Mikhail Fokine’s Ballets
At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the talented choreographer Mikhail Fokine was a person who expressed new trends and new ideas in the Russian ballet. He greatly contributed to the Russian ballet art, expanded the circle of ideas and images, and enriched it with new forms and styles.
(one-act choreographic drama to the music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov)
Scenario by Alexandre Benois and Mikhail Fokine after Arabian Nights fairytales
Choreography by Mikhail Fokine (1910)
Reconstruction by Andris Liepa, People’s Artist of Russia
Sets and costumes by Anna Nezhnaya and Anatoly Nezhny after original sketches by Léon Bakst
The bored Sultan Shahryar is being entertained by odalisques and his beloved wife Zobeide. The Sultan’s younger brother Shakhezman is also here, he lost faith in women after his beloved wife betrayed him. He does not believe his brother’s wives either and offers his brother to test their loyalty. Both Sultans go hunting, while their wives touchingly bid farewell to them. Almost as soon as the Sultans are gone, the wives bribe the Chief Eunuch who opens the door of the harem. Black slaves burst in, and shameless depravity begins. Zobeide reigns here, having fun with her beloved Slave. In the midst of such “merrymaking”, the brothers return. Shakhezman triumphs, Shahryar is enraged and orders to execute everyone on the spot. Sultan’s servants kill the odalisques, eunuchs and black slaves. Sultana Zobeide, whom her spouse Shahryar believed more than himself, relies on her power over him and tries to appease him. The Sultan is unable to give the order to execute her. However, his cunning brother contemptuously points at Zobeide’s hacked to death lover. Shahryar gives a sign to the executioners, but his wife manages to grab a dagger from him and takes her own life. Shahryar cries over the dead body of his unfaithful, but beloved woman.
(one-act ballet to the music of Frédéric Chopin)
Choreography by Mikhail Fokine
Revised version by Agrippina Vaganova (1931)
Set design based on the original sketches by Orest Allegri
Ballet Master – Producer: Altynai Asylmuratova, People’s Artist of Russia
In 1908, Mikhail Fokine composed a non-narrative ballet sketch. As the choreographer wrote, it was “in the style of that long-forgotten time, when ballet was governed by poetry, when a dancer rose en pointe not to demonstrate the steel-like arch of her foot, but in order to create the impression of lightness, barely touching the ground, something ethereal and fantastical… I have tried not to surprise people with the novelty, but rather to restore the conventional ballet dancing to the point of its greatest advances. I don’t know how our ballet predecessors danced. And no one else knows that. But in my dreams this is precisely how they did dance.”
The entire suite, woven by the choreographer of fleeting visions consonant with Chopin’s music, captivate the audience by its pensive beauty.
Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including one interval