You Can Pay Online  
234th Season

Main Stage

29 November
2020 | Sunday
"Le Spectre de la rose" "The Swan" "The Firebird" "Scheherazade". Ballets by Michel Fokine
Artists Credits
Ballet company

Michel Fokine's ballets

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

“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,” described Michel Fokine his Le Spectre de la rose. He got the idea from a poem by the Romantic poet Théophile Gautier:
Je suis le spectre d'une rose
Que tu portais hier au bal.
The short ballet created in 1911 for Les saisons russes became emblematic for the Diaghilev’s company. Tamara Karsavina danced the Young Girl with melancholy languor and created the dream-like and memory-like atmosphere of the ballet. Vaslav Nijinsky’s spectacular leap made the audiences ecstatic, while the dancer’s ingenious portrayal of the Spectre forever remained in ballet history. The images of the first duet from the famous playbill drawn by Jean Cocteau for many Europeans in the 20th century symbolized all things innovative in ballet at the time.

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

Age category 12+

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

Age category 12+

The Firebird

Music by Igor Stravinsky
Libretto by Michel Fokine
Choreography by Michel Fokine (1910)

Reconstruction: Isabelle Fokine, Andris Liepa (1994)
Set and costume design: Anna and Anatoly Nezhny
after original sketches: Alexander Golovin, Léon Bakst and Michel Fokine
Lighting Designer: Vladimir Lukasevich
Lighting Adaptation for the Mariinsky II by Yegor Kartashov

Igor Stravinsky began his career with The Firebird. It was his first commissioned work, his theatrical debut, followed by a huge success. After the ballet was premiered in Paris, this previously unknown aspiring composer was now ranked among the main newsmakers of the new European art. Stravinsky was invited to write a new score for the Ballets Russes by Diaghilev, since Anatoly Lyadov, composer known for his ability to evoke the world of Russian fairy tales, had failed this order on time. Diaghilev who had a knack for discovering new talents had been impressed by young Stravinsky's Scherzo Fantastique for symphony orchestra, which was “burning and sparkling” as choreographer Michel Fokine put it. It was Fokine who came up with a “glowing image” of the Firebird. By the time Stravinsky became involved with the score, the libretto had already been completed. Fokine had a clear vision of the ballet and guided the composer. Colourful musical themes of the Firebird, the round dance of the Princesses with its Russian femininity, the “Infernal Dance of All Kastchei's Subjects” that turns into a riot of rhythm, it all grew out of discussions between the composer, choreographer and designers, Alexander Golovin and Léon Bakst. In 1910, they created an export Russian fairy tale and it conquered Paris. Yet in Russia, Stravinsky’s The Firebird was performed only in 1921 Fedor Lopukhov's avant-garde production. Fokine's version of The Firebird, for which Stravinsky created his score, became a part of the Mariinsky Theatre’s repertoire only in the late 20th century.
Olga Makarova

World premiere: 25 June 1910, Les Saisons Russes, Théâtre de l´Opéra, Paris
Premiere of Michel Fokin’s version at the Mariinsky Theatre:28 May 1994

Running time: 50 minutes

Age category 6+


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 (1994)
Set and costume design by Anna Nezhnaya, Anatoly Nezhny after original sketches: Léon Bakst

In 1910, Shéhérazade was a great success in Paris. The fashionistas of the time, having just shouted "bravo" at Les saisons russes premiere, hurried to put on serouals and turbans à la Eastern style which were created for the production by artist Léon Bakst. Fabric manufacturers launched the production of linens with ornaments in blue and orange colours, while jewelers sold gaudy trinkets, which were reminiscent of the shiny things worn by the artists on stage, with unprecedented success. Sergei Diaghilev was hoping to make a splash with a Paris performance of the ballet written after One Thousand and One Nights with the fabulous music by Rimsky-Korsakov and oriental exotics. Fokine sought to show all actions and feelings through poses and movements in his choreography. Ida Rubinstein drove the public crazy with her regal beauty, Vaslav Nijinsky – with animal-like flexibility of his half-naked body while soaring over the stage. Such passionate orgies as in Shéhérazade had never been seen by the Parisian ballet-goers before. And while modern theatre-goers would unlikely be stunned by the scenes of passionate embraces and bloody massacre at the harem, juicy musical, artistic and choreographic elements of Shéhérazade can still fire the imagination of a sensitive spectator.
Olga Makarova

World premiere: 4 June 1910, Les Ballets Russes de Serge de Diaghilev,
Théâtre de l´Opéra, Paris
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 28 May 1994

Running time 45 minutes

Age category 6+

Mariinsky Theatre:
1 Theatre Square
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street
St. Petersburg

To make an order, please use mobile version of our website - buy tickets from any smartphone

Enter now for your chance to win a Mariinsky Backstage Tour for 2 !
An error occured. Please, try again.
You're In!
Now you are participating in the drawing of amazing Mariinsky Backstage Tour for 2!