Ondine is a ballet in three acts created by the choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton and composer Hans Werner Henze. Ashton originally produced Ondine for the Royal Ballet in 1958, with Henze commissioned to produce the original score, published as Undine, which has since been restaged by other choreographers. The ballet was adapted from a novella called Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué and it tells the tale of a water nymph who is the object of desire of a young prince named Palemon. The première of the ballet took place at the Royal Opera House, London, on 27 October 1958, with the composer as guest conductor. The first major revival of this Ashton/Henze production took place in 1988.
Water Nymph ~
In Greek mythology, the Naiads (Ancient Greek: Ναϊάδες) are a type of female spirit, or nymph, presiding over fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks and other bodies of fresh water.
Naiads were associated with fresh water, as the Oceanids were with saltwater and the Nereids specifically with the Mediterranean, but because the ancient Greeks thought of the world’s waters as all one system, which percolated in from the sea in deep cavernous spaces within the earth, there was some overlap. Arethusa, the nymph of a spring, could make her way through subterranean flows from the Peloponnesus, to surface on the island of Sicily.
They were often the object of archaic local cults, worshipped as essential to humans. Boys and girls at coming-of-age ceremonies dedicated their childish locks to the local naiad of the spring. In places like Lerna their waters’ ritual cleansings were credited with magical medical properties.
The water nymph associated with particular springs was known all through Europe in places with no direct connection with Greece, surviving in the Celtic wells of north-west Europe that have been rededicated to Saints, and in the medieval Melusine.
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