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Satie et ses amis


La Belle Excentrique
Fantaisie sérieuse
Music by Erik Satie
Mask and costume by Jean Cocteau

Grande Ritournelle
Marche franco-lunaire
Valse du Mystérieux Baiser dans l'Oeil
Cancan Grand-Mondain

Fantaisie sérieuse

Grande Ritournelle
1. Marche franco-lunaire
2. Valse du Mystérieux Baiser dans l'Oeil
3. Cancan grand-mondain
Satie composed this work in three parts with a "grande ritournelle" for the debut of the eccentric dancer Caryathis, born Elisabeth Toulemon, who later became the writer Elise Jouhandeau.
Satie had met Caryathis within the Groupe des Six. The aesthetics of the music-hall, at that time defended by Jean Cocteau, made him adopt the theme of a song, Légende californienne, he composed at the beginning of the XX century for the café-concert.
In order to differentiate the dances, Satie wanted the dancer to change her costumes at each entrée. As none of the painters contacted - Van Dongen, Jean Hugo, Marie Laurecin - was able to find out an adequate solution, an idea by Cocteau was finally adopted: a unique costume for the whole performance which should give the dancer the appeareance of an "overseas revanchist fool, returning form a beauty-farm" with a mask "vaguely disquieting and silly melancholic".
First performed on June 16th, 1921 at the Colisée theatre, La Belle Excentrique was performed again that same summer at the Oasis, the private theatre Paul Poiret built in his garden.
For the season 1924/1925 Diaghilev had decided to present La Belle Excentrique together with the Ballets Russes. Beacause of a mistake in the present musical edition, that divides this work in four movements (instead of three plus a refrain), the Grande Ritournelle has always been considered an ouverture.
For the first time the edition by Teatro La Fenice of Venice restores the original order of the movements.