Итальянский балет-феерия и «технологическое возвышенное». Реабилитация «Эксцельсиора»
Spectacular ballet “Excelsior” (music by R. Marenko, libretto and choreography by L. Manzotti, premiere in 1881 in La Scala, Milan) is analyzed from the perspective of social history of technology. Transfer of the idea of the sublime from natural and sacral objects to technology was an important tendency of the XIX century, and was expressed in artistic interpretation of the industrial theme. Scenes described in the ballet represented the events and objects considered to be central for technological progress and its mythologization. The paradoxical combination of ballet characters (geniuses and fairies) with complex technologies represented in stage design, can be explained through genre conventions of spectacular ballets. It also has direct analogies with technological spectacle of world expositions, as well as with advertising strategies of technological novelties. The article shows that the poetics of the ballet follows the structure of romantic ballets. Its ideological overarching goal was to show the brotherhood of nations as a social effect of technological change, and this required staging of a lot of character dances. Unlike the romantic ballet, where the repertoire of character dances was quite limited, “Excelsior” was an attempt to show a variety of European and non-European nations.