In Petrushka, enchanted puppets come alive, fall in love, and fight to the death! The Mariinsky Ballet joins the Müncher Philharmoniker under the direction of Valery Gergiev in a performance of Petrushka in Stravinsky's original 1911 version. The ballet is preceded by Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments.
In the summer of 1910 — just months after The Firebird's incredible success — Stravinsky was already energetically back at work, this time on a concert piece for piano and orchestra inspired by Petrushka, the well-known character of Russian folk puppet theater. Imagining the considerable dramatic possibilities of the idea, his collaborator Diaghilev convinced the composer to move in a new direction, transforming the new piece into a ballet. With choreographer Michel Fokine and designer Alexandre Benois added to the team, the new ballet took form, eventually premiering on June 13, 1911 at Paris' Théâtre du Châtelet, and adding another triumph to the 29-year-old Stravinsky's name!
At the heart of Petrushka is a deadly love triangle among magical puppets: the clown-like puppet Petrushka loves the beautiful ballerina, who herself prefers the swashbuckling Moor. Their story plays out at Carnival festivities in St. Petersburg of the 1830s, and is structured in four tableaux that transport us between the "real" world of the fair and the supposedly fantastical world of the puppets. But the grisly end of the ballet leaves us questioning who are the puppets and who is the puppetmaster...
Photo: Natasha Razina © State Academic Mariinsky Theatre
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