Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

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This Blog is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history and memories of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, its legendary ballet dancers, choreographers, scenery artists, musicians and composers.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Firebird - Premiered June 25, 1910

The Firebird is a 1910, neoclassical ballet with music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by Michel Fokine. The ballet is based on Russian folk tales of the magical glowing bird of the same name that is both a blessing and a curse to its captor.

The music premiered as a ballet by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris on June 25, 1910 conducted by Gabriel Pierné. It was the first of their productions with music specially composed for them. Originally the music was to have been written by Russian composer Anatol Liadov but when he was slow in starting to compose the work, Diaghilev transferred the commission to the 28-year old Stravinsky. The ballet has historic significance not only as Stravinsky's 'breakthrough piece, but also as the beginning of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky. They would later produce Petrushka and The Rite of Spring.

Firebird was to originally be danced by Anna Pavlova, but when she heard Stravinsky’s music she declared it “noise” and refused to dance to it. Tamara Karsavina was given the iconic role.

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