On this day in 1910, the dramatic ballet The Firebird opened to a Parisian audience with instant success. First performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes company, The Firebird featured choreography by Michel Fokine and musical score by a young Igor Stravinsky.
“And in my dreams I see myself on a wolf’s back
Riding along a forest path
To do battle with a sorcerer-tsar (Kaschei)
In that land where a princess sits under lock and key,
Pining behind massive walls.
There gardens surround a palace all of glass;
There Firebirds sing by night
And peck at golden fruit.”
Excerpt from Yakov Polonsky, “A Winter’s Journey” (Zimniy put, 1844)
Watch as the Firebird is captured by a prince and subsequently released, realizing he means no harm. At the end of their pas de deux, the Firebird bestows upon the prince a magic feather that he may use if ever he finds himself in trouble…
The Firebird Royal Ballet 2001
The Firebird: Leanne Benjamin
Ivan Tsarevich: Jonathan Cope
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House – John Carewe
Royal Opera House Covent Garden 2001