Wiley, Roland John
WILEY, Roland John
AWARDS, HONORS: De la Torre Bueno Prize, Dance Perspectives Foundation, 1998, for The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov: Choreographer of "The Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake"; National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship; Guggenheim fellowship; Mellon fellowship.
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake: The First Production in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Wiley (Cambridge, MA), 1974.
(Compiler and author of commentary) A Production Plan for Nutcracker, Wiley (Cambridge, MA), 1984.
(Editor, with Malcolm Hamrick Brown) Slavonic and Western Music: Essays for Gerald Abraham, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1985.
The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov: Choreographer of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.
(Author of introduction) Charles-Louis Didelot, Three King's Theatre Ballets, 1796–1801: Originally Published in London 1796–1801, Stainer & Bell (London, England), 1994.
Author of numerous academic articles.
SIDELIGHTS: A professor of music at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Roland John Wiley specializes in the music of the nineteenth century, with a particular focus on Russian music and ballet. He also serves as production consultant to the Royal Opera House, in Covent Garden, London, on revivals of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov: Choreographer of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, sheds light on the life of a little-recognized Russian choreographer. Ivanov served as assistant to fellow choreographer Marius Petipa, yet was never mentioned in either Petipa's letters or Tchaikovsky's. Using Ivanov's memoirs and various documentary materials, Wiley reconstructs the choreographer's life and reviews his works, devoting a chapter each to The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. James Munson, in Contemporary Review, commented that, "at last, after all these years, we have the first biography and proper evaluation of the man who created so much that delights the civilised eye." Those "delights" consist of an hour and a half of surviving choreography, consisting of the second scene of Swan Lake and the famous meeting between Odette, the swan queen, and Prince Siegfried. Wall Street Journal reviewer Joan Acocella remarked that "everyone who knows anything about ballet knows this scene, and it was made by Ivanov." Regarding Wiley, she went on to say that "he has done a Herculean job of research, pored over every newspaper, read every ballet memoir, examined every box of documents. But Mr. Wiley is not just a chronicler. He knows the context…. He is a sophisticated guide."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Review, December, 1997, James Munson, review of The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov: Choreographer of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, p. 326.
New Criterion, September 18, 1999, Laura Jacobs, "Tchaikovsky at the Millennium."
New York Review of Books, February 13, 1986, Robert Craft, review of The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov.
New York Times, October 14, 1998, "A Dance Book Award," p. E8.
Wall Street Journal, November 18, 1997, Joan Acocella, "In the Shadow of Greatness," p. 1.