Les chats du Bagarreau


A ballet by
John Craton

Scene: A village at night


Les chats du Bagarreau (The Cats of Bagarreau) has no actual story; we have here merely a gathering of chats voyous (rogue/delinquent cats) in the village of Bagarreau (a play on the word bagarre, which means “fight” or “brawl,” but toying with the Old French form, bagarot). The action consists primarily of short vignettes of the various characters. The cats are led by gangleader Tom la bombe (Tom the Bomb), and the other principals are Charlotte la chasseuse, Clairette la curieuse, Lucinde la ludique, Pénélope la persane, Adèle l’acrobate, and Véronique la vaniteuse. Véronique is the last to be introduced, and perhaps it is jealousy over her that leads to a fight between rival cat gangs. In the course of the ensuing melee Tom is killed. (It should be noted that Tom’s costume sports a large number 9 on his chest.) His lifeless body is brought forward, then the cats remove the number 9 to reveal a number 8, and Tom is alive again, having used only one of his nine lives. The ballet then concludes as it began with Tom leading his little band of rogue cats through the village streets.

The work is dedicated to Sarah Weaver, principal dancer of Central West Ballet. It was premiered in Bedford, Indiana, on 24 May 2014 with Katherine Brown, Kristin Hill, Erica Kirkman, Jane Kittaka, Adrien Poole, Tori Simpson, and Mckenzie Wease as principals, with other dancers of Kat’s Performing Arts Studio; Kathy Thompson, choreographer & director.

Audio mp3s

Le rassemblement du chats voyous / The Gathering of Rogue Cats
Tom la bombe & Charlotte la chasseuse / Tom the Bomb & Charlotte the Huntress
Clairette la curieuse / Clairette the Curious
Lucinde la ludique / Lucinda the Playful
Pénélope la persane / Penelope the Persian
Adèle l’acrobate / Adele the Acrobat
Véronique la vaniteuse / Veronica the Vain
Une bataille de chiffonniers & Finale / Cat Fight & Finale


Scored for full orchestra (piccolo, flute, oboe/cor anglais, clarinet, bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, tenor trombone, bass trombone, tuba, strings, harp, and percussion). Total length: appoximately 28 minutes. Score and parts are available on request. Please contact the composer for more information.

Photos from the 24 May 2014 premiere


Photos Copyright ©2014 by James Minshall. Used by permission.

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