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234th Season

Main Stage

11 October
2022 | Tuesday
Evening of one-act ballets by Michel Fokine: Le Carnaval. Le Spectre de la rose. The Swan. Scheherazade.
Artists Credits
Ballet company
Cast to be announced

Le Carnaval


Music by Robert Schumann (Le Carnaval, Op. 9, orchestrated by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Anatoly Lyadov, Alexander Glazunov, Nikolai Cherepnin, Anton Arensky)

Choreography by Michel Fokine

Set and Costume design by Léon Bakst


The revival team:

Choreography staged by Sergei Vikharev

Sets reproduced by Mikhail Shishliannikov

Costumes reproduced by Tatiana Noginova

Lighting by Alexander Naumov and Mikhail Shishliannikov



Preambule. Carnival festivities. 

Pierrot. Pierrot is sad. 

Harlequin. The colourfully dressed Harlequin swoops down on Pierrot. Harlequin is in good spirits; Pierrot’s wretched looks make him laugh all the more. He sneers and gibes at the poor fellow and vanishes as quickly as he appeared. 

Eusebius. Eusebius enters slowly. He is perturbed by the glitter and merriment of the carnival. He is looking for refuge. At the feast there was no girl he was interested in enjoying the amusements together with. Suddenly he meets a stranger such as can only be dreamed of. It is Chiarina. She is dancing on the stage and drawing Eusebius after her. 

Florestan. The passionate Florestan runs in, looking for Estrella. Voilà! Estrella feigns disdain. Florestan throws himself at her, wishing to declare his love. Continuing to act hurt, Estrella turns away, but the insistent Florestan succeeds in getting her to dance with him. 

Coquette. Chiarina appears again with flowers in her arms. She dances coquettishly, giving her arm to Eusebius, she kisses a flower, throws it to Eusebius and hides. 

Papillon. Pierrot is lonely. Papillon flutters past and flits about the stage lighheartedly. Pierrot lies in wait for her. Papillon flaps her wings, trying to fly away. Pierrot, intent on catching her with his hat, takes aim and throws it. Pierrot thinks he has caught Papillon, and retrieves his hat. What a disappointment! Papillon is not there – she has flown away. 

Chiarina. Agitated by the events, Chiarina and two friends run in. Chiarina, apparently, has already told them about her adventure with Eusebius. 

Reconaissance. The carnival characters arrive. Colombine slips as she moves across the floor; the merry Harlequin grabs hold of her. The happy couple look for the chance to withdraw and share their emotions. Their first wish, when they see no-one is looking, is to kiss. 

Pantalone and Colombine. Pantalone, an old man trying to act young, enters in a terrible rush. Colombine had appointed a rendezvous. The clock shows that the time has come, and this is the place appointed in the letter... But his lady is not there. Pantalone decides to wait. In impatience he reads the letter again. Someone’s tender hands cover his eyes and someone else’s grab the letter – Harlequin and Colombine have decided to amuse themselves with the comical old devotee. 

Promenade. The lovers appear, couple after couple. They plan on being alone, but they meet others also looking for a quiet spot. Papillon flies in, followed by Pierrot. Pantalone is among the strolling lovers, still trying to find the unknown writer of the letter. She leads him to Harlequin and Colombine who are wrapped in a daydream. Pantalone’s behaviour enfuriates Harlequin. At the top of his voice he declares “Columbine and I are to marry.” Pantalone protests. Pierrot calms everyone down. “No quarrels or arguments. Pantalone and Harlequin – make peace.” Harlequin holds out his hand, and Pantalone reluctantly accepts it. The burst of merriment siezes everyone. In the carnival merriment only two are ill at ease – Pierrot and Pantalone. Columbine calls on Pantalone. He moves towards her. However, Harlequin throws him into the embraces of the gaping Pierrot and attaches Pierrot’s long arms to Pantalone’s back. The last bars of the carnival music can be heard and the curtain falls. Pierrot and Pantalone, cut off from the merriments behind the curtain, knock and bang, in vain begging to be let into the carnival.


Running time: 30 minutes


Le Spectre de la rose


Music by Carl Maria von Weber 

Choreography by Michel Fokine (1911) 

Concept by Jean-Louis Vaudoyer after the poem by Théophile Gautier 

Scenario by Michel Fokine 

Reconstruction by Isabelle Fokine 

Costumes after sketches by Léon Bakst



In it (Le Spectre de la rose) there was no dancing to display technique... The dancing is expressive throughout. <...> Her eyes closed, the Girl seeks out her Spectre, summoning him. In none of the movements does the Spectre resemble a typical dancer performing his variations for the pleasure of the audience. He is a spirit. He is a dream. He is the scent of a rose, the caress of its delicate petals and much more besides, for which it is impossible to find the right words, he is no ‘cavalier’ in any sense of the word, he is not the ‘partner of the ballerina’. The technique of the arms in this ballet is totally different to the strong and correct arms in old ballets. Here the arms are alive, speaking, singing, and not performing ‘positions’. 

Michel Fokine. Extracts from the book Against the Current

World premiere: 19 April 1911, Les Ballets Russes de Serge de Diaghilev, Théâtre de Monte Carlo

In the repertoire of the Mariinsky Theatre since 1997


Running time: 10 minutes


The Swan

Music by Camille Saint-Saëns
Choreography by Michel Fokine (1907)

... Our joint work (with Anna Pavlova) was The Dying Swan. <...> It took just a few minutes to create the ballet. It was amost an improvisation. I danced in front of her, she was there, just behind me. (... ) Before that production I had been accused of being involved in ‘barefoot’ dancing and was generally opposed to dancing en pointe. The Dying Swan was my response to this criticism. This dance became a symbol of new Russian ballet. It was a serious work of perfect technique and expression. It was like a kind of proof that dance can and should not just please the eyes but also get into the soul.

Michel Fokine. Highlights from Memoirs of a Ballet-Master

World premiere: 22 December 1907, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg

Running time: 4 minutes




Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Scenario by Léon Bakst and Michel Fokine after Arabian Nights fairytales

Choreography by Michel Fokine (1910)

Reconstruction by Isabelle Fokine, Andris Liepa

Set and costume design by Anna Nezhnaya, Anatoly Nezhny after original sketches: Léon Bakst



Shahryar is angry because his brother Shakhezman has suggested that his wives are unfaithful to him. To test the harem Shahryar goes off on a hunting expedition. 

Almost as soon as the court has departed the wives adorn themselves in jewels and bribe the Chief Eunuch to open the three doors which lead to the quarters where the male slaves live. Two doors are opened and the Chief Eunuch is about to leave when Zobeide, Shahryar’s favourite wife, demands that the third door also be opened. The Eunuch warns her against this, but with further bribes and pleas she insists. The door is opened and the Golden Slave leaps through it to Zobeide’s side. They fall entwined upon the divan. 

Food is brought in to musical accompaniment. Dancing begins, led by the Golden Slave, and Zobeide joins it. But Shahryar has returned unannounced and bursts in upon the orgy. Slaughter follows and the revellers are indiscriminately cut down. Shahryar kills Zobeide’s lover with his own hands. Only Zobeide remains. Preferring death to dishonour she faces the Shah and then, with a dagger she grabs from him, she takes her own life.


World premiere: 4 June 1910, Les Ballets Russes de Serge de Diaghilev, Théâtre de l´Opéra, Paris

Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 26 May 1994

Running time 45 minutes

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