Edward II notes
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Music John McCabe
Choreographer David Bintley
Design Peter J. Davidson
Costume Jasper Conran
Lighting Peter Mumford
Edward II | Isabella | Gaveston | Mortimer
Piers Gaveston was a knight of Gascony, a French region which became the subject of conflict between England and France. This conflict was aptly enough that which the marriage of Edward II and Isabella of France was supposed to reconcile.
Gaveston was a lover of Edward II before his coronation, and was originally exiled by Edward I, who did not approve of the relationship between the two men. While he blamed him for much of his son's underachievement, ironically it had been he who had selected Gaveston as a suitable friend for his future successor in 1298, when the young prince was just 14. Upon his succession to the throne however, one of Edward II's first acts was to recall his lover whom he brought to court, even bestowing on him the earldom of Cornwall.
While David Bintley was keen to make the ballet not just about Edward's sexuality, he admits: 'obviously it is an element of the story, and choreographically creating pas de deux for the two men was an interesting one for me'.
Writing in theFinancial Times at the time of the ballet's London premiere, Clement Crisp wrote: '[David's] choreography explores the idea of homoerotic passion without reserve: it is a language that shows how love-making between two men must differ from the dance clichés of heterosexual attraction – both men retain their masculinity – and it is credible and moving.'
No matter what the nature of their love, however, Edward was slow to control his critics, and things did not end well. Worse still, he was destined to make the same mistakes again...
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