On opening night, with first-date-style jitters, Cunningham watched his ballet unfold onstage. A guest, Madame Prokofiev, the widow of the Russian composer, was seated next to him. "Madame sat, stone-faced. She didn't have any reaction," Cunningham said. "She whispered about how her husband debuted the ballet and all the things he did with the corps de ballet and the fairies, and I was sinking into my chair."
Then, Madame Prokofiev lit the spark. "For all of that, you should be very proud of your achievement," she said to Cunningham.