|The French balletmaster and choreographer Louis Mérante and the Russian Martha Mouravieva, seen here dancing the scène de filet from Diavolina. Choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon, it was first presented on 6 July 1863 and remained in the company’s repertory until 1874.
It was, in conception, a comic ballet. A short work in one act, it was set on the outskirts of Caserta, in about the year 1805. The plot was very slight. Diavolina (Martha Mouravieva) is about to marry her fisherman lover, Gennariello (Louis Mérante). There are many charming and comical incidents before the wedding repast comes to an end, but, after a lovers’ quarrel and reconciliation, the marriage contract is finally signed. The score which accompanied this was the work of Cesare Pugni, who had served Saint-Léon before; it was remarkable only for the number of melodies – Neapolitan airs, soldiers’ songs, and a polka-gallop by Graziani – that the composer had borrowed. The choreography, however, was inventive and varied.
A pencilled inscription verso in a period hand reads ‘Mouravieuff [sic] & Mérante.’
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