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Bournonville Festival - The King's Volunteers on Amager
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Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Jun 17, 2005 11:15 am ]
Post subject:  Bournonville Festival - The King's Volunteers on Amager

The King's Volunteers on Amager
Royal Danish Ballet
Det Kongelige Teater

After my disappointment with “Far From Denmark” the night before I approached “The King’s Volunteers on Amager” rather warily, fearing it was going to be more of the same. Happily I couldn’t have been more wrong as this ballet was pure enjoyment from start to finish with dancing all the way. Oddly enough the story line has similarities with “Far from Denmark” as this was also about a serviceman away from home and seeking local female companionship.

Edouard Du Puy (Peter Bo Bendixen), who is a musician as well as a soldier, likes the girls and they like him too. Stationed on the island of Amager, he whiles away the time with flirtations, principally with the two pretty maids Else and Trine. The boyfriends of these two get jealous and when three ladies from Copenhagen arrive, they complain to them about Edouard and his romantic leanings. Unfortunately the unknown ladies are actually Edouard’s wife, Louise and her two friends. Not surprisingly Louise is pretty upset to discover how her husband behaves away from home and decides to teach him a lesson. Disguising herself as a ‘vivandiere’ she sets about attracting her husband with a vivacious dance before unmasking and enjoying his embarrassment (shades of "Die Fledermaus"). Anyway she forgives him and puts on a brave face and the ballet ends with a ‘festive galop’.

It turns out that Edouard Du Puy was a real person, he was a French opera singer and composer, who seemed to identify a little too much with his signature role, Don Giovanni. After an amorous interlude with a Danish princess he was kicked out of the country. Much of the music of “The King’s Volunteers on Amager” is based on his original tunes.

The curtain rises on Edouard playing the piano; lost in a personal reverie peopled by four beautiful young women who dance beguilingly to his music and from then on the dancing doesn’t stop. I loved the pas de trois for Kristoffer Sakurai as Otto, Edouard’s friend and his fiancée Sophie (Diana Cuni) together with her friend Andrea (Susanne Grinder), but for me the highlight of the evening was the reel with Peter Bo Bendixen in a sailor outfit, dancing a hornpipe that drove the audience wild. They don’t cheer in Copenhagen, they stamp their feet instead and that night it sounded like they were stamping fit to break the floorboards.

Author:  ksneds [ Fri Jun 17, 2005 12:36 pm ]
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I believe DuPuy was kicked out of Sweden...though as mentioned below, he had quite a he might well have been kicked out of Denmark at one point or another.

From my interview with Peter Bo Bendixen:

"... this character -- Edouard Du Puy -- he was a real living person and he was here... at the theater back in 1801. He came to Copenhagen -- he was kicked out of Sweden because the king got offended when he was singing the Marseilles in Sweden. He pretty much got kicked out everywhere he went, but he was a very, very charming, talented man. One of these people that just have tons of talent -- and he tried to administer all of his talents. He was a fantastic violinist, he was a fantastic singer, he was a composer, he rode as a Life Guard -- we were fighting with the English back then -- and he was a big Don Giovanni. Du Puy actually sang Mozart's Don Giovanni here at the theater!

Author:  Guest [ Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:09 am ]
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The Danish princess seduced by Du Puy was the wife of the future Christan VIII. Here's a reference from a website about the Danish monarchy:-

"In 1806, Christian Frederik married his cousin Charlotte Frederikke, but their marriage was never a happy one. Charlotte Frederikke gave birth to a son in 1808, who later became Frederik 7. The following year Prince Christian Frederik learned that the Princess was having an affair with her voice teacher (music teacher), the composer Edouard du Puy. The marriage was dissolved, and Charlotte Frederikke was banished to Horsens (in Jutland) and forbidden from ever seeing her son again."

Author:  ksneds [ Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:59 am ]
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Seems that DuPuy never missed a chance to upset royalty! Must have been quite a character :o)


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