Raymonda (Russian: Раймонда) is a ballet in three acts, four scenes with an apotheosis, choreographed by Marius Petipa to music by Alexander Glazunov, his Opus 57. First presented by the Imperial Ballet at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre on 19 January [O.S. 7 January] 1898 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The ballet was created especially for the benefit performance of the Italian ballerina Pierina Legnani, who created the title role. Among the ballet's most celebrated passages is the Pas classique hongrois (a.k.a. Raymonda Pas de dix) from the third act, which is often performed independently.
Act I of the original production of Raymonda on the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. In the center is Pierina Legnani, creator of the title role.
|Libretto||Countess Lidiya Pashkova|
|Premiere||19 January [O.S. 7 January] 1898|
Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg, Russia
|Original ballet company||Imperial Ballet|
|Design||O. Allegri, K. Ivanov, Pyotr Lambin|
Today Raymonda is performed by many ballet companies throughout the world with choreography that is derived primarily from the Kirov Ballet's 1948 revival as staged by Konstantin Sergeyev. Sergeyev greatly altered, and in some cases changed entirely, Marius Petipa's choreography, particularly in the dances for the corps de ballet. The choreography as revised by Sergeyev remains the traditional text for most of the world's productions of Raymonda, among them Rudolf Nureyev's version for the Paris Opéra Ballet and Anna-Marie Homes's version for American Ballet Theatre, respectively.
The choreography and mise-en-scène of the Imperial Ballet's original production of Raymonda as staged in 1898 was recorded in the method of for performances starring the renowned Russian ballerina Olga Preobrajenskaya in the title role. Today, this notation is part of Harvard University's Sergeyev Collection. In 2011 Sergei Vikharev utilized this notation to stage an almost totally complete reconstruction of the original 1898 production of Raymonda for the Teatro alla Scala.
Raymonda was the creation of Marius Petipa (the renowned Maître de Ballet to the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres), the composer Alexander Glazunov, the director of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres Ivan Vsevolozhsky, and the author and columnist Countess Lidiya Pashkova.
St. Petersburg Premiere (World Premiere)
- 1908, Moscow, Bolshoy Theatre, ballet master Gorsky, conductor Arends, décor by Konstantin Korovin
Roles and original cast
|Role||St. Petersburg 1898||Moscow 1900||Moscow 1908|
|Raymonda||Pierina Legnani||Adelaide Giuri||Yekaterina Geltser|
|Jean de Brienne||Sergey Legat||Mikhail Mordkin||Vasiliy Tikhomirov|
|Abderakhman||Pavel Gerdt||M. Shchipachov|
|Countess Sybille||Giuseppina Cecchetti|
The full-length Raymonda has been revived many times throughout its performance history, the most noted productions being staged by Mikhail Fokine for the Ballets Russes (1909); Anna Pavlova for her touring company (1914); George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova for the Ballet Russe de Monte-Carlo (1946); Konstantin Sergeyev for the Kirov Ballet (1948); Rudolf Nureyev for American Ballet Theatre (1975) and for the Paris Opera Ballet (1983); Yuri Grigorovich for the Bolshoi Ballet (1984); Anna-Marie Holmes (in a 2-act reduction) for the Finnish National Ballet (2004), a version which was then staged for American Ballet Theatre (2004) and the Dutch National Ballet (2005).
There have been many productions around the world of only extracts from the full-length Raymonda, for the most part taken from the Grand Pas Classique hongrois from the third act, which is considered to be among Marius Petipa's supreme masterpieces. The most noted of these productions have been staged by George Balanchine for the New York City Ballet (1955, 1961, 1973); Rudolf Nureyev for the Royal Ballet Touring Company (1964); and Mikhail Baryshnikov for American Ballet Theatre (1980, 1987).
In 2005 the Australian Ballet Company performed a modern version of Raymonda set in the 1950s, where Raymonda is a Hollywood star who has filmed her last film before marrying a European prince. It was choreographed by Stephen Baynes and bears no resemblance to the original ballet.
Scene 1: Raymonda's feast
At the castle of Doris, preparations are under way for the celebrations of the young countess Raymonda’s name day. Countess Sybille, her aunt, chides those who are present, including Raymonda's two friends Henrietta and Clémence, and the two troubadours Béranger and Bernard, for their idleness and their passion for dancing, telling them of the legendary White Lady, the protector of the castle, who warns the Doris household every time one of its members is in danger and casts punishment on those who do not fulfil their duties. The young people laugh at the countess’s superstitions and continue to celebrate. The seneschal of the Doris castle announces the arrival of a messenger, sent by Raymonda's fiancé, the noble crusader knight, Jean de Brienne, bearing a letter for his beloved. Raymonda rejoices when she reads that King Andrew II of Hungary, for whom Jean de Brienne has fought, is returning home in triumph and Jean de Brienne will arrive at the Doris castle the next day for their wedding. Suddenly, the celebrations are interrupted when the seneschal announces the arrival of an uninvited Saracen knight, Abderakhman and his entourage, who have stopped at the castle seeking shelter for the night. Captivated by Raymonda's beauty, Abderakhman falls in love with her at once and resolves to do anything to win her. The party lasts late into the night and, left alone and exhausted by the day, Raymonda lies down on a couch and falls asleep. As she sleeps, she begins to dream that the White Lady appears illuminated by the moonlight and, with an imperious gesture, orders Raymonda to follow her.
Scene 2: The Visions
The White Lady, without making a sound, advances along the terrace. Raymonda follows her in a state of unconsciousness. At a signal from the White Lady, the garden is wrapped in mist. A moment later, the mist vanishes and Jean de Brienne appears. Overjoyed, Raymonda runs into his arms and they are surrounded by glory, knights and celestial maidens. The garden is illuminated by a fantastic light and Raymonda expresses her joy to the White Lady, who interrupts her enthusiasm with a vision of what awaits her. Raymonda wants to return to her fiancé, but instead, she finds Abderakhman, who has taken Jean de Brienne's place. Abderakhman declares his passionate love for her, but Raymonda, though confused and upset, is quick to reject him. Imps and elves appear from everywhere surrounding Raymonda, who begs the White Lady to save her and Abderakhman tries to take Raymonda by force. Raymonda cries out and falls to the ground in a faint. The frightful vision disappears along with the White Lady.
The Courtyard of the Castle
The feast in honour of Jean de Brienne's arrival is taking place. Raymonda welcomes her guests, but cannot hide her uneasiness caused by Jean de Brienne’s delay. Abderakhman approaches her repeatedly and reveals his passion for her, but remembering the warnings of the White Lady, Raymonda rejects him with contempt. Abderakhman becomes even more insistent and realises the only way to possess Raymonda is by force. He calls his slaves to dance for her, after which he summons his cup bearers and they pour a potion into everyone’s cup, causing all the guests to become drunk. Seizing his chance, Abderakhman grabs Raymonda in an attempt to abduct her, but luckily Jean de Brienne arrives just in time, accompanied by King Andrew II and his knights. Jean de Brienne saves Raymonda from the hands of the Saracens and tries to seize Abderakhman. The King commands the two rivals to put an end to the matter in a duel, during which the White Lady appears on the castle tower. Abderakhman is dazed and dies, slain by Jean de Brienne's sword. Raymonda joyfully embraces her fiancé and the two reaffirm their love as the King joins their hands.
Raymonda and Jean de Brienne are finally married and King Andrew II of Hungary gives the newly wedded couple his blessing. In his honour, everyone at court is dressed in Hungarian fashion and perform a range of Hungarian-style dances, ending in an Apotheosis where everyone comes together in a knightly tournament.
Résumé of scenes and dances
Taken from the original theatre program of 1898 and the original published score.
Act I (scene 1) — La fête de Raymonde
- № 01 Introduction
- № 02 Jeux et danses —
- —a Jeux
- —b. La traditrice
- № 03 Entrée de Raymonde
- № 04 Scène
- interpolation: Entrée d'Abdéràme
- № 05 Entrée des vassals et des esclaves
- № 06 Pas d'ensemble —
- —a. Valse provençale
- —b. Pizzicato–Variation de Raymonde (Mlle. Legnani)
- —c. Coda (reprise de la valse)
- № 07 Départ des invitées
- № 08 La romanesque
- № 09 "Une fantaisie"–Variation de Raymonde (Mlle. Legnani)
- № 10 Clémence joue du luth
- № 11 L'apparition de la Dame Blanche
- № 12 Entr'acte symphonique
Act I (scene 2) — Visions
- № 13 Grand scène du rêve
- № 14 Grand Pas d'action —
- —a. Grand adage
- —b. Valse fantastique
- —c. Variation (Mlle. Rhykliakova)
- —d. Variation (Mlle. Geltzer)
- —e. Variation de Raymonde (cut by Petipa from the original production)
- —interpolation: Variation pour Mlle. Legnani (arranged by Glazunov from the Valse of his 1894 Scènes de Ballet, op. 52)
- f. Grand coda
- № 16 Scène dramatique
- № 17 Ronde des follets et des farfadets
Act I (scene 3) — L'aurore
- № 18 Scène finale
Act II — Cour d'amour
- № 19 Ouverture
- № 20 Marche
- № 21 Entrée d'Abdéràme
- № 22 Pas d'action —
- —a. Grand adage
- —b. Variation d'Henriette (Mlle. Preobrajenskaya)
- —c. Variation de Clémence (Mlle. Kulichevskaya)
- —d. Variation de Béranger (Mons. Legat)
- —e. Variation de Raymonde (Mlle. Legnani)
- —f. Grand coda
- № 23 Scène
- Grand divertissement —
- —no.24 Pas des esclaves sarrasins
- —no.25 Pas des mariscos
- —no.26 Danse sarrasine
- —no.27 Pandéros
- —no.28 Les échansons (originally conceived by Petipa as a Danse orientale, being a variation for Pierina Legnani)
- —no.29 Bacchanale
- № 30 L'arrivée de Jean de Brienne et de Roi André II
- № 31 Le combat et dénouement
- № 32 Finale—Hymne
Act III — Le festival des noces
- № 33 Entr'acte
- № 34 Grand cortège hongrois
- № 35 Rapsodie
- № 36 Palotás
- interpolation: Mazurka (Insertion from Glazunov's 1894 Scènes de Ballet, op. 52)
- № 37 Pas classique hongrois —
- —a. Entrée
- —b. Grand adage
- —c. Variation (Mlle. Johanssen)
- —d. Variation (cut by Petipa from the original production)
- —e. Variation pour quatre danseurs (Messrs. Legat II, Kyaksht, Legat III & Gorsky)
- —f. Variation de Raymonde (Mlle. Legnani)
- —interpolation: Variation (interpolation by Konstantin Sergeyev for his performance as Jean de Brienne, 1948. Originally the Variation de Béranger from the Pas d'action of Act II)
- —g. Grand coda
- № 38 Galop générale
- № 39 Apothéose – Tourney
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