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Snow Maiden

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The NYPL cat. has listings such as these:

Snow maiden:  Chor: Vladimir Burmeister; mus: Petr Il'ich Chaikovskii (Snow maiden; first & second movements from Symphony no. 1 in G minor; slow movement from Piano sonata in G, op. 37); lib: after the Russian fairy tale; scen & cos: Yuri Piminov & Gennady Epishin. First perf: Italy: Florence, Teatro Comunale, June 20, 1961 (Florence May Festival), Festival Ballet of London.//First English perf: London, Festival Hall, July 17, 1961, Festival Ballet; lighting: Benn Toff.

Snow maiden:  Co-production of Houston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Chor.: Ben Stevenson; mus.: Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, arr. by John Lanchbery; scen. & cos.: Desmond Heeley; lighting: Duane Schuler. First perf.: New York, Metropolitan Opera House, June 5, 1998, American Ballet Theatre.

Snow maiden     Chor: Michael Maule; mus: Peter Tchaikovsky. Perf: 1962?


Opera ballet. The snow maiden. Ref. Notes:   The snow maiden (Opera)--for works about dancing in the opera see: Snegurochka (Opera)

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The Stanislavsky Ballet brought The Snow Maiden to London in 2001, to the Royal Festival Hall, when that was still regularly used for ballet at Christmas. I remember taking children along to it.  To my surprise there is still the odd review available online. 


I remember thinking that it was pleasant to have a different choice for a Christmas work. 


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RG and Lynette, thank you for your help.  I remembered reading years ago that Tchaikovsky wrote music for a section of ballet within a non-ballet “The Snow Maiden,” a ballet within an opera or play, but I couldn’t find that again.  Recently I found that ABT has “The Snow Maiden” ballet with music by Tchaikovsky, since I have always read that Tchaikovsky did only three full length ballets this confused me.  It now appears from what you both wrote and from the link Lynette provided that the ballet “The Snow Maiden” was choreographed in 1961, with Tchaikovsky’s music and according to the article linked to it included music from the play “The Snow Maiden.”  Could this be considered Tchaikovsky’s fourth ballet?  Now I’m going to try and find out more about Aleander Ostrovsky’s Play “The Snow Maiden” and in particular any ballet parts with music by Tchaikovsky.


Thank you both, Tom,

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This information is from a website entitled “Kostroma: The home of Russia’s Snegurochka, the snow maiden”: https://www.rbth.com/travel/2014/11/12/kostroma_the_home_of_russias_snegurochka.


In the article it is stated that “Ostrovsky finished the play “The Snow Maiden” in 1873 (featuring music composed by Tchaikovsky), which was later adapted into a four-act opera by composer Rimsky-Korsakov premiering in St. Petersburg in 1882.  A ballet version was also staged in 1878.”  Since, this ballet was staged after the play, but before the opera indicates the possibility that the ballet contained music by Tchaikovsky used in the play.


This link http://en.tchaikovsky-research.net/pages/The_Snow_Maiden gives the movements of the 1873 piece.  It shows “2. Dances and Chorus of Birds,” “12. Round Dance,” “13. Dance of the Tumblers” and “17b. Spring’s Monologue, Chorus and Dances, so there are dancing as well as singing and speaking.  Also at that link it is stated that “At the beginning of 1873 . . . all three companies – drama, opera and ballet – performed on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre.  The management committee of the Moscow Imperial Theatres . . . decided to make the most of this opportunity to unite for a single fairy-tale production.”   So it appears that Tchaikovsky wrote ballet music for “The Snow Maiden” and it is possible that the ballet staged in1878 could be Tchaikovsky’s fourth ballet.


RG thank you for the picture.



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A large portion of the Tchaikovsky incidental music for the The Snow Maiden "Snegurochka":

Tchaikovsky - The Snow Maiden, Op. 12 - Dance of the Tumblers

VS the Rimsky-Korsakov "suite" version of his opera The Snow Maiden:





Edited by pherank
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