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This book is an account of a century of Russian ballet based on the printed libretti by Didelot, Taglioni, Perrot, St.Leon, Petipa and Fokine. These libretti present an accurate outline of balletic conventions in 19th century Russia. Additional documents describe the technique of stagecraft, the social setting of ballet, its national components and identity, the rise of criticism and the life of its artists. These provide a context for the libretti and reveal much about the Russian intelligentsia of the time. The principal 19th century historians of Russian ballet, Alexander Pleshcheyev, Konstantin Skalkovsky and Sergei Khudekov, are all represented, and the relevance of the selected documents and the historical connections which link them are explained in the author's commentaries. The resulting collection of original documents, will be a valuable source for anyone with an interest in ballet or Russian culture.
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Roland John Wiley is a Professor of Musicology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and author of Tchaikovsky's Ballets and The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov.
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