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Jason et Medee Ballet Tragique. Etching and aquatint engraving by Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815) after Nathaniel Dance (1735-1811)
London: John Boydell, 1781. One of the best-known and most desirable of 18th century dance prints. Rare. Stephens & George: Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum 5910. NYPL b12145882. The ballet Jason et Médée, with music by Jean-Joseph Rodolphe (1730-1812) and choreography by Noverre (1727-1810), was first performed in London in 1781; it had been performed at the Paris Opéra a year earlier, in 1780. "Imperious and vain, "The French Rose [Vestris]" was nevertheless recognized as a brilliant dancer. He was regularly praised for his noble style, ease, lightness, and precision. He was called the "God of the Dance" by his brother Giovanni Battista, and the nickname was picked up by his followers." Highfill et al., Vol. 15, pp. 146-148. Baccelli made her debut at the King's Theatre on November 8, 1774 in Pirhame et Thisbe and Le ballet de fleur. "On 29 March 1781, she danced the role of Creusa in [the first London performance of] Medée et Jason, one of the great ballets by Noverre which in this London production the elder Vestris cavalierly took credit for as his own work. With the cast also including Vestris as Jason, his son as the young Prince, Simonet as Creon, and Mme Simonet as Medea, the event was impressive. A lovely painting of a moment from this performance is in the Cia Fornaroli Collection and was engraved by Boydell in 1781 [the present print]." Highfill et al, Vol. I, pp. 191-192. Simonet was the wife of the dancer Louis Simonet... "[Her] career was closely connected with that of her husband, who danced at the King's Theatre until 1788 and served as ballet master there until 1791. She was engaged as a featured dancer in the operas at the King's through June 1784." Highfill et al., Vol. 14, pp. 78-79.. 416 x 468 mm. Printed in sepia ink. This satirical print depicts a scene from a ballet by Jean-Georges Noverre for a performance in London: Gaetano Vestris (?1729-1808) poses between two female dancers, Giovanna Baccelli (?-1801) as Creusa and Adelaide Simonet (fl. 1776-1791) as Medea, who holds a dagger. Three wind players (two oboists and a flutist) perform below front center stage with five measures of music from the ballet beneath. Slightly soiled; minor restoration to upper and lower center; lightly creased at central fold; laid down onto mounting board; trimmed to just within platemark. In a very good state of preservation.
      [Bookseller: J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians LLC]
Last Found On: 2017-12-24           Check availability:      Biblio    

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