A foray of commedia dell'arte with its cheekiness, burlesque situations, and ridiculous characters. To entertain the audience, we put on disguises, brag, and tease one another. Sometimes we die, but not for very long because ultimately in the end everyone gets married.
The ballet is based on a manuscript called "I Quattro Pulcinelli" that Serge Diaghilev discovered in Naples. This unpublished text included several structures on the basis of one kind from the commedia dell’arte - Pulcinella. Diaghilev entrusted Igor Stravinsky with composing the musical score based on selections from Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, and the ballet was performed in Paris on 15 May 1920 choreographed by Léonide Massine, while the set and costumes were designed by Pablo Picasso.
The action takes place in Naples and tells the story of Pulcinella’s love affairs. The latter, despite his love for Pimpinella, cannot avoid seducing other women, from Rosetta to Prudenza, as well as Mrs. Tartaglia. His infidelity gets him into trouble before everyone kisses and gets married.
Etymologically speaking, the character of Pulcinella, whose humpback and belly originally made him look like a chicken, got his name from pullus gallinaceus or more commonly known as chicken. This definition makes it possible to give the ballet’s hero a village cock’s traits - mischievous and philandering. This is a comedy, overflowing with elements from commedia dell’arte, an art without subtitles from which I’ve kept the original spirit, appeal and bawdiness.
Performed on 16 April 1991 by the Temps Présent Company
at l’Esplanade de Saint-Etienne
New production Malandain Ballet Biarritz
on 19 May 2001 at the Gare du Midi in Biarritz
Music Igor Stravinsky
Choreography Thierry Malandain
Set and costumes Jorge Gallardo
Lighting design Jean-Claude Asquié
Full length of the performance 38 minutes
Ballet for 12 dancers
Dancers – Malandain Ballet Biarritz
Pulcinella Cyril Lot
Pimpinella Nathalie Verspecht
Madame Tartaglia Giuseppe Chiavaro
Rosetta Magali Praud
Prudenza Adriana Pous Ojeda
Coviello Olivier Jedrasiak
Florindo Mikel Irurzun del Castillo
The Doctor Thierry Taboni
Three Neapolitans Lyane Lamourelle, Rosa Royo, Luisa Sancho Escanero
Video by Georges Flores, May 2004