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Added by Venice on 6 Dec 2014 08:05
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The most famous ballets.

Coppélia

Music - Léo Delibes
Libretto - Charles Nuitter
Choreography-Arthur Saint-Léon

The ballet is about a girl named Coppelia who sits on her balcony all day reading, speaking to no one. A boy named Franz falls deeply in love with her and wants to marry her, even though he is already engaged. His fiance, Swanhilda, sees Franz throwing kisses at Coppelia. Swanhilda soon learns that Coppelia is actually a doll that belongs to Doctor Coppelius, the mad scientist. She decides to impersonate the doll, in order to win the love of Franz. Chaos ensues, but all is soon forgiven. Swanhilda and Franz make up and get married. The marriage is celebrated with several festive dances.
La Sylphide

Libretto: Adolphe Nourrit story by Charles Nodier Trilby ou le Lutin d'Argail
Music: Jean Schneitzhöffer
Choreography: Filippo Taglioni

On the morning of his wedding day, a Scottish farmer named James falls in love with a vision of a magical sylph, or spirit. An old witch appears before him, predicting that he will betray his fiancee. Although enchanted by the sylph, James disagrees, sending the witch away.

All seems fine as the wedding begins. But as James begins to put the ring on his fiancee's finger, the beautiful sylph suddenly appears and snatches it away from him. James abandons his own wedding, running after her. He chases the sylph into the woods, where he again sees the old witch. She offers James a magical scarf. She tells him that the scarf will bind the sylph's wings, enabling him to catch her for himself. James is so enamored by the sylph that he wishes to catch her and keep her forever.

James decides to take the magical scarf. He wraps it around the sylph's shoulders, but when he does, the Sylph's wings fall off and she dies. James is left all alone, heartbroken. He then watches his fiancee marry his best friend.
The Firebird

Libretto by Mikhail Fokine (according to Russian folk fairy tales)
Music: Igor Stravinsky
Choreography: Mikhail Fokine

In the enchanted garden of the Immortal Kostcheï the Firebird appears, pursued by Ivan Tsarevich. The Firebird tries to pluck golden apples from the magic tree. But, Ivan seizes her and will not release her until she gives him one of her feathers as a pledge of help should he ever need it. She flies off.

The darkness dissolves and Ivan finds himself at the gate of an old castle. 12 maidens come out, led by a beautiful Tsarevna, who tells him that this is the castle of the Immortal Kostcheï, a magician who waylays passing travellers by casting spells on them. After exchanging tender glances with Ivan, the Tsarevna leads her companions in a lively dance. She and Ivan kiss. But it is now dawn and the maidens must return to the castle.

In spite of the Tsarevna's warning, Ivan decides to follow them. As soon as he opens the gates, bells ring out and a crowd of weird figures rush from the castle, followed by Kostcheé, before whom they prostrate themselves.

Kostcheé advances on Ivan and tries to turn him to stone. But Ivan waves the Firebird's feather in his face, invoking her aid. She reappears and forces the crowd to dance until they fall exhausted to the ground. While they are all asleep, Ivan, on her instruction, steals a great egg that contains Kostcheï's soul. He throws it to the ground. Kostcheï dies and his spell is broken. The captives are restored to human form.

The Tsarevna and Ivan are married and everyone joins in a thanksgiving.
Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)

Choreography Vaslav Nijinski
Music Igor Stravinsky

This ballet The Rite of Spring, in which there is no action traditionally understood, and even the libretto.
Stravinsky's idea was to make a presentation to the god of the pagan rite of spring sacrifice of a young girl to the god of spring in thanks for taking care of people. Is selected beloved Shepherd, who is not able to save her, so he wakes up in the rebellion and anger against the cruelty and barbarity of his people. Libretto are however rather dances and rituals that make up the whole ritual.
Cinderella

Music -Sergei Prokofiev
Libretto- Nikolai Volkov (according to Charles Perrault's fairy tales)
Choreography - Rastisław Zakharov

The Cinderella ballet is a variation of the original rags-to-riches tale. As the ballet begins, Cinderella is busily scrubbing the kitchen floor, dreaming of happier times when her mother was still alive. After making breakfast for her demanding stepsisters, an old beggar woman appears at the window, begging for food. Cinderella's stepmother forbids her to give out food, so Cinderella offers her own food to the woman, leaving nothing to eat for herself.

An invitation arrives from the palace, inviting Cinderella's stepsisters to the Prince's Royal Ball. Her stepmother takes the sisters shopping for dresses, leaving Cinderella home alone to finish her chores. In an effort to cheer her, a group of friendly mice makes a gown for Cinderella out of a bunch of rags. When she slips on the dress, the old beggar woman appears, transforming herself into a fairy godmother. The fairy godmother changes the rag-gown into a beautiful princess dress, a pumpkin into a carriage, and the mice into horses. She gives Cinderella a pair of glass slippers, then sends her to the ball, ordering her to return home before the clock strikes 12.

When the Prince lays eyes on Cinderella, whom nobody at the ball recognizes, he is instantly mesmerized by her. The stepsisters try desperately to win his attention, but he is only interested in the mysterious woman with the glass slippers. Cinderella loses track of time. When the clock starts to chime, she quickly flees the ballroom, leaving behind one of her glass slippers.
Don Quixote

Choreographer -Marius Petipa
Music - Ludwig Minkus
Based on an episode taken from the famous novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes.

As the ballet begins, an aging nobleman named Don Quixote becomes obsessed with stories of ancient rivalry. Appearing a little silly, he uses his imagination and pretends to be a brave night. He imagines that he sets out to rescue the lady of his dreams, named Dulcinea. He transforms his servant, Sancho Panza, into a trusty squire and off they go.

Don Quixote leads a charge against imaginary enemies, which he sees everywhere. He proceeds to fight invisible rivals, puppets, and windmills.
The Sleeping Beauty

Music- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer Marius Petipa.
Libretto by Ivan Wsiewolozski and Marius Petipa, by Charles Perrault fairy tale.

As the ballet begins, baby Princess Aurora is being christened. The evil Carbosse storms in and curses the baby, as her invitation to the event had been overlooked. The curse states that on her 18th birthday, the princess will prick her finger and die. However, the Lilac Fairy weakens the curse. She proclaims that instead of dying, Princess Aurora will fall into a deep sleep for 100 years. She will then be awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince.

During Aurora's 16th birthday party, a mysterious guest (the evil Carbosse) offers her a gift...a lovely spindle. Aurora pricks her finger and the whole court falls into a deep sleep.

Several years later, the Lilac Fairy produces a vision of Aurora which Prince Desire notices while hunting. The Prince is led to the castle, where he battles the evil Carbosse. After the battle, he kisses the sleeping princess, upon which everyone wakes up. A beautiful and joyous wedding ceremony follows.
Carmen

Libretto by Roland Petit (according to the story by Prosper Mérimée);
Music: Georges Bizet, Carmen, opera excerpts;
Choreography: Roland Petit;

Carmen follows the story of a young, naïve soldier Jose, who is bewitched by the beautiful and fiery gypsy, Carmen.
Obsessed and reckless, Jose turns his back on respectable life to be with her. But Carmen, like love, is a bird that cannot be tamed and Jose’s desire to posses her eventually destroys them both.
La Bayadère (The Temple Dancer)

Choreographer -Marius Petipa
Music -Ludwig Minkus

La Bayadere takes place in the Royal India of long ago. As the ballet begins, we learn that Nikiya, a beautiful temple dancer, is in love with a young warrior named Solor. However, Solor is engaged to the Rajah's daughter. During the betrothal, Nikiya is forced to dance, after which she receives a basket of flowers from the Rajah's daughter. The basket contains a deadly snake and Nikiya dies.

Solor dreams of reuniting with Nikiya in the Kingdom of the Shades. He then awakens, remembering that he's still engaged. At his wedding, however, he sees a vision of Nikiya. He mistakenly says his vows to her, instead of his bride-to-be. The gods become infuriated and destroy the palace. Solor and Nikiya reunite in spirit, in the Kingdom of the Shades.
The Nutcracker

Libretto by Marius Petipa and Ivan Wsiewolozski (by A. Dumas fairy tale version of The Nutcracker by ETA Hoffmann)
Music: Tchaikovsky
choreography by Lev Ivanovich Ivanov

This piece was almost universally panned when it premiered, in 1892, in St. Petersberg, but has since grown to be one of the most popular ballets of today, due to its ties with Christmas. Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, the story tells of a young girl, Clara, who gets shrunk to the size of a mouse, and her beloved nutcracker who goes to war, with other toys, against the evil Mouse King. He is later transformed into a beautiful prince and they go to the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Confiturembourg) to rule forever after.
Giselle

Choreographer Jean Coralli
Jules Perrot
Music Adolphe Adam
Libretto Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges
Théophile Gautier
Based on Heinrich Heine's De l'Allemagne
Victor Hugo's "Fantômes" from Les Orientales

The ballet is about a peasant girl named Giselle who dies of a broken heart after discovering her lover is betrothed to another. The Wilis, a group of supernatural women who dance men to death, summon Giselle from her grave. They target her lover for death, but Giselle's love frees him from their grasp.
Romeo and Juliet

Libretto by Leonid Lawrowski and Sergei Prokofiev play by William Shakespeare
Music: Sergei Prokofiev
choreography by Leonid Lawrowski

Romeo and Juliet is a ballet by Sergei Prokofiev based on Shakespeare's tragic love story. Prokofiev composed the music in 1935 or 1936 for the Kirov Ballet. The incredible ballet score has inspired many great choreographers to try their hand at Shakespeare's story.
Swan Lake.
Choreographed by Julius Reisinger
Composed by Tchaikovsky
Libretto by Vladimir Petrovich Begitchev
Vasily Geltzer
Based on German fairy tale
Date of premiere 4 March 1877

Swan Lake is a romantic ballet in four acts. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the music. In 1871 he wrote a little ballet about swans for his nieces and nephews. He used some of the music from this ballet for Swan Lake. The story of the ballet is based on a German fairy tale. This tale was probably tweaked by Tchaikovsky and his friends during the ballet's early discussion stages.

Swan Lake is about a prince named Siegfried. He falls in love with the Swan princess, Odette. She is a swan by day, but a young woman at night. She is under a magic spell that can only be broken by a man who will make a promise to love her for all time. Siegfried makes the promise. He is tricked though by the magician who cast the spell. The ballet ends with the deaths of Siegfried and Odette.

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