Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Antony Hopkins: Café des Sports Ballet.

In a recent review of Antony Hopkins’ (not the film star) music I noted that in the early 1950’s he had composed a ballet called Café des Sports. I suggested that perhaps this may deserve a revival – at least in a concert version.  However, I have not heard the music nor seen the score. I simply based opinion this on the style of music he was writing at that time. Recently, I discovered a review of the ballet in the pages of the Glasgow Herald. I quote it below.  Hopefully it may be possible to find other references in journals, magazines and newspapers to give a better idea of how the work was received.  It was performed at the Glasgow Theatre Royal on 28 September 1954.

‘Antony Hopkins' spicy and amusing score drew largely on the seamier side of music for its idioms in the last ballet, ‘ Café des Sports ’ and made an apt background to the life of a Mediterranean village cafe frequented by Hedonist and Essentialist artists, the inevitable cyclists, an Urchin, and Bourgeois couples- the self-appointed guardians of respectability. All very extravagant but good fun, with Maryon Lane’s ‘Urchin’ an outstanding character study.  John Lanchberry conducted the somewhat variable orchestra.’  
The Glasgow Herald September 29 1954 [with minor edits]

The other works included at this Sadler’s Wells theatre Ballet performance at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal included Frederick Ashton’s divertissement Les Rendezvous to Auber’s music and The Lady and the Fool which features the music of Giuseppe Verdi. 

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