Dialogue and Collaboration in Manuel de Falla’s Ballet, Le Tricorne

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Julia Randel, Hope College

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This project examines the interactions of music, choreography, visual designs, and text in the ballet, The Three-Cornered Hat (1919), in an attempt to recapture some of the conversations about Spanish music, dance, art, and literature, which we know to have taken place, but which survive only in some agonizingly non-specific accounts in the players’ memoirs. Each artist had his own investment in the subject: for Massine, Spanish dance as well as Spanish art and literature were new enthusiasms that would become lifelong passions. For Picasso and Falla, this piece represented a return to a homeland that had received their previous work with ambivalence. During their collaboration, each undertook serious study in order to determine how best to represent Spanish culture on stage. It was Picasso who suggested that Falla add voices to the score because "it would be very Spanish." Throughout the score we can see a rich cross-fertilization of influences: of painting on choreography, of dance on music, and of literature on scenic design, all drawing on high art as well as folk culture.

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