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Introduction to the Database

Preface by Lincoln Kirstein

Chronology: Life and Works
Roles Performed By Balanchine

Chronological Title List
Titles By Category

Festivals Directed By Balanchine

Itineraries Undertaken by
Balanchine's American

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169. THE BAT (also called EL MURCIÉLAGO)

Character Ballet, from 'Die Fledermaus'

Music: By Johann Strauss the Younger (from Die Fledermaus, produced 1874, with unidentified additions). Book by Lincoln Kirstein.

Choreography: By George Balanchine.

Production: Costumes and lighting by Keith Martin.

Premiere: May 20, 1936, American Ballet Ensemble, Metropolitan Opera, New York. Conductor: Wilfred Pelletier.

Cast: The Bat, Holly Howard, Lew Christensen; The Poet, Charles Laskey; The Masked (Identical) Ladies, Leda Anchutina, Annabelle Lyon; The Gypsies (later called Hungarian Dancers), Helen Leitch, William Dollar; The Can-Can Dancer, Rabana Hasburgh; The Ladies of Fashion, 4 women; 2 Coachmen, Can-Can Dancers, Officers, Ladies and Gentlemen, corps de ballet.

Note: Balanchine conceived The Bat as a couple, a man and a woman, each wearing a huge spangled wing. The ballet is an evocation of Vienna, set in a park; a young poet seeking inspiration is confounded by two beautiful but identical ladies; a band of Gypsies invades the scene. At the end the park is empty, except for the shadow of The Bat.
The Bat was the first independent ballet choreographed by Balanchine at the Metropolitan while the American Ballet Ensemble was in residence. It was performed about a dozen times over the next two seasons.

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