Tonight I am going to see The Firebird performed by the Mariinsky Ballet at the Kennedy Center. (Going to see Russians dance ballet is the equivalent of drinking Napoleonic Brandy. I think. I have to admit I’ve never had Napoleonic Brandy, but you get the idea.) I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am! I have wanted to see this ballet since I was ten or eleven, at the time I was reading about Maria Tallchief, the first prima ballerina for the New York City Ballet. She gained her fame by dancing Balachine’s choreography of The Firebird.
The Firebird is a ballet based on a Russian folktale. It tells the story of Prince Ivan, twelve enchanted princesses, a wicked sorcerer and the Firebird, who helps Prince Ivan break the spell. It first premiered in 1910, the music is composed by Igor Stravinsky and the original choreography was by Mikhail Fokine. The immediate success of this ballet led to Stravinsky’s composition of The Rite of Spring and Petrushka (another favorite of mine, it’s so sad!).
So, have I gushed enough? Oh, yes, and they will also be showing Chopiniana (Les Sylphides) and Scheherazade. Two more ballets that I have always wanted to see, but haven’t yet. But The Firebird trumps them in my mind!