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The Firebird


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#1 Guest_Tibbit_*

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Posted 09 August 2002 - 12:22 PM

I see that some time next year the PAB will be performing The Firebird.
Could someone tell me the basic storyline (if there is one) of The Firebird? The P A Ballet website doesn't really give any information beyond the fact that it is based on folklore.
Also if there is a story line, does it have a happy ending? You don't have to tell me the ending just if it is happy or not. It sounds silly, but my husband hates sad endings, so I will invite some one else along if it happens to have a sad ending, I could take him to Cinderella instead. :(
I hope that my finances will be in better order by time The Firebird and Cinderella come around. They should be. :( I think I can figure out the Cinderella story line. :)
Thanks.

#2 dirac

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Posted 09 August 2002 - 12:58 PM

The story varies according to production, but this is a general outline of the basics, from memory, so corrections are welcome:


The Firebird is indeed an old Russian folk tale. Prince Ivan (is he also the tsarevich? can't recall), captures a bird with fiery red plumage during a hunt. The Firebird talks Ivan out of putting her in a cage in the kitchen by giving Ivan a magic feather. Later, Ivan chances upon a magical castle chock full of beautiful princesses. They tell Ivan of the wicked Kastchei in the castle who turns passing visitors into stone, for fun. Ivan, armed with his feather, confronts Kastchei. The magic feather shields him from harm, and the Firebird appears. Kastchei and his bad guys are defeated, and the ballet ends with Ivan winning the hand of a beautiful princess. So it's a pretty happy ending, and I think you can take your husband without fear. I almost forgot -- the stone people are released from their spell, too.

#3 rg

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Posted 09 August 2002 - 08:03 PM

FIREBIRD is essentially a conflation of two russian folk tales. one as given here by dirac, of the 'firebird' who as balanchine liked to stress was more a bird of 'light' = radiant lightness, russian speakers here will know the word ZHAR, which isn't exactly translatable as 'fire' (balanchine emphasized this for one version of his staging when he had karinska make a golden costume for kyra nichols when she took on the role. the second tale interwoven here is that of kastchei the immortal, a skeletonlike figure who cannot be destroyed unless someone finds and destroys his soul, which it turns out is kept in a secret casket in the form of an egg (all of which was enacted in pantomime in fokine's version.) did PA Ballet annouce whose staging it was performing?
in any case no traditional staging i know of has an unhappy ending, most end w/ the wedding of the tsarevich and his princess, kastchei vanquished and the firebird flown.

#4 Tessa

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Posted 10 August 2002 - 01:03 PM

They are staging James Kudelka's version, which I think has been performed also by Houston Ballet.

#5 Guest_Tibbit_*

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Posted 16 August 2002 - 10:36 AM

Thank you all. It sounds like a wonderful story to be told through ballet. Also sounds like a great, happy ending. I will definitely hope I will get to go and that I can convince hubby to go too.
Thanks again. :D


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