Tune of the Day: Dance of the Hours
The “Dance of the Hours” is a ballet from the opera La Gioconda by Italian composer Amilcare Ponchielli. First performed in 1876, La Gioconda was a major success for Ponchielli, as well as the most successful new Italian opera between Verdi's Aida (1871) and Otello (1887).
The “Dance of the Hours” is considered one of the most popular ballet pieces in history. The ballet was parodied in Walt Disney's 1940 classic Fantasia. The segment consists of the whole ballet, but performed comically by animals rather than humans. The dancers of the morning are represented by Madame Upanova and her ostriches. The dancers of the daytime are represented by Hyacinth Hippo and her servants. The dancers of the evening are represented by Elephanchine and her bubble-blowing elephant troupe. The dancers of the night are represented by Ben Ali Gator and his troop of alligators.
Another famous parody of the “Dance of the Hours” is Allan Sherman's 1963 song “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh”, describing a miserable time at summer camp. It uses the main theme of the ballet as its melody.