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Posted by , 20 August 2005 · 207 views

This is a photograph of Tatiana Riabouchinska in one of her most famous roles--performing the Prelude in "Les Sylphides". It was taken live during a performance at the old "Met" Opera House in New York during Ballet Theatre's 1945 season. It beautifully captures the dreaminess of her interpretation.

And--dreamy it was. One Sunday afternoon during this Season, I attended a performance which opened with 'Les Sylphides'--I was late in getting to the theater and managed to be at my favorite standing room spot (behind the Orchestra Circle) just as the curtain was rising, and did not have a chance to read my program. I had no problem recognizing the male lead and his two ballerinas (can't remember who they were) but I could not identify the blonde at his feet of the opening tableau. Riabouchinska was a guest artist for the season, and generally, guests did not perform at matinees. I thought it might be Maria Karnilova, since she was a blonde.---but when this person started to move to the lovely strains of the Prelude, I felt as though I had been transported to that 'sylvan glade' (a phrase often used at the time in program notes for Les Sylphides). The sudden shock of applause brought me back to reality and I knew I had just seen Riabouchinska.

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