Not everyone likes to head out to a bar or restaurant to ring in the New Year. Some of us prefer to stay off the street and relax with our loved ones at home. Maybe put together a nice dinner and have a little champagne, or not. Whatever it is you choose to do on New Year’s Eve, we wish you a happy and safe holiday.
But if you are planning on staying home, here are some works that we think would add tremendously to your New Year’s Eve fun.
1. The Magic Flute
The new year is all about new beginnings and the hope for magical times, and for that reason, this Mozart masterpiece is just what you are looking for. It premiered at the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna on September 30, 1791, and Mozart, unfortunately, died two months after its premiere.
Lost in unfamiliar grounds, the handsome prince Tamino is being hunted down by a snake, imploring to the heavens for help. When the pressure of being trailed by a deadly serpent gets to be too much, Tamino faints.
Three female aides of the Queen of the Night suddenly appear and vanquish the snake. Tamino, still unconscious, is discovered by the women and they all find the young prince desirable. Each one tries to influence the other two to depart, but when they are all unsuccessful, they all set out together halfheartedly.
When Tamino comes to consciousness, he meets Papageno, who is dressed in a bird costume. Papageno tells Tamino about his time as a bird catcher and whines to Tamino of being alone without female companionship. The prince assumes that Papageno is the one who killed the relentless serpent and the bird-man is glad to let Tamino continue to believe this.
While Papageno declares that the serpent died from his hands around its throat the three women reappear and Papageno is punished for his lies. In the meantime, they show Tamino a portrait of Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night. He falls in love with her instantly. Unfortunately, Pamina has been kidnapped by Sarastro, an evil necromancer who is an enemy of the Queen. The handsome prince is then given the powerful magic flute, and this is all we are going to summarize from the first act of The Magic Flute.
You can choose to watch today two renditions of The Magic Flute: one performed at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in Germany, and The Magic Flute for Children performed at Opernhaus Zürich in Switzerland.
2. Romeo and Juliet
New Year’s Eve is a time for romance, and this ballet is perfect if that is what you are looking for. Beware though: the ending is tragic. Composed by Sergei Prokofiev, this version of the Shakespeare classic premiered in 1938.
The music and dance tell us a tale of young lovers who are of opposing and rival families. They fall for each other anyway and attempt to escape the ever-reaching hand of their parents. Of course, the end is the timeless suicide/suicide pact that is known the world around.
The version that tends to be reproduced today was choreographed by Leonid Lavrovsky and performed at the Kirov Theatre in Leningrad on January 11, 1940. Galina Ulanova and Konstantin Sergeyev filled the roles of the star-crossed lovers.
Some notable reprisals and reproductions include Frederick Ashton’s choreography at the Royal Danish Ballet in 1955, John Cranko’s dance direction at the Stuttgart Ballet in 1962, and 1977’s production created by Rudolf Nureyev, with brand new choreography, for the London Festival Ballet. In the latter one, Nureyev played Romeo to Patricia Ruanne’s Juliet.
This dance tale is another love-go-wrong tale, which doesn’t seem to have anything to do with New Year’s Eve, yet the choreography, which was created by Marius Petipa for the premiere and is continually duplicated today, is worth the heartache of a sad story. Giselle premiered in Paris in 1842, and it has found a place on nearly every repertoire of every ballet company that has ever existed.
We meet the Duke Albrecht of Silesia and Giselle, a shy and lovely commoner, with whom he has fallen in love, yet he cannot marry her because he is already promised to the daughter of the Duke of Courtland. Disguised as Loys, Albrecht attempts to court Giselle at the grape harvest festival.
Giselle is a popular girl and has several men that wish to court her. One is Hilarion, who adores Giselle and is concerned about Loys, or as we know him, Albrecht. Yet Giselle is not interested in Hilarion. Also, Giselle’s heart is weak, and when she learns that Albrecht betrayed her, she dies from a broken heart.
She dies in her sobbing mother’s arms, and the two men begin to brawl.
Still on the holidays’ spirit? Here are 10 holiday-themed works that we love!