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Sunny Blog #5

In the first article “100 years ago today, ‘The Rite of Spring’ incited a riot in a Paris theater”, the author says that the jeers and derision from the people in the audience was so loud that they had to shout the commands for the dancers from backstage. Then a scuffle broke out in the audience resulting in the orchestra being sieged and vegetables being hurled on stage. The production was continued after 40 people were reportedly ejected from the audience.  There were a lot of people split between keeping things traditional and embracing modernity. From the second article “Did Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring incite a riot at its premiere?”, the author says that the acoustics of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées exaggerated the sounds of the ballet which overwhelmed some people. Some of the audience had a limited frame of reference to ballets so once they saw the performance they responded by laughing as they thought it was meant to be humorous. The music lovers/ musicians and critics were insulted by this so they complained about the aristocrats. But there were no accounts of any riots or fights. Instead the myth of the riots occurred to challenge the stereotype that classical music as boring, to see high society people becoming a mob over ballet gets a lot of attention. This author uses a firsthand account from 1915 to discuss what actually happened at the event as the only physical altercation that occurred was a man hitting the person on front of him on the head to the rhythm of the music. The author also uses musicological research from Tamara Levitz’s “Racism at The Rite”  to discuss the acoustics issue. If I was in the audience when this first premiered, I would’ve done the same thing as the aristocrats and laughed. In class, even though I knew how diverse the range of music can be, I still laughed when I saw this performance because it caught me off guard. Despite my initial reaction of laughter, after discussing this ballet and watching it through I could say now that it’s a very interesting performance.  

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April 2024

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