THE FIREBIRD
L'OISEAU DE FEU

PREMIERE
PARIS, 25 JUNE 1910

SCENERY & COSTUMES

ALEKSANDR GOLOVIN AND LÉON BAKST

MUSIC
IGOR STRAVINSKY

CHOREOGRAPHY
MICHEL FOKINE


PREMIERE
LONDON, 25 NOVEMBER 1926

SCENERY & COSTUMES

NATALIA GONCHAROVA

MUSIC
IGOR STRAVINSKY

CHOREOGRAPHY
MICHEL FOKINE

The Firebird became one of the most regularly performed ballets in the repertoire of the Russian Ballet and was always praised for its marvellous synthesis of music, choreography and scenery. The specially commissioned score by the Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, was the first work by this composer to be heard outside Russia. A French critic stated at the time - 'as one listens, there issues forth the very sound of the wizard shrieking, of swarming sorcerers and gnomes running amok'.

The ballet was set in an overgrown garden at the base of the wicked Koshchei's palace. The extraordinary decor was painted in the Symbolist tradition with minute jewel-like patterns and soft colours merging together, creating the illusion of a fantastic kingdom.

The story is based on good and evil. The wicked Koshchei has captured the beautiful Tsarevna who is adored and loved by Prince Ivan Tsarevich. To release her the Prince calls on the help of the Firebird, who had given him one of her magical feathers in return for her freedom.