Raymonda-1898 - premiere reports

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I thought it might be helpful to layout the cast and structure of Petipa's 1898 Raymonda. From this base, we can discuss the production itself and subsequent Raymonda productions. This is a little long, but hopefully worthwhile.

* * * * *


Raymonda, Countess de Doris (Pierina Legnani)

The Countess Sybille, canoness, Raymonda's aunt (Mme Cecchetti)

The White Lady, protector of the House of Doris

Clemence, girlfriend of Raymonda (Mlle Kulichevskaya)

Henriette, girlfriend of Raymonda (Preobrazhenskaya)

The Knight Jean de Brienne (Sergei Legat)

Andrei II, King of Hungary

Abderrakhman, a Saracen knight (Pavel Gerdt)

Bernard de Ventadour, a troubadour or Provence (Georgi Kyasht)

Beranger, a troubador of Aquitaine (Nikolai Legat)

Seneschal, in charge of the castle of Doris

* * * * *

ACT I, SCENE ONE - Raymonda's Name-day

Scene I: A hall in the castle of Doris. Raymonda's 4 friends are onstage (Henriette, Clemence, Bernard and Beranger). The Senescahl issues order re: name-day celebrations.

La Traditrice: dance of 4 friends and 12 [older, I think] students.

Scene II: Sybille enters with 8 ladies in waiting. Scolds everyone for their idleness.

Reprise de la danse: No one pays any attention and they dance again.

Scene mimique: Countess demands pages put away their instruments.

La Recit de la Comtesse: Countess tells story about White Lady, protectoress of the castle, whoe statue is upstage center. The White Lady will bless them if they fulfill thei responsibilities, but not if they are idle (!).

La danse: Everyone makes fun of the superstitious old woman and dances around her.

Scene III: Servants announce arrival of messengers. Countess goes to get Raymonda.

Scene IV: Entrance of Raymonda (with variation in which she picks up flowers that girl students have put in a trail on the ground).

Scene V: Raymonda reads the letter stating Jean de Brienne will return tomorrow to marry her.

[At this point, Petipa added an entrance for the Saracen knight, Abderrakhman, who offers Raymonda gifts in honor of her name day. She is not interested and he plans to abduct her at a later time. Glazunov composed only 8 additional bars of music for all this action.]

Scene VI: 8 vassals enter and congratulate Raymonda. 24 peasant couples follow.

Grande valse: 24 peasant couples.

Pizzicato: variation for Raymonda.

Reprise de la valse: Waltz resumes with peasant couples and entree for Raymonda.

Scene mimique: Raymonda asks the seneschal to arrange a cour d'amour for the next day's wedding festivities. Everyone departs, except Raymonda and 4 friends. It is evening.

Prelude et la Romanesca: dance for 4 friends (Alexandra Danilova referred to this dance as a "character mazurka" although the music is in 4/4 time and not a mazurka.)

Prelude et variation: Harp variation for Raymonda with scarf.

Scen mimique: Raymonda lies down, fanned by pages. Clemence plays the lute. All magically fall asleep except Raymonda.

Scene VII: Apparition de la Dame Blanche: The White Lady descends from her pedestal. Raymonda is petrified but follows her out onto the terrace. Curtain falls.

* * * * *

ACT ONE, SCENE 2 - Visions


Scene VIII: A park outside the castle. White Lady is followed by Raymonda (actually Raymonda's doubles, who will watch the real Raymonda in the subsequent dances). A mist covers everything. When it lifts, Jean de Brienne and 12 knights are surrounded by 48 corps women and also children. The women crown the knights. Raymonda runs to Jean.

Grand Adagio: Raymonda and Jean pas de deux with corps groupings.

Valse Fantastique: Corps waltz.

Variation 1: Female soloist.

Variation II: Female soloist.

Variation III: Raymonda [Petipa did not use the music Glaznuvo composed for this variation. Instead, he used an arrangement of the waltz from Glazunov's "Scenes de Ballet".]

Coda: Everyone.

Scene IX: Raymonda goes back to the White Lady, who mimes, "Look, and learn what awaits you." Raymonda turns back to Jean and find herself face to face with Abderrakhman. Everyone else has disappeared. Extended mime conversation ensues. He wants her, she rejects him. She faints (either here or after children's dance).

Scene X and Ronde des follets et des farfadets: student will-o'-the-wisps and goblins appears and dance around Raymonda.

Scene XI: The sun rises.

Scene XII: Friends from the castle come out onto the terrace, see Raymonda, and try to revive her.

* * * * *

ACT II - Cour d'Amour


Scene I - March: A courtyard at the castle of Doris. Everyone congratulates Raymonda, but she is worried that Jean has not yet arrived. Trumpets announce special guests ...

Scene II: Abderrakhman arrives and Raymond recognizes him from her dream. Sybille reminds Raymonda of her duty of hospitality.

Scene III (Grad pas d'action): Dramatic adagio in which Abderrakhman tries to woo Raymonda. 4 friends also participate.

Variation I: Henriette or Clemence.

Variation II: Henriette or Clemence (I'm not sure who danced which variation).

Variation III: Bernard or Beranger (this variation is now often used for Jean in Act III).

Variation IV: Raymonda (horn solo).

Coda: all.

Scene mimique: Abderrakhman presents his retinue to Raymonda and a character suite begins.

Entree des jongleurs: 30 men and 30 women. They hit sticks on the ground during the dance.

Danse des garcons arabes (Arab boys): 12 student boys. Balanchine danced this role in 1917.

Entree des Sarrazins: Saracen couple.

Grand pas espagnol: Lead couple and 12 women (this was later changed to 8 couples; the notation was first made for 16 women, then crossed out to change to 8 couples).

Danse Orientale: This was intended as a variation for Raymonda, but from all I can gather, this number was omitted in 1898.

Bacchanal: The coda of the character suite. Everyone participates and at the end Ab tries to adbuct Raymonda.

Scene IV: Jean and King Andrei arrive in the3 nick of time. Brief fighting. The king calms everyone down. Jean and Ab receive swords and prepare to duel.

Le combat: The fight itself, which has three short parts. In the third part, the White Lady appears (along with her musical theme) and Jean kills Ab. Andrei joins the hands of Jean and Raymonda.

Hymne: Everyone is relieved and celebrates.

* * * * *

ACT III - Le Festival des Noces


Le cortege hongrois: Outside at Jean's castle somewhere in France. A procession in which Raymonda and jean are congratulated by wedding guests.

Grand pas hongrois: a Hungarian divertissement in honor of the present of King Andrei II of Hungary. Petipa seems to have re-arranged the order of the dances, but I'll give them in the order in the score. This particular number is a czardas for a lead couple (Preobrazhenskaya and Bekefi) and 20 additional couples.

Dance des enfants: Children's dance for 12 student couples.

[Mazurka]: Petipa added a mazurka, from Glazunov's "Scenes de Ballet", for a lead couple (Marie Petipa and Kchesinsky) and 12 additional couples.

Entree: 8 couples plus Jean and Raymonda.

Pas classique hongrois: addagio for 8 couples, Jean and Raymonda.

Variation I: Female variation (don't know how danced it). Could have been Clemence or Henriette because both neither of the dancers portraying those roles danced in this section of the divert. Preobrezhensakaya was dancing character dances during this act.

Variation II: Female variation (don't know who danced it).

Variation III: Men's pas de quatre for Jean, Bernard, Beranger, plus Alexander Gorsky (!). Quite the line up of dancers!

Variation IV: Raymonda's piano variation.

Coda: All classical participants.

Galop: Everyone.

Apotheose: The apotheosis depicted a tournament. The back of the stage opened to reveal an open square in which a tournament is taking place.


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Very worthwhile, thank you, Doug. Now I want to see it!!!

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Thanks so much. I bought a CD of Raymonda today and I love the music but it didn't come with a synopsis but now I have one. Thanks alot!

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I have a CD of the performance scoreof Glazunov's "Raymonda", played by the Mariinksy Theatre Orch. under the baton of Viktor Fedotov. It has all of the revisions of Drigo from 1898/99. everyone should get it! It is availabe through this site -

This recording is 1 of 2 recordings of the complete score. And further more, it is the only recording of the performance score, conducted properly for ballet dancing and not for the concert hall.

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Thanks, Solor, for mentioning the recordings. The NAXOS recording includes the complete score without the Petipa (Drigo?) revisions. Did Drigo really handle the revisions for the premiere or did Glazunov make those at Petipa's request? I've never read in depth one way or the other. The changes aren't too involved: a couple interpolations from Scenes de Ballet and some added bars before the Arab boys' dance and when Abderrakhman makes an originally unplanned entrance in the first scene. (The Glazunov materialy includes these bars in Glazunov's orchestration, so I assume the composer made at least that change for Petipa.) Also, a couple of cuts in the sprites dance at the end of the vision scene. What am I forgetting?


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Doug - what parts of the ballet are interpolations from 'scenes de ballet' of Glazunov?

I do know that it was indeed Riccardo Drgo that 'slightly' modified the music - mostly adding marks of expression, little stuff like that.

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doug's not likely to toot his own horn, nor to note his fine work on RAYMONDA in chapter and verse, but one of the most comprehensive - most likely THE most comprehensive - rundowns of RAYMONDA as a ballet alongside it's score was published by doug in BALLET REVEIW as follows:

Fullington, Doug.

Title :Raymonda at 100.

Ballet review. New York. v. 26, no. 4 (winter 1998), p. 77-86.

Discussion of the original production of the ballet Raymonda which premiered in 1898 with choreography by Marius Petipa, summary of the plot, and description of several revivals.

Includes bibliography.

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Raymonda's waltz variation in the vision scene (Act I, Scene 2) is from Scenes de Ballet and replaced the third variation (C major) that Glazunov originally composed. The mazurka from Scenes de Ballet was added to Act III.

Solor, I would love to know your source for the information on Drigo's participation in any alterations to the score.

The Harvard Theater Collection has an Imperial-era piano score that includes pencil-marked cuts for the version performed at the Maryinsky in the early years of the 20th century (it appears to go back all the way to the 1898 premiere). This includes some handwritten music, including the intro to the Arab boys' dances, and some piano reductions of single pieces, like the Scenes de Ballet mazurka.

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When I was digging around online a while back for info on a recording of the performance score of the 'Raymonda', I came across a site that talked about the Fedotov recording (the original release {Innov. Music Prod. 1996} now out of print). This particular site is a classical music site dedicated to reviews of new releases of classical discs, etc. One of the discs reviewed (and highlighted as one of the featured recordings of 1996) was Victor Fedotov's recording of Glazunov's 'Raymonda'. In the review the writer talks about how the music has all the trimmings and interpolations of the performance score of 1898. It said that all the changes to the music (like that of 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'Swan Lake' and maybe even the 1st staging of 'The Nutcracker'), were done by Riccardo Drigo. It said that his changes were limited to editing, adding marks of expression, and indicating tempo, etc. Unfortumatly I don't remember what site it was I visited, as I just bumped into it digging around online.

I do know that Drigo conducted the 1st performance of the ballet, and since he was the one who changed things at the behest of Petipa for the ballets of Tchaikovsky, I don't see why he would'nt have done the same with the score of 'Raymonda'. But I dont know for sure. I always assumed that Drigo did any reduired changes. I know that the original score (I have the Naxos release conducted by Anissimov with the Msocow Symphony) and the one recorded by Fedotov (with the Orchestra of the Mariinksy; re-released by the label Classical Records in Moscow) are different in certain sections. All of the music added from 'Scenes de ballet' is included in the recording of Fedotov.

I must purchase this fine book of yours - or is it a book or an article? Info please :) !I did not know that there was an in depth study done of 'Raymonda'! :)

I would like to know, if you can, where exaclty any changes from the original score are

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The Raymonda article was published in the journal Ballet Review, vol. 26, no. 4.

Drigo may well have made some changes of tempi in the conductor's score, but any changes to Raymonda do not approach those made for Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. To my knowledge and based on Imperial-era sources available in the West, very few changes were made at all. Additions of music were handled by Glazunov. The collaboration between Glazunov and Petipa, like that between Tchaikovsky and Petipa, appears to have been very close. However, Glazunov followed Petipa's instructions (available in English translation and also published in the original Russian) nearly to the letter, so fewer changes were made as the production approached its premiere. Other than the two interpolations mentioned(and also the apparent omission of the Act II "Dance Orientale") and a couple of minor cuts or added repeats, the score was essentially played as written.

I suggest getting hold a piano score of Raymonda. It is published in its original version with interpolations, cuts, added intros, etc.). You can compare it to the Fedotov recording. And do you have the NAXOS recording of the complete score?

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Link to post matter of fact last night I compared the two and yes (I have both the Anissimov recording on the label Naxos and the recording of the Mariinksy Orchestra under the baton of Fedotov), there are indeed changes in the music, and very little indeed - and of course the interpolations from 'Scenes de Ballet'. Strangely enough, there are passages in the Naxos/Anissimov recording where I prefer his conducting over Fedotov's (particularly in the Act II Pas d'action of Raymonda and Abderakhman). But, as expected, Fedotov conducts the orchestra wonderfully when they play a classical variation - the right tempi and a slowed ending, just right for a dancer! I did not, however, notice any changes in the Act II Arabian dance as far as a revised beginning goes.

Doug - where can one find your article of "Raymonda" - I would love to read it! Is it available to be read online perhaps? Please let me know :wallbash: !

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The added intro to the Arab boys' dance is on both recordings. The Raymonda article is only available in Ballet Review. It's a quarterly journal to which you might consider subscribing - see Most large universities likely have a set.

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:wink: Thank you Doug for this info. My DS called and said that he was cast in a pas de quatre variation from Raymonda at his Canadian SI. So I am to assume from your description that it is Variation III from Act III. I plan to try to get a CD to listen to the score before seeing the performance. This is his first repertoire ever, so is quite excited and in complete awe of his coaches.

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Best wishes to your son, dancemomCA!

It's a wonderful showcase for boys, with a couple of sequential parts, where each boy does, for example, double tours solo, one after another, and I'm sure the boys will have a great time pushing each other to do better and better.

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Iy Just so happens that I have a recording of "Scene de Ballet" by Glazunov. Who orchestarted the Waltz variation for Raymonda interpolated by Petipa?

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"Scenes de Ballet" was orchestrated by Glazunov from the start. He taught orchestration in Russia well into the Soviet era.

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A belated thanks, Doug, for your summary of scenes in the 1898 Raymonda. I printed it out a while ago, waiting for the chance to re-visit the DVD of the Yuri Grigorovich revision (Bolshoi, 1987, Semenyaka, Mukhamedov and Taranda).

I'm glad I did this. It was very illuminating to compare the original with the revision. Here are a few thoughts:

(1) I'm not one of the big fans of extended mime scenes (rather the opposite, in fact), but the elimination by Grigorovich of almost every bit of mime made it very difficult to "place" Raymonda, her friends, the court, etc., and to follow the story.

(2) Raymonda's famous entrance is obliterated in this version. Jean de Brienne has already been leaping around the stage, when suddenly Raymonda appears at the bottom of a very short flight of stairs. No roses that I could see. No sense of who this woman was or anything special about the occasion. No drama -- and nothing of the joyful girlishness of the original. (This may partly be due to camera angles.)

(3) The decision to have Jean de Brienne appear in Act I, scene i, as Raymonda's boyfriend (I think) BEFORE the vision pas de deux in scene ii made little sense, since the scene i dancing didn't allow for much characterization or show them as being especially romantically enaged with one another . The only hint one had that Jean was going off to war was that he put his helmet back on before striding off. (Great costumes !)

4) The interpolated Act I, scene i, adagio pas de deux -- danced to what? -- was beautiful. But it was not really significantly different from the pas de deux at the end of Act II. After all that has happened, you'd expect some development in R and J's relationship during the course of the ballet.

(5) The Countess is reduced to one of those slightly vestigial royals seen walking around or sitting on big chairs during ballroom scenes. All you can think of is how boring it must be to have such a meaningless, stripped-down role.

6) More seriously, there was no statue of the White Lady; her first appearance in the vision scene was as a white blob floating around the rear of the darkened stage. So little was made of her that I couldn't figure out why she was not eliminated entirely. This figure could not possibly have made sense unless one had read the libretto before the performance.

7) The usual reappearance of the White Lady during the second act duel -- complete with brief reprise of her theme -- was omitted. I imagine that the White Lady is supposed somehow to save or encourage Jean. Instead Raymonda ran across the stage. Why did she do that? Frantic? Cheering him on? Silly and undignified, rather.

On the plus side -- the wonderful dancing by principals, and Grigorovich's ability to move the soloists and corps around that huge Bolshoi stage in a manner that makes the patterns as beautiful, energetic and fascinating as the individual steps.

P.S. I wish I could see Balanchine's Raymonda Variations and Cortege Hongrois again to make a comparison. Question: did Balanchine ever do a full-length Raymonda in his early days?

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as doug may or may not remark, balanchine staged RAYMONDA as follows:

Raymonda : Three-act version. Chor: George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova after Marius Petipa; mus: Alexander Glazunov; scen & cos: Alexandre Benois. First perf: New York, City Center, Mar 12, 1946, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo

doug also published a fine interview, again in BALLET REVIEW w/ danilova about this very staging:

Fullington, Doug.

Title :Alexandra Danilova on Raymonda.

Ballet review. New York. v. 26, no. 4 (winter 1998), p. 72-76. ill.

Conversation with Alexandra Danilova about dancing in the ballet Raymonda and about various versions of the ballet.

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Adding to rg, Balanchine's 1946 Raymonda was a 3/4-length version, that didn't last long in the rep before being pared down to Act III only. Frederic Franklin has recently revived some variations from that staging for the Balanchine Foundation. Pas de Dix (1955) is essentially Act II of the version, thought not a carbon copy. Raymonda Variations (1961) is new choreography with just one or two very minor Petipa quotes. Cortege Hongrois (1973) includes more Petipa quotes and includes much of Raymonda Act III, as well as numbers from Acts I & II. I think Cortege is underrated.

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Fernand Nault staged a pretty faithful version of the last act for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.

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I did a very careful comparison of the 2 recordings of Victor Fedotov with the Kirov Orchestra (of what I thought (from a review of it online) was the 1898 performance score) and the recording of Anisimov with the Moscow Symphony (the complete score of Glazunov).

With the help of Roland John Wiley's book "Century of Russian Ballet (BRAVO MR WILEY! what a wonderful piece of work), and Doug's post of the 1898 Raymonda (very insightful, BRAVO TO YOU TOO!), I found that the Fedotov recording is not of the 1898 premiere at all. The Fedotov recording had many scenes omitted from Act I, for example the opening scenes in Act I with the Countess Sybill were missing. The scene following Raymonda reading the letter from Jean de Brienne with the Glazunov added Entrance of Abderakhman was in place though. The scene following the White Lady's vision of Abderakhamn was ommited, going straight into the final scene. The children's dance from act III, used in modern times as a variation for Jean de Brienne is completly omitted as well. All of the "Scenes de Ballet" interpooations are intact. (I'd rather have a few incedental scenes missing than not have the very rarely recorded Glazunov modifications done to the score at Petipa's request)

I came to the conclusion, though I have never seen it, that the recording of Fedotov is not of the premiere of 1898 but of the Sergeyev version (the date I am not sure of) used by the Kirov Today, just like his recording of Sleeping Beauty - which is of the Sergeyev version. Not sure though.

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Speaking specifically about tempi, I find that the Anisimov version is very bad in one of the most crucial parts of the ballet, which is Raymonda's 3rd act variation: the start is not so bad, though too quick in my view, but it is the final diagonal that I dislike the most, because it so slows down that the effect is totally lost. I have tried dancing to it, and just could not.

Also, as it was said earlier in this thread, Raymonda's variation in the "Tableau de Reve" scene is not the one as danced by the Bolshoi (and the one I was taught, by the way). It seems that everything is wonderful excepting Raymonda's solos!!

I wonder if anyone agrees with me?

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Speaking specifically about tempi, I find that the Anisimov version is very bad in one of the most crucial parts of the ballet, which is Raymonda's 3rd act variation:  the start is not so bad, though too quick in my view, but it is the final diagonal that I dislike the most, because it so slows down that the effect is totally lost.  I have tried dancing to it, and just could not. 

Also, as it was said earlier in this thread, Raymonda's variation in the "Tableau de Reve" scene is not the one as danced by the Bolshoi (and the one I was taught, by the way).  It seems that everything is wonderful excepting Raymonda's solos!!

I wonder if anyone agrees with me?

Indeed I do! I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. I find this problem with just about every recording of ballet music that is out there.

As far as the variations of Raymonda go in the Anisimov recording, indeed they are at totally improper tempos. The variatioin Anisimov recorded for the vision scene is the original solo Glazunov composed for the ballet, but at Petipa's request was ommited in favor of the "Scenes de Ballet" waltz, which was subsequently re-orchestrated for the 1898 produstion by Glazunov for a solo violin and is still performed today in the vision scene by not only the Bolshoi but everyone else.

As far as the solo for Raymonda in the Act II Pas d'action with Abderakhman is conducted entirly to fast, as well as the Grand Pas Hongrois variation to solo piano for Raymonda in the 3rd Act. This is a problem that is found in just about every recording of the great classics.

Silvy - You should get Fedotov's recording of Raymonda, it is of the Soviet version and conducted very well (especially the variations). It is out-of-print, but has been re-released though ( ). Its kind of a pain to get a hold, but worth it. You can also get his recording of the 1895 "Swan Lake" ( ).

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Solor , thanks so much for the valuable information. Fedotov is by far my most preferred conductor for ballet. I have never heard his "Raymonda", though, as I have never seen a Raymonda danced by the Maryinsky - hope some day this is available on DVD or video.

I will see what I can do with the recording (being in Uruguay, everythiong is a little more difficult for us dancers, from pointe shoes, tights to music itself)

Thank you again


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I don't know if it's cricket to refer to another ballet website, but while I was watching the DVD of the Bolshoi/Grigoriev/Semenyaka production, and running back and forth to the computer to try and compare their scenario with the one/s posted in this thread, my husband came up with a site that has a very through background of the ballet and early productions, including illustrations of programmes, etc.

The site is, and the thread on Raymonda is called "The Petipa code or Searching for Raymonda." There are several LONG pages in this thread, parts I through V. The first page can be found here.

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