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Napoli (ballet)

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August Bournonville.jpg
Bournonville in 1841
Choreographed by August Bournonville
Composed by Helsted
Libretto by August Bournonville
Date of premiere March 29, 1842
Place of premiere Copenhagen, Denmark
Original ballet company Royal Danish Ballet
Characters Teresina
Setting Naples
Blue Grotto
Genre Fantasy
Type Romantic ballet

Napoli is a ballet in three acts. The story of the ballet and the dances are the work of August Bournonville. The music was written by E. Helsted, Gade, and Paulli. Napoli was first danced by the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen on 29 March 1842. Napoli has not changed over the years. It is danced in Copenhagen today exactly as it was danced in 1842. It is said to be Bournonville's greatest ballet.[1]

Story of the ballet

The beautiful Neapolitan girl Teresina loves Gennaro, a fisherman. Gennaro and Teresina sail out into the Bay of Naples. A storm washes Teresina into the sea. Gennaro sets out to save her. Teresina has been taken to the blue grotto (a rocky cave) by sea sprites. The grotto is the home of the powerful sprite Golfo. He plans to keep Teresina in the grotto. He changes her into a sprite. Gennaro sails into the grotto. He prays to the Madonna and Teresina becomes herself again. Gennaro and Teresina go back to Naples. The people believe Teresina was saved through witchcraft. A priest says it was a miracle. The people are happy. Teresina and Gennaro marry.[2]

Romantic Ballets
Sketch of a female ballet dancer posing en pointe in a mid-length, white dress; her hair and bodice are covered in orange flowers

The Ballet of the Nuns (1831)
La Sylphide (1832)
Giselle (1841)
Napoli (1842)
Pas de Quatre (1845)
Paquita (1846)
Coppélia (1870)



  • Balanchine, George (1975), 101 Stories of the Great Ballets, Anchor Books

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