NABOKV-L post 0007013, Mon, 4 Nov 2002 10:29:56 -0800

Fw: Quelques Fleurs: the ballet; the perfume
Quelques Fleurs: the ballet; the perfumeEDNOTE. Two thoughts evoked by this charming item 1) VN was not above drawing on ads for allusions. Cf. the use in ADA of the New Yorker Barton & Guestier wines ad, an overlay of a Toulouse-Lautrec poster with a figural prototype for Lucette and 2) Nicholas Nabokov, the composer cousin who helped VN settle in the States had close ties with the Ballet Russe (although not so far as I know offhand with the ballet in question.
----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 7:41 PM
Subject: Quelques Fleurs: the ballet; the perfume

Found on the web:

In 1948, the Houbigant Perfume Company commissioned a ballet to be named Quelques Fleurs, from choreographer Ruthanna Boris and composer Francois Auber. They allowed the creators free rein in the libretto and all artistic decisions, simply requesting the ballet have something to do with perfume.
The result was a comedic, one-act ballet about a haughty Contessa, Contessa Ilaria del Caretto, who, unsuccessful in her attempts to snare Zenobio Bonaventuro, a gay young man of fashion, seeks help from an alchemist who presents her with three wondrous perfumes, which causes the young man to swoon at their loveliness. Ultimately, this gift proves to be of no avail, as the youth still rejects the Contessa, prefering the fragrances to the woman.

The ballet was premiered in New York, September 30 1948, by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Here's an interesting bit of fragrance history trivia for you: what was the first commercially sold perfume based on multiple floral notes, as opposed to a single floral note? Quelques Fleurs, by Houbigant, one of the most important fragrances in history. Introduced in 1912, and relaunched by request to a whole new generation of appreciative wearers in 1988, Quelques Fleurs, by eminent turn-of-the-century Houbigant perfumer Robert Bienaimé, is a devastatingly feminine floral fragrance. An Intoxicating and Sophisticated Blend of Over 300 Floral Essences

Quelques Fleurs is a floral fragrance.
Top notes: greens, bergamot, orange blossom, lemon, tarragon
Heart notes: rose, jasmine, tuberose, lily-of-the-valley, ylang-ylang, carnation, heliotrope, orchid, orris
Base notes: sandalwood, oakmoss, amber, musk, tonka bean, civet