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Fokine's Firebird

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Has this been lost? Or is the Grigoriev version thought to have preserved the essence of it? Does the Royal Ballet still dance it? Anyone else?

Balanchine must have seen it many times. Is his own Firebird, either the original or the modified version, thought to reflect in any degree his memories of Fokine's work?


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The Royal did it a few years ago, Ken, and it's available on video (DVD?) RG will know the title; it's one of the Royal Ballet tapes, and it's with Fonteyn and Somes, with Ashton as the Kotschei.

I hope someone else can speak to the comparison. I haven't analyzed either ballet, so I can't compare.

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Grigoriev's version reflects a state of the Fokine production. Fokine apparently worked it over a couple of times, and notes for it preserved by his son, Vitale, reflect a late version of the work. There is much distinctive about the work for the Firebird, especially in her port de bras. Both the Royal's staging and the first Balanchine version had many similar odd port de bras, especially in the pas de deux, and in the present NYCB version, much of this remains. I do not know whether this work is recoverable by the Royal from its former cast members or recording media.

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the RB video is called "The film of the Royal Ballet"

1960 - Colour

produced and directed by paul czinner. it has lac act 2, firebird and ondine.

firebird: fonteyn, ivan, michael somes; tsarevna, rosemary lindsay (who?!); kostchei, franklin white (likewise...).

this was originally a film (not video).

this firebird is fairly regularly trotted out by RB.

firebird, i believe, is also one of those fokine works which isabella fokine staged a production of...can look this up if you need me to...

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The latest Royal Ballet production was shown on TV with Les Noce (Agon was on the program but was not allowed to be taped). It is on a new DVD with Leanne Benjamin in the lead. It is available in PAL and North American formate at dancebooks.co.uk.

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That's it, just those two ballets. Supposedly, the Balanchine Trust didn't want Agon recorded that time (that was the third ballet on the triple bill at the time), so it is not on the DVD. Also at Dance Books is, in PAL DVD only, Ananiashvili in Firebird, which, I can't remember, but had input from Isabel fokine, I think. Not sure on that one.

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