Italian Straw Hat, An

An Italian Straw Hat

Year: 2004

Heading: a 2-act story ballet

First Performance:
1 May 2005
Hummingbird Center, Toronto
National Ballet of Canada

There is also a 20 minute Suite available for concert performance.

Instrumentation: full orchestra

Duration: 2 Acts

Libretto:  by Timothy Luginbuhl, based on the play by Eugene Labiche and Marc Michel.

Recording: an italian straw hat

Torke's stylish, exuberant music brings a smile to the beguiles the ear...Torke's refreshing lack of neurosis, genial wit and breezy musical charm are often exhilarating.

The work is set in motion by the sparkling effervescence of Michael Torke's score... John Coulburn, Toronto Sun

The National Ballet of Canada's new full-length ballet An Italian Straw Hat is graced with a marvelous score by Michael Torke...[He] has crafted a sparkling, galloping score that cleverly mirrors the buffo elements of Rossini, Mozart, and Donizetti. Conductor Ormsby Wilkins and the ballet orchestra practically effervesce performing Torke's ear candy. Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail

...[It is] brilliantly orchestrated and wonderfully performed by the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra... Michael Crabb, The National Post

Program Note:
The riotous exuberance of 19th-century French farce is captured and brilliantly re-imagined in James Kudelka's newest full-length narrative ballet. The story, based on Eugene Labiche's famous play of the same title, lends itself naturally to a choreographic interpretation, with its central love story providing ample opportunities for touching duets, and its boisterous crowd scenes supplying the occasion for Kudelka to exercise his signature gift for intricate and imaginatively constructed groupings.

By turns sweet-tempered and antic, tender and ebullient, An Italian Straw Hat is about a marriage that almost doesn't happen due to a missing, and incriminating, hat. The search for the straw hat takes the wedding party through the streets of Paris, where they mistake a hat shop, chic concert and private home for the church, reception and bridal chamber. All are arrested, but in the end, the replacement hat is found - amongst the wedding presents! Two of Kudelka's key collaborators, composer Michael Torke (The Contract) and Santo Loquasto (Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Actress), return to re-create 19th-century Paris in this dazzling new production.