World premiere: 20 April 1967, Bolsoi Theatre, Moscow
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 19 April 2010
Running time: 45 minutes
Le Jeune Homme et la Mort is one of the earliest and most famous works by Roland Petit. The ballet was staged in post-war Paris in 1946 for the recently established company Les Ballets des Champs-Elysees. The ballet by Roland Petit which we know today is considered based on mime drama by Jean Cocteau. In actual fact, both the theme of relationships between an artist and death and the very image of a girl as death and lovers as death were key themes for Cocteau; he had his own accounts to settle with women and he himself was an artist.
A studio. The artist is unable to relax as he waits in torment. A woman appears: mysterious, sharp and heartless – the typical crafty Parisian woman – and during her brief visit she prompts the Youth to commit suicide. Moreover, she is, in fact, Death itself, its unique and original personification.