PETRUSHKA
PETROUCHKA

PREMIERE
PARIS, 13 JUNE 1911

SCENERY & COSTUMES

ALEXANDRE BENOIS

MUSIC
IGOR STRAVINSKY

CHOREOGRAPHY
MICHEL FOKINE

Petrushka, which premiered in 1911, was the ballet which made Alexandre Benois famous as a designer. The tragic tale of the love sick puppet was the most often revived of all Serge Diaghilev's ballets. The decor of the St Petersburg fairground complemented both the unusual choreography of Michel Fokine and the discordant sounds and rhythms of Igor Stravinsky's music. Vaslav Nijinsky's performance as Petrushka was extraordinary. His movements were jerky and awkward, conveying the torture of imprisoned emotions within the body of a puppet.

The story is deceptively simple with the role of Petrushka symbolising the Russian soul and its immortality.
The ballet is set in Admiralty Square, St Petersburg, during a fair in 1830. An old showman with a puppet theatre brings three dolls to life: Petrushka, a Moor and a Ballerina. Petrushka falls in love with the Ballerina, but she prefers the Moor, who eventually kills Petrushka. The Moor is a metaphor for the mindless world, indifferent to the sufferings of the human soul.