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"Satanella" and "Le Talisman" question

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I just purchased Volumes 1 - 4 of the Nina Ananiashvili and Int'l stars videos and I was delighted to see that there were 2 Petipa pas de deux that I had only heard of but never seen! It was "Satanella" and "Le Talisman". I was wondering if anybody has any info on these works....Im quoite curious as there are slim pickings on the web.


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it's hard for a non-russian/soviet ballet scholar without a clear performance history of these works to discern just whose choreographic hand is at hand in these late 20th c. perfs. but here are a few factual notations from the nyplibrary for the perf. arts at linc.cent. note that beaumont's COMPLETE BOOK OF BALLETS has some background on the 19th century originals, but as i say, who knows how much of any of these roots were still flowering when soviet russian ballet put these duets back on stage. in any case, fyi:

Satanella; or Metamorphoses (Choreographic work : Taglioni, P)

Original title: Les métamorphoses. Chor & lib: Paul Taglioni; mus: Peter Ludwig Hertel and Cesare Pugni. First perf: London, Her Majesty's Theatre, Mar 12, 1850.//Perf: Berlin, Königliche Theater, 1852, under title: Satanella; oder Metamorphosen; scen: Gropius.

Beaumont. Complete book of ballets. p 309.

Diable amoureux (Choreographic work : Petipa, J and M after Mazilier)

Original title: Satanilla; ili Liubov' i ad. Chor: Jean and Marius Petipa; mus: François Benoist and Henri Reber; lib: Saint-Georges and Mazilier. First perf: St. Petersburg, Bolshoi Theater, Feb 10, 1848 (O.S.)//Perf: Moscow, Jan 19, 1849 (O.S.)//Revived: St. Petersburg, Oct 18, 1866 (O.S.).

Talisman (Choreographic work : Petipa, M)

Chor: Marius Petipa; mus: Riccardo Drigo; lib: K. A. Tarnovsky and Petipa after the fairy play La fille en l'air; scen: Henrykh Levot, Matvei Shishkov and Mikhail Bocharov; cos: Evgenii Ponomarev. First perf: St. Petersburg, Maryinsky Theater, Jan 25, 1889 (O.S.)

Talisman (Choreographic work : Legat, Nikolai)

Chor: Nikolai Legat; mus: R. Drigo; scen: Orest Allegri; cos: Aleksandr Shervashidze. First perf: St. Petersburg, Maryinsky Theater, Nov 29, 1909.

Ballet scenarios. The talisman.

Beaumont. Complete book of ballets [1956] p 524.

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I own a video called "The Children of Theater Street", which depicts life at the Vaganova Choreographic Institute during the Soviet era, and which is narrated by Princess Grace of Monaco. In this video the pas de deux from "Satanella" is danced by a graduating student (Vorontsova). My question is:

1) whose is the music of that pas de deux? Because I also own a class cd in which the music of the pas de deux says is by Pugni. However, if I have not understood incorrectly, by rg's notes above, the music shud be by someone else

2) whose choreography is that pas de deux? and the variations? Because, again, I understood it to be by Petipa, but I am now confused by rg's notes.

just curious again



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the notes i posted are from the linc.cent.lib. for the perf. arts in nyc.

they list the library's factual information on these ballets in their original appearances. they do not reflect any of the soviet additions or reworkings since the time of the premiere performances.

as we know from numerous examples, the russians and the soviets were well known to add pas de deux (or other dances) from one historic ballet to another. the recent breakdown of dances from maryinsky historians about the recent 'historic' reconstruction of LA BAYADERE is a good example of this kind of thing, as the information noted what dances and/or music was borrowed over the years and put into BAYADERE after Petipa's time.

though CDs can be off in their info too, it is perfectly possible that this SATANELLA duet is set to music by pugni that was incorporated somewhere along the way since the 1866 revised version, about which i have no specific information.

very often, especially for pas de deux like the one in THE CHILDREN OF THEATER STREET, the current ballet master of the company, or current head of the school, would redo the choreography for showing off special pupils. if the 'origin' of this duet came from the era when vaganova was heading the leningrad academy, it's likely that the choreography is in some measure the work of her hand.

maybe jeannie knows some further facts about the history of this particular pas de deux and/or its music.

so, i'm afraid the answer from my point of view right now is that i have no firm evidence to identify either the composer of this SATANELLA pas de deux or the choreographer of the dance.

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well let's not be overly hard on the soviets. the tradition at work here predates the soviet era:

petipa himself re-did coralli/perrot's GISELLE to suit himself and his dancers.

the tradition was that when a new balletmaster was in place he could more or less restage the 'old ballets' to suit himself and to show off the dancers under his wing.

note that the TALISMAN which nijinsky etc. danced in the early 1900s was redone by n.legat, pre-soviet times.

and alexander gorsky did much restaging as well, including the swan maiden choreography that sometimes gets called ivanov's in act 1, scene 2 of numerous SWAN LAKEs.

musically minded friends of mine w/ great 'ears' can often make very educated guesses as to the composer of a certain highlight number. if the dates of these musical compositions could be discerned then the identification of pugni, minkus, or drigo could be made w/ some certainty as these 'house composers' were called on to work up additional numbers in their compacity as theater employees. (one particular friend of mine, now alas no longer alive, was great at listening to say 'le corsaire' complete. we'd listen to a CD on the phone together and she'd say: listen, doesn't that sound like something in 'giselle'? so that's gotta be adam, or 'doesn't that sound like 'harlequinade' that must be drigo, etc. etc.)

in the end much of this can be found out w/ some certainty but one would need to be in the russian archives, reading russian and reading music, etc. etc.

and take some solace in the fact that we know more and more as the years go by, and as the russian archives get read and the evidence gets passed along to us here.

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Of course - I get your point, rg. What Petipa was doing then is what ballet masters are still doing today - i mean, rearranging the works for their dancers.

I see also what you point out about people with "educated ears". i do not claim to be one of them myself, but I do recall having been able to spot sections in Corsaire as done by Adam (that is the one composer in Corsaire I am most able to identify - the others still confuse me a bit).

Also, as I pointed out in another post, I am puzzled about Gamzatti's variation in Bayadere, because there is something which does not quite sound as totally Minkus to me. Maybe it is only the orchestration, but I cannot tell for sure.

thanks for your most informative post!!!!


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