcracker or Cinderella. And they did so in all their splendour, beauty and breathtaking quality. These ballets were also danced to their standard scores – either by Tchaikovsky or Prokofiev. My goodness – wouldn’t you just be happy with either one? But it is the latter composer whose music has lead me to reminisce today about our London ballet trips.
I discovered that I have on my iPhone tracks from a CD referred to as ‘orchestral suites’ by Prokofiev, with excerpts from his scores for the ballets Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella, and from his film score for Lieutenant Kije. I am the most familiar with the Cinderella score, but know the other two as well. If you do not recognise the title of the latter of the three, you might know one part of it at least – Troika.
I must also confess that I have not seen Romeo & Juliet live – only on TV. It is very high up there on my wish list as you can imagine. When I do get to go, I will be able to sing along with the orchestra because I know the score so well. I’m sure everyone else in the auditorium will really appreciate that!
Prokofiev’s music is hypnotic. It is dramatic. It melts your heart. I have seen on Wiki that some people think he could be the 20th century’s most popular composer. I’m not sure how you would measure that, but I can see how it would definitely be true after everyone falling under a delicious spell from Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.