British nobles get into a tizzy about a red fan and Austrian school girls go all atwitter at their last dance of high school, in the London Festival Ballet program of two short humorous ballets: Edward Elgar's The Sanguine Fan and Antal Doráti's Graduation Ball based on music by Johann Strauss II. The celebrated British ballerina and one-time partner of Rudolf Nureyev Dame Margot Fonteyn hosts the program.
On the request of his close friend Lady Alice Stuart-Wortley, Edward Elgar composed The Sanguine Fan in 1917 as part of fundraising efforts for wartime charities. Premiered in London in 1917 as a mimed play (the performers were actors, not dancers), the one-act ballet only found favor in the second half of the 20th century with its revival by the conductor Sir Adrian Boult. The whimsical plot, a comedy of errors, follows two wealthy twin brothers who throw a party, compete for the affections of the same girl using a red-colored fan.
Graduation Ball, also a one-act ballet, was devised as part of a collaboration between choreographer David Lichine and Hungarian-born conductor-composer Antal Doráti. Set to music arranged from works by Johann Strauss II, the ballet takes place in a high-class girls' finishing school in Vienna, and follows the girls of the graduating class through the evening of their grand end-of-school ball.
Photo: Elgar's The Sanguine Fan in the London Festival Ballet's 1981 production
BBC Symphony Orchestra (1982)
Opening concert of the 2006–2007 season at Carnegie Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra