St Petersburg, Mariinsky Theatre

Pétrouchka. Schéhérazade

one act ballets


Conductor: Conductor:  Valery Gergiev


Petrushka: Alexander Sergeyev
The Ballerina: Irina Golub
The Moor: Islom Baimuradov


Sultan Shahriyar: Vladimir Ponomarev
Zobeide: Diana Vishneva
Zobeide's Slave: Igor Zelensky
The Odalisques: Yulia Stepanova, Yevgenia Dolmatova, Ji Yeon Ryu
Age category 12+


Music by Igor Stravinsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Choreography by Michel Fokine


burlesque in four scenes

Music by Igor Stravinsky
Choreography by Michel Fokine (1911)
Libretto by Alexandre Benois
Musical Director: Valery Gergiev
Staging by Gary Chryst
Revival Designer: Batozhan Dashitsyrenov
Lighting design: Vladimir Lukasevich
Coach: Igor Petrov

World premiere: 13 June 1911, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris
Premiere of this production: 6 February 2010, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg

Running time of the ballet Petrouchka: 40 minutes


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choreographic drama in one act

Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Symphony suite Schéhérazade)
Choreography by Michel Fokine (1910)
Scenario by Léon Bakst and Michel Fokine after Arabian Nights fairytales
Revived by Isabelle Fokine, Andris Liepa
Set and costume design by Anna Nezhnaya, Anatoly Nezhny after original sketches by Léon Bakst

World premiere: 4 June 1910, Les Ballets Russes de Serge de Diaghilev, Théâtre de l´Opéra, Paris
In the repertoire of the Mariinsky Theatre since 1994

Running time of the ballet Schéhérazade: 40 minutes


Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Pétrouchka was first staged by Michel Fokine during the saisons russes in Paris in 1911. Fokine’s ballet was brought to the Mariinsky Theatre’s repertoire by Leonid Leontiev in 1920. Specially for the VI Festival Maslenitsa (Shrovetide), the American dancer and choreographer Gary Chryst has worked to bring back the ballet to the Mariinsky Theatre. Chryst worked on stage rehearsals of Pétrouchka for the acclaimed Joffrey Ballet in New York in 1970 under Diaghilev’s friend Léonide Massine, a soloist with the Ballets russes and an renowned choreographer. In 2006, Chryst staged Pétrouchka for American Ballet Theatre and later for the National Ballet of Canada.


There is a performance during the Maslenitsa festivities at a funfair booth. Three dolls – a Moore, a Ballerina and Pétrouchka – are dancing first for the audience and then amongst them. The Ballerina, an empty-headed coquette, dances with anyone at all.
The pitiful and lonely Pétrouchka is in love with the Ballerina and is jealous of her love for the conceited and foolish Moore. The Ballerina cares nothing for Pétrouchka. The Magician is cruel to him. Pétrouchka tries to stop the Ballerina flirting with the Moore, but the Moore drives him away.
Following Pétrouchka, he leaves the puppet booth and, before the crowd, he kills his wretched rival. The duty policeman is called. But the Magician appears and explains to the crowd that it was only a puppet that died, and nothing more than that. He shows them Pétrouchka’s rag-filled body. The crowd dispels. Suddenly a piercing shriek can be heard in the silence. In the moonlight, Pétrouchka appears on the roof of the booth, shaking his fists at his tormentors.


“In the production of Schéhérazade I have succeeded for the first time in fully realising my principle of developing the action. <…> The plot and the emotions were expressed through poses and movement. No-one spoke with their arms. Can everything be conveyed in conditional gestures? No. But in Schéhérazade everything is conveyed.
“<…> I know they don’t dance like that in the East, they don’t live like that. After staging the ballet I studied real eastern dances. But not for anything would I agree to replace my dances with real ones. They need a real eastern orchestra. They would not be appropriate for Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphony orchestra.
“<…> Speaking about I. L. Rubinstein’s performance and the production of her role, I would like to say it was a very convincing achievement. <…> Everything was expressed in one pose, one gesture, one turn of the head. And it was precisely sketched and drawn. Every line thought out and felt.”

M. Fokine about the ballet Schéhérazade


The board Shahriyar is being entertained by odalisques and his favourite wife Zobeide.
At the advice of his younger brother Shahezman, who is certain of Zobeide’s unfaithfulness, Shahriyar departs to go hunting. An orgy begins in the harem, and when it is at its height the Sultan returns unexpectedly. He orders his concubines, eunuchs and slaves be killed.
Zobeide stabs herself.

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