St Petersburg, Mariinsky Theatre

 The Firebird 

ballets by Michel Fokine



Music by Frédéric Chopin
Scenario by Michel Fokine
Choreography by Michel Fokine (1908)

Revised version by Agrippina Vaganova (1931)
Set design based on original sketches by Orest Allegri


“In 1906, when rehearsing the production of the first version of Chopiniana performed to Glazunov’s orchestration of Chopin’s music, I created for Pavlova and Obukhov – my friend from the ballet school – a waltz in C Sharp Minor, which was specially orchestrated by Glazunov at our request as an addition to the suite.
The sylph – winged hope – flies into a romantic garden lit by the moon. She is followed by a young man. It was dancing in the style of Taglioni, in the style of that long-forgotten time when ballet was governed by poetry, when a dancer rose en pointe not to demonstrate the steel-like arch of her foot but in order to create the impression of lightness, barely touching the ground, something ethereal and fantastical. In this dance there is not one pirouette, not a single trick. But how poetic, how beautiful and how engaging was this duet in the air! The audience was enchanted, as was I. Pavlova made such a powerful impression on me that I wondered about staging an entire ballet in this style. And by the time her next gala performance came round I had created the ballet Les Sylphides. If, back then, she had not danced Chopin’s waltz so brilliantly, so enchantingly, I would never have created this ballet.”
Michel Fokine. Hightlights from the article Memoirs of a Ballet-Master

World premiere: 8 March 1908, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg

Running time 35 minutes
Age category 6+

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