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Riot At The Rite: Scandal, Myth, Hype?

Rite of Spring FirstWorks presents a screening this Thursday of the 2005 BBC docu-drama “Riot at the Rite” followed by a panel discussion.

The premiere night of The Rite Of Spring was a seminal event in arts circles at the time of its debut in Paris in May 1913. The audience comprised a literal ‘Who’s Who’ of the arts world at the time – including Picasso, Proust, Cocteau, Gertrude Stein, Ravel and Debussy. Music and dance were never to be the same again. “Riot At The Rite” charts the preparations for the ballet in the weeks leading up to its premiere, and the ensuing riot that erupted during the performance.

The Guardian describes the original response to Nijinsky’s “Dance of the Adolescents”: After the strangest, highest and most terrifyingly exposed bassoon solo ever to open an orchestral work, the music becomes a sinewy braid of teeming, complex woodwind lines. “Then,” Stravinsky told his biographer, “when the curtain opened on the group of knock-kneed and long-braided Lolitas jumping up and down, the storm broke.”

Did Ravel become unraveled? Did Proust toss his madeleines? Was it really a riot?

Free and open to the public, 5:30pm to 8pm, Thursday, March 14, Metcalf Auditorium, RISD Chace Center, 20 North Main Street