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Noon Edition

Offenbach: “Can-Can” from La Gaité Parisienne

If you want music that sparkles like a bottle of French champagne, you can always count on the music of Jacques Offenbach! Offenbach's tunes have been hummed and sung ever since they first appeared in the dance halls and cabarets of the 19th century. Offenbach's music is so popular that it eventually became the focus of a famous ballet in the early 20th century, titled La gaité parisienne. It was the brain child of the Russian choreographer Leonid Massine, an original member of Diaghilev's Ballet Russe and founding member of the Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo. La gaité parisienne was arranged by the French composer Manuel Rosenthal and gave its world premiere performance at the Theatre de Monte Carlo in 1938. The ballet doesn't follow a traditional narrative, so to speak. Instead, a variety of quirky characters are characterized by several Offenbach themes. Shenanigans and hilarity ensue until the cast gets together and dances to Offenbach's most well-known tune: the can-can from Orpheus in the Underworld.

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