MM: Mastropiero is undoubtedly one
of the composers who has given rise to the most heated arguments among
musicologists. Regarding his birth, diverse authors agree that it took
place on February 7, but they differ as to the year and century. In a
like manner there have been differing claims as to the land of his birth,
but no country has yet resigned itself to accept him.
Neither is the exact date of his death known, or even if he died or not.
On the other hand the omission of Mastropiero's given names is not due
to their being unknown, but, on the contrary, to the fact that quite a
lot of them have been discovered: Peter Illich, Johann Sebastian and so
For instance, he signed his second symphony as So on Mastropiero. Indeed,
the only Indisputable fact we have regarding his biography is that on
Good Friday 1729, the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig witnessed the first
performance of a St. Matthew Passion which is definitively not his.
Same musicologists hold that Mastropiero may conceivably have been in
love with the famous ballerina Sue
Ann Morgan. According to these authors, Mastropiero, was smitten by
Sue Ann from the very moment he saw her executing complicated ballet exercises
at the bar ... a very crowded singles bar.
It would seem that Mastropiero, deeply in love with Sue Ann, gave her
name to the lead character of the ballet he was at the time composing,
which thus came to be called "The Sue Ann Lake".
Les Luthiers will now stage Mastropiero's "Sue Ann Lake" with
three slight differences from the usual version. First, the sailors' dance
in the fifth scene, is played in F Major instead of E Major, following
the Budapest version. Second, in the fourth scene, the recapitulation
of the main them in D Minor is slightly abridged. And, third, instead
of the conventional dancers and scenery, I'll read the plot for you.
Let's hear the Ouverture.
one: The Maidens
The curtain rises, revealing the shores of a gloomy lake. It is night
Rogoflex, the Evil Wizard's slave, circles around the stage.
The prima ballerina appears. Behind her comes the second ballerina.
Then the third ballerina, the fourth ballerina ... there must be about
forty of them! They are the maidens who have been bewitched by the wizard,
who only at night releases them from the spell: during the day he turns
them, into sailors.
Under the watchful eye of Rogoflex, spinning around them, the damsels
dance, since it is night time and therefore each one can display her
maiden form ...
Until the maidens hear somebody approaching and disappear into a patch
of bull rushes.
Rogoflex performs a succession of "grand pirouettes" -dizzying
spins on one leg- and also speedily goes away into the rushes
that is, he rushes away.
two: The Hunters
A hunting party approaches, led by Prince Vassili , so called because
of his vacillating nature.
Vassili, his friend Igor and a group of villagers come on stage.
Rogoflex begins to spin atop a cliff, spying on the hunters.
Prince Vassili hesitates an instant and orders a short rest.
The rest period begins and the prince, after vacillating for a moment,
starts to leap about the stage with successive "grand jetés",
enormous bounds with legs outstretched.
His friend Igor and the villagers respond with elastic leaps in "assamblé".
Together they all carry out a series of violent "entechatsis",
crisscrossing their legs at tremendous speed.
Finally the prince considers they 've already had enough rest.
Igor and the villagers then disperse among the rushes.
The prince, hesitant and sad, covers his face with his hands, counts
up to a hundred and goes off to look for them.
As Vassili is about to go in among the rushes himself, his exit is interrupted
by the appearance of a beautiful damsel.
Rogoflex speeds off to inform the wicked sorcerer, spinning violently
on his own axis.
Scene three: The Gathering
The beautiful maiden Sue Ann has appeared erect and with her hands linked
above her head, that is to say, in the fifth position of classical ballet.
Sue Ann beseeches Vassili to free the maidens. She approaches Vassili,
who awaits her in the second position, namely with open arms.
It's a romantic and ardent pas de deux in which they express their mutual
love with a great variety of steps ... and in all positions.
The pas de deux is interrupted by the wizard who is accompanied by his
slave Rogoflex, spinning savagely around him.
Overcome with anger, the sorcerer enters the dance, making it a tense
pas de trois.
Rogoflex joins them with rapid circles and the four dance a dramatic
pas de quatre...
Enter Igor, villagers and maidens, and they all join in a striking pas
Missing are a few villagers and maidens, who seem to be held up among
Scene four: The Combat
The wizard challenges Vassili to a fight to the death.
For once the prince,deeply in love with Sue Ann, is in no doubt: he
is positive... that he is panic stricken!
His friend Igor urges Vassili on, until the latter is convinced, and
the prince goes to the top of the cliff to do battle with the evil wizard...
While Vassili battles the conjurer, Igor consoles the desperate Sue
Igor consoles Sue Ann with ever more eagerly.
He lifts her upon his shoulders ... Sue Ann lets herself be picked-up.
Then he takes her by the waist and softly lays her down, as if she were
weightless, an easy lay.
She lies down provocatively. Igor invites her to arise. Sue Ann tremulously
As the day begins to break, the struggle continues atop the cliff ,
Rogoflex still gyrates tirelessly... and Sue Ann is fully aroused!
and final scene: Dawn
As dawn gradually lights up the sky, and as the spell starts to act,
the maidens begin to turn into sailors.
Taking advantage of the fact that the wizard is still fighting, the
prince, and that Rogoflex is spinning somewhat tiredly now, the sailors
who begin to appear start to dance an unbridled bacchanalia
the maidens who haven't yet undergone a transformation!
With the first light of day, a number of villagers gradually emerge
from among the rushes quite astonished to find themselves holding hands
with husky sailors.
Finally the prince, who has dragged the wizard to the edge of the cliff,
vacillates for a moment ... and ... hurls him into the void!
With the defeat of the sorcerer, the spell vanishes and all the sailors
recover their damsel form, save three, who turnout to be real sailors.
Maidens and villagers dance to celebrate the liberation.
The three real sailors slink away discreetly ...
Prince Vassili comes down from the cliff and flings himself into Sue
Ann's arms. But Igor is already there (in Sue Ann's arms...)
Vassili, deeply concerned, doubts Sue Ann's love... he doubts Igor's
and he can now no longer have any doubt.
But Sue Ann, repentant, throws out her arms to the prince and the couple
falls into a loving embrace ...
Igor and the villagers swing into a joyful dance with a group of beautiful
and gradually lead them away into the bullrushes.
On seeing this, Rogoflex, fired with enthusiasm, for the first time
in the ballet ceases to spin... and totters off towards the rushes,
behind Igor and the maidens!
But the wizard isn't dead! He rises vigorously and with a savage leap
... dives into the rushes too!
Vassili, Sue Ann and the other maidens celebrate the reunion with a
Some maidens return from the rushes with their hair and clothes in disarray
As the curtain falls, those maidens who remain -more precisely, those
who remain maidens- wait in line beside the patch of bullrushes!