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Filippo Taglioni


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(b Milan, 5 Nov. 1777; d Como, 11 Feb. 1871 (some sources 11 Sept. 1871)

Italian dancer and choreographer, and creator of the seminal Romantic ballet La Sylphide. The son of Carlo T. and the father of Marie T. and Paul T. He made his debut in 1794 as a child dancing female roles in Pisa. After performing around Italy he moved to Paris in 1799 where he studied with Coulon and danced at the Paris Opera, then in 1802 he left the Opera to work as principal dancer and ballet master in Stockholm. From then on he travelled throughout Europe, working in Vienna (where he made his choreographic debut in 1805), Munich, Milan, Turin, Stuttgart, Paris, Berlin, St Petersburg, and Warsaw before retiring to Como. As a choreographer his style emphasized ballon, graceful deportment, and quick light footwork, his subject-matter tended towards the mystical. His most important work probably took place in Paris, where he choreographed the first productions of the operas Le Dieu et la bayadère (1830), Robert le diable (1831), Gustave III (1833), and Les Huguenots (1836), and the ballets La Sylphide (mus. Schneitzhoeffer, 1832), Nathalie; ou, La Laitière suisse (mus. Gyrowetz, Carafa, 1832), Brézilia; ou, La Tribu des femmes (mus. von Gallenberg, 1835), and La Fille du Danube (mus. Adam, 1836). With his daughter Marie as ballerina he was visiting ballet master to the Imperial Theatres, St Petersburg (1837–42). For St Petersburg he made Miranda (mus. Auber and Rossini, 1838), La Gitana (mus. Schmidt and Aumer, 1838), L'Ombre (mus. Maurer, 1839), L'Écumeur de mer (mus. Adam, 1840), and Aglaë, ou L'Élève d'amour (mus. Keller, 1841). For Stuttgart he made Danina, or Jocko the Brazilian Ape (1826). Much of his energy was devoted to furthering his daughter's career. For her debut in Vienna he created La Réception d'une jeune nymphe à la cour de Terpsichore (1822) and it was his La Sylphide which launched Marie as the foremost Romantic ballerina of her day.

Subjects: Performing artsDance

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