The Firebird ballet

the firebird

Music by Igor Stravinsky
Choreography by Anatoly Emelianov

The premiere of the ballet was held on July 21st, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Firebird ballet was written on the basis of Russian folk tales about an incredibly beautiful bird, possession of which was for man the greatest blessing as well as a terrible curse. The images captured on the pages of  fairy-tale books were skillfully expressed by masters of their craft to create a colorful and lively ballet. The richness of the ballet music symbolizes the incredible beauty and raciness of the main character of the performance – a fiery red bird, which is able to illuminate the whole space with its light.

The Firebird ballet story

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky (17. 06. 1882 – 6. 04. 1971) – composer, pianist and conductor originally from Russia. Igor Stravinsky’s career was great and multifaceted enough to let him gain the title of one of the most influential composers of the last century.

As a composer, Igor Stravinsky gained popularity through the use of various stylistic methods. He became famous worldwide thanks to the three most famous ballets created at the request of Sergei Diaghilev and performed in Paris. These include The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913).

The author is in awe of the Firebird, since the image of this fantastic creature was new to the stage of that time. And besides, this tale seemed to him the most relevant for the expression of the story in dance. The performance involves the painstaking work of artists whose task is to create the image of a magical kingdom, as well as the Firebird, symbolizing the unearthly beauty, unattainable for a  man. The main character of the ballet moves adroitly and beautifully, expressing the extraordinary grace and a fly of a fabulous creature. This ballet received tremendous success at the first presentation and gave Igor Stravinsky world fame.

Brief retelling of the performance

Prince Ivan is a hero who decides to go in search of his stolen beloved The Beautiful Tsarevna. During the adventure, he learns that his desired Beauty is in the castle of the insidious Koschei. The Koshchei castle rises on the highest mountain among the angular cliffs, framed by a frightening fence so that no one even could think to kidnap his beauties, or feast on golden apples from the garden. But Prince Ivan is not so easy to scare: he overcomes a high fence and makes his way through  Koshchei’s garden. A black knight in gloomy robes passes through the garden, as if absorbing the light. Only apples glow in the dark and a bird of unprecedented beauty, which flew in to feast on golden apples. Prince Ivan, delighted with the beauty of the mythical bird, decides to catch it. He grabs the beauty, and it trembles, breaks out, asks to let it go, and the hero decides to leave the Firebird alone. Being grateful for mercy, the bird leaves a bright feather to Ivan and tells that he must keep it safe.

The doors open. 13 beautiful girls, among whom is Beloved Beauty run out into the garden. Under the cover of night, the girls decide to play with the apples in the garden, bursting with loud laughter. Ivan hides in the bushes, while Krasus is engaged in the game and then bends to the bush for an apple. The young man decides to introduce himself to the beauties, at first they are afraid of him, but soon they begin to sympathize with the polite Ivan. They played in the garden before the coming of the Knight of the Morning, after which the beauties rushed back to the castle. Contrary to the instructions of the Beloved Beauty, the main hero decides to cut the golden gate. The whole kingdom shook, unprecedented monsters came running so as to protect the kingdom from an alien, but Ivan defeated them all. Koschey appears before the hero and begins an interrogation. Seeing Koshchei’s awkward face, the young man spits on him. An embittered wizard puts Ivan against the wall, intending to turn him into a stone. Suddenly, the hero calls to his memory about the feather, takes it out of his pocket and shakes it. The Firebird arrives, forces the monsters to dance relentlessly and soon sends them to sleep. Ivan wants to carry The Beauty away from here, but the bird stops him, pointing to the hollow in the tree. There is an egg in the hollow. When Ivan throws the egg from hand to hand, Koschei jumps hither and thither, when he smashes it on the ground – the wizard disappears in the air. The entire kingdom of the wizard disappears, and in its place appears a wonderful Christian city.

About performance Carmina Burana.