LES SYLPHIDES


Choreography by Michel Fokine
Music by Frédéric Chopin, orchestrated by Benjamin Britten
Costumes by Lucinda Ballard
Scenery by Alexandre Benois
Lighting by Nananne Porcher

Timing: 31:00

Les Sylphides, a one-act romantic reverie, is a plotless work in which a poet dances with ghostly sylphs in a forest. The corps de ballet is on stage almost throughout, used in decorative groups when not actually dancing. The ballet is in the repertory of nearly every company in the world.

The music for Les Sylphides, orchestrated by Roy Douglas, is as follows: Prelude in A Flat Major; Nocturne in A Flat Major, Op. 32, No. 2; Valse in G Flat Major, Op. 70, No. 1; Mazurka in D Major, Op. 33, No. 2; Mazurka in C Major, Op. 67, No. 3; Prelude in A Major, Op. 28, No. 7; Valse in C sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2 and Grand Valse Brillante in E Flat Major, Op. 18.

For the 2013 revival, American Ballet Theatre used the orchestration by Benjamin Britten, commissioned for ABT in 1941 and, up until recently, was thought to be lost.

Les Sylphides, under the title Reverie Romantique: Ballet sur la musique de Chopin, was given its first performance at the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg on March 8, 1908, with Olga Preobrajenska, Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinsky.

The ballet was staged for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in the form we know today and premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris on June 2, 1909. Les Sylphides was danced at its first performance by Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Vaslav Nijinsky and Alexandra Baldina.

Les Sylphides was given its United States premiere by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes at the Century Theatre, New York on January 20, 1916, danced by Lydia Lopoukhova, Lubov Tchernicheva, Xenia Maclezova and Adolph Bolm.

Les Sylphides was given its Ballet Theatre premiere at the Center Theatre, New York on January 11, 1940, danced by Karen Conrad, Nina Stroganova, Lucia Chase and William Dollar.

Performances given by the kind permission of the Fokine Estate
Copyright the Fokine Estate Archive: 1909

Reconstruction of the orchestration of the Mazurka in C Major, Op. 67, No. 3 by Colin Matthews

Previous Notes:

Choreography by Michel Fokine
Music by Frederic Chopin
Scenery by Augustus Vincent Tack*
Costumes by Lucinda Ballard
Lighting by Jean Rosenthal, later Nananne Porcher, then David K. H. Elliot
*Later by Eugene Dunkel after Jean Corot and, currently, credited to Alexandre Benois


World Premiere: Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, 6/2/09
Orchestrated by Sergei Taneyev, Anatole Liadov, Alexander Glazunov, Nicholas Tcherepnine, Igor Stravinsky
Scenery and costumes by Alexandre Benois
Original Cast: Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Alexandra Baldina, Vaslav Nijinsky
ABT Premiere: The Center Theatre, New York, 1/11/40
Cast: Karen Conrad, Nina Stroganova, Lucia Chase, William Dollar


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