When Opera Chic arrived here in snarky Milano, she was kinda afraid that the moment she confessed her passion -- no, her fetish -- for the maestro Aaron Copland's music, all of it, and especially for that monument to American genius, Rodeo, she was afraid she'd be literally laughed off of all the cool parties circuit of the classical music loving peeps.
Instead everybody here -- well, the cool ones -- at the mention of Opera Chic's love for Copland is all like "omfgwtf we were afraid to confess that to an American but Rodeo is teh awesome yay ypeeee111"
This week the Twin Cities' Metropolitan Ballet company is recreating de Mille's choreography for Copland's "cowboy ballet." Teaching dancers the original steps is Paul Sutherland.
Sutherland made his professional debut as a cowhand in a production of "Rodeo" in 1957 and a few years later was cast by de Mille herself in one of the lead roles as Head Wrangler.
Today, Sutherland is the only person authorized to stage Agnes de Mille's original choreography to "Rodeo." He estimates he's set it about 50 times since 1979.
It's music for the people, guys (and it makes us happy even when it's played like a$$). It's like barely-literate old peasants deep in the Valle del Po in Emilia understanding -- not to mention feeling -- Verdi better than many (most?) musicologists. And nevermind the beef ads, it's OK -- OC was appalled when she heard for the first time "Amami Alfredo" used here in a TV ad for tomato sauce, but then she got it, it's all good. It's music as sentimento popolare -- it's drunken rowdy 17th Century Englishmen going to see some new Shakespeare play the way their descendants now go to the soccer games. And maybe, well, it's even what many of those giants had in mind -- it's capturing the people's imagination and if it's less brainy than Berio, so be it.
Work it, cowboy!
And of course, all hail teh King! (and may Jean Michel Basquiat's ghost forgive us)