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Veneziana and Saudades

ApIvor's fourth work for the stage, Veneziana, provided a new departure and a point of contact with the Commedia dell'arte and Stravinskian neoclassicism, which had interested the composer since the early 1940s.

The ballet, once again choreographed by Howard, consisted of arrangements and orchestrations of music from various operas by Donizetti, including La Favorita, Roberto Devereux, La Parisiana, Il Castello di Kenilworth and Don Sebastiano. Veneziana was first produced by the Sadler's Wells Ballet in London in April 1953 and was later revived for a brief period by the Royal Ballet in 1957.

ApIvor's last commission from the Royal Ballet, and final collaboration with Alfred Rodrigues, was Saudades, which was premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool in October 1955. This was a less successful work with the public, perhaps largely due to its uneventful story-line of nostalgic longing, derived from Portuguese legend. The work nonetheless contained some inspired passages of impressionistic music, exotic writing for percussion and notable experimentation with irregular time signatures.

With the end of his association with Sadler's Wells, no new ballet music emerged from ApIvor for more than a decade. In 1968 however, the BBC commissioned him to write his one-act Corporal Jan, another story of witchcraft, which was televised in the same year with choreography by Peter Wright. He composed one further ballet in 1977, Glide the Dark Door Wide, in collaboration with Janet Randell, which was inspired by Sumerian fertility rituals. At the present time, this work has not yet been performed on the stage, although the music has been privately recorded.

Most of ApIvor's performed ballets were featured in the Dancing Times during the 1950s and the composer himself contributed an engaging series of articles to the periodical in 1959, entitled 'The musician's role in ballet'. ApIvor was a long-time friend of the critic Fernau Hall, an admirer of his ballets since the early 1950s. His third wife, Rima Austin, was a ballet mistress with the Carla Rosa Opera company, subsequently teaching with Phyllis Bedells. She also worked for some time in close co-operation with Joan and Rudolf Benesh, founders of the Institute of Choreology.