Thursday, January 5, 2012
In 1911, Claude Debussy wrote the incidental music for a mystery play by Gabriele d'Annunzio. Written for the Belle Époque figure Ida Rubinstein, who was muse to numerous artists and musicians, the play chronicles the martyrdom of the Roman archer Sebastian, who was killed by his own troupe of archers after being discovered to be a Christian. Rubinstein, said to have owned a black tiger cub and drink champagne out of Madonna lilies, had been a member of the Ballet Russe known for her suggestive roles (including Cleopatra and opposite Nijinsky in Rimsky-Korsakoff’s Scheherazade). Attendance at the premiere of this play was banned by the Archbishop of Paris on threat of excommunication.
Posted by San Francisco Symphony Podcasts at 2:47 PM