Nefertiti Bust

A ballet by
John Craton

Scene: Queen Nefertiti’s bedchamber


Nefertiti enters her bedchamber accompanied by handmaids. They engage in a short dance before Nefertiti seats herself on her throne and awaits the entrance of her six royal daughters and their handmaids, all of whom will enjoy an evening of entertainment. Prior to the arrival of the children, the fan-bearers enter and dance before positioning themselves round Nefertiti and fanning her. Next come the perfumers who dance before applying perfumes to her majesty.

The nursemaids and children enter next, dancing together briefly before sitting round Nefertiti’s throne.

The company is then served confections by the royal confectioners and servers, who exit when done. At last Nefertiti calls for the entrance of the musicians and entertainers. They dance collectively, then a mime-dancer performs a solo for the assembled guests. Following the mime is a Danga (an ancient Egyptian clown) who performs a humorous skit. After the entertainers are done, the Slumber-Bird enters and makes the children sleepy. As the children begin yawning, the nursemaids bring them one by one to Nefertiti to receive her evening blessing before they depart for bed.

When all children and nursemaids have exited, Nefertiti rises and dances a solo before reclining on her bed. Her fan-bearers position themselves round her and fan her as she drifts off to sleep. End of ballet.

The work is dedicated to Amelia Bacic-Tulevski in recognition of her inspiration for pursuing an ancient storyline.

(in order of appearance)

Chief Fan-bearer
Chief Perfumer
Chief Nursemaid
Chief Confectioner
Chief Musician

Audio mp3s

The Fan-bearers
The Perfumers
The Nursemaids & Children
The Cooks & Servers
The Entertainers, Pt. 1 (musicians, dancers & mimes)
The Entertainers, Pt. 2 (danga [clown])
The Slumber-bird
Nertiti’s Dance & Finale


Piccolo, flute, alto flute, soprano recorder, alto recorder, tenor recorder, oboe, oboe d’amore, bass oboe, English horn, bassoon, contrabassoon, bagpipes (with G drone), tenor horn, natural trumpet (in C), harp, sitar, percussion (congas, tambourine, tenor drum, bass drum, crotales, triangle, gong, temple blocks, glockenspiel, studio chimes, kidi, sogo, udu, caxixi, iyá)

Total length: appoximately 27 minutes. Score and parts are available on request. Please contact the composer for more information.

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