The White Duck Beneath the Waves

The White Duck illustrated by Ivan Bilibin

 
 

The Russian folktale Белая уточка (The White Duck) also bears some resemblance to the story of Лебединое озеро (Swan Lake) ballet, and may have been another possible source. The contemporaries of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky recalled the composer taking great interest in the life story of Bavarian King Ludwig II, whose tragic life had supposedly been marked by the sign of Swan and who—either consciously or not—was chosen as the prototype of the dreamer Prince Siegfried.

 
 

Audrey Hepburn received a Tony Award for her theatrical performance in the 1954 Broadway play Ondine, directed by Alfred Lunt

 
 

The original Swan Lake was based on the story of Ondine, a German myth with a theme common in Romanticism that was adapted by Hans Christian Andersen for his story The Little Mermaid.

In that German tale known as Sleep of Ondine, Ondine (from Latin: Unda, “a wave”)  is a water nymph. She was very beautiful and, like all nymphs, immortal. However, should she fall in love with a mortal man and bear his child, she would lose her immortality.

 
 

Undine beneath the waves of the Danube. Illustration by Arthur Rackham

 
 

Ondine eventually falls in love with a handsome knight, Sir Lawrence, and they are married. When they exchange vows, Lawrence vows to forever love and be faithful to her. A year after their marriage, Ondine gives birth to his child. From that moment on she begins to age. As Ondine’s physical attractiveness diminishes, Lawrence loses interest in his wife.

One afternoon, Ondine is walking near the stables when she hears the familiar snoring of her husband. When she enters the stable, she sees Lawrence lying in the arms of another woman. Ondine points her finger at him, which he feels as if kicked, waking him up with surprise. Ondine curses him, stating, “You swore faithfulness to me with every waking breath, and I accepted your oath. So be it. As long as you are awake, you shall have your breath, but should you ever fall asleep, then that breath will be taken from you and you will die!

In Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Past Things, Volume II: Madame Swann at Home, the narrator’s girlfriend Gilberte is referred to as Undine: “… she assumed that vague air, full of reticence and kept secrets…like the Undine that she was…”

And Genesis’ 1973 song Firth of Fifth (from the album Selling England by the Pound) makes reference to Ondinal Songs.

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Peter Gabriel: From Genesis to Revelation

I’m posting various photo portraits, out of chronological order, depicting Peter Gabriel’s trajectory during and after his collaboration with Genesis. Whether wearing “civilian clothes,” costumes and make-up drawn from nature (wolf, flower, bat), comics (The Hulk) or those which came from an intergalactic fantasy, professionally Peter Gabriel was born this way.

 
 

In the beginning

 
 

Photo-shoot by Mick Rock, 1973

 
 

First appearance of Gabriel ‘in costume’. It was the dress-wearing, fox-headed entity immortalized on the cover of Foxtrot. The performance was a success, and it encouraged Gabriel to continue wearing creative costumes while singing

 
 

Watcher of the Skies is the first track on Genesis’ 1972 album Foxtrot. The title is borrowed from John Keats’ 1817 poem On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer. During performances, Peter Gabriel wore bat wings on the side of his head, glowing UV make-up around his eyes, and a multicolored cape.

 
 

Costume Britannia for The Moonlit Knight (1974) a song from the album Selling England by the Pound.

 
 

Like a flower

 
 

Magog, worn for Supper’s Ready, from the album Foxtrot

 
 

The Old Man

 
 

The Slipperman

 
 

Rael, the protagonist of the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

 
 

Still of Shock the Monkey (Dean Karr, 1982) music video

 
 

In company of Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Cindy Lauper, and Rosanna Arquette

 
 

Storm Thorgerson designing Peter Gabriel’s third solo album, commonly known as Melt

 
 

So (1986). Sleeve design by Peter Saville

 
 

Soundtrack album of The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988)

 
 

Us (1992)

 
 

Ovo (2000)

 
 

Scratch my back (2010).

 
 

New Blood (2011)