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234th Season

Mariinsky II (New Theatre)

20 December
2016 | Tuesday
Evening of one-act ballets: Prodigal Son. Le Carnaval. Scenes from the ballet Le Corsaire
Artists Credits
Ballet company
Cast to be announced

"Prodigal Son" ballet


Conductor: Alexander Titov

The Prodigal Son: Alexander Sergeev 


The Siren: Anastasia Kolegova



Music by Sergei Prokofiev

Choreography by George Balanchine (1929)

Libretto by Boris Kochno (after the biblical parable)

Scenery and costumes: Georges Rouault 

Scenery executed by Prince A. Schervashidze

Costumes executed by Vera Soudeikina

Staging: Karin von Aroldingen and Paul Boos

Original lighting design: Ronald Bates 

Lighting: Vladimir Lukasevich


Prodigal Son was George Balanchine’s sixth ballet, staged at the Mariinsky Theatre after the ban was lifted on émigré names. By that time the dancers had already assimilated Balanchine’s complex neoclassical dance language and performed dazzlingly in that great choreographer’s plot-less ballets. But here the company had to discover Balanchine anew: because if his other works were basically formed on a modernist rethinking of the classical Russian school then Prodigal Son, created by the choreographer during his time with Diaghilev, is pure avant-garde, art of an entirely different nature. Balanchine approached the evangelical parable without any obvious piety: he staged Prodigal Son in the spirit of the age, as a montage of attractions. But despite all the hooligan-like escapades and the grotesque, the philosophical idea of the plot may be read easily, and Balanchine filled the title character with such drama and artistic truth that it has continued to attract the world’s greatest dancers for almost ninety years. 

Inna Sklyarevskaya


Premiere: 21 May 1929, Les Ballets Russes de Serge de Diaghilev, Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt, Paris
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 14 December 2001 

 Running time: 40 minutes

The Ballet of George Balanchine Prodigal Son is presented by arrangement with The George Balanchine Trust and has been produced in accordance with the Balanchine Style® and Balanchine Technique® service standards established and provided by the Trust The Mariinsky Theatre would like to express its gratitude to Mrs Bettina von Siemens for her support in bringing the "Ballets of George Balanchine" project to life.

Prodigal Son was the last work Balanchine made for Diaghilev’s Ballets russes in 1929 with Serge Lifar in the role of the Prodigal Son; it was revived in 1950 by the New York City Ballet with Jerome Robbins in the title role. Its music by Prokofiev was written for the ballet, and its costumes and décor were created by Rouault, making it a perfect example of the collaborative efforts among artists that produced some of the best works of the Diaghilev era. New for a Diaghilev ballet was the Biblical theme and the religious spirit. In seeking eternal themes and turning to past artistic devices, western artists were trying to avoid the complete intellectual and artistic degeneration towards which their rootless experimentation was leading. Prodigal Son anticipated the trend toward religion of the 1930s and 40s. It was Diaghilev’s fate that he would always be ahead of fashion, even when he believed he had turned his back on vogue. The return of Prodigal Son to St Petersburg is of great significance. For the first time, a ballet of the most radical, late period of Diaghilev’s Saisons russes has returned to the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. That period of Russian and world ballet has come home, which until recently was under artistic (avant-garde aesthetics of the late Diaghilev era) and ideological (use of religious motifs) censorship. 

With the return of Prodigal Son, the Mariinsky Theatre and its generation of young dancers have begun to restore an objective picture of the development of ballet in the 20th century.

Age category 12+ 


"Le Carnaval" ballet


Conductor: Alexander Titov

Columbine: Valeria Martynyuk 

Harlequin: David Zaleyev



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
Age category 6+

Scenes from the ballet "Le Corsaire" 

Conductor: Alexander Titov
Medora: Anastasia Kolegova 
Gulnare: Sofia Ivanova-Skoblikova 
Conrad: Yevgeny Ivanchenko 
Ali: Andrei Yermakov

Music by Adolphe Adan, Riccardo Drigo and Léo Delibes 
Libretto by Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier, edited by Yuri Slonimsky and Pyotr Gusev
Choreography by Pyotr Gusev (1987) based on the composition and choreography Marius Petipa
Set design by Teymuraz Murvanidze
Assistant designer: Mikhail Shishliannikov
Costume design by Galina Solovyova
Lighting design by Vladimir Lukasevich
Premiere of the ballet Le Corsaire, choreography by Marius Petipa: 24 January 1863, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg 
Premiere of Pyotr Gusev´s version: 29 April 1987, Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet (Mariinsky), Leningrad
Age category 6+

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