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The Firebird

4–14 June 2019
Main Stage

Good confronts evil in Mikhail Fokine's classic ballet about a magical Firebird, a powerful magician and a noble Prince.

When to see it

The Story

Prince Ivan catches a magic Firebird. To be set free, she gives him one of her feathers and tells him to call on her if he needs help. The Prince meets a group of Princesses, including the Tsarevna, who have been put under a spell by the evil Kostcheï.

Read more… (Contains spoilers)


The Firebird was Igor Stravinsky's first ballet score. It was commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes and had its premiere in 1910 at the Paris Opéra. The Royal Ballet's production uses the brilliant costumes and glittering sets of the avant-garde artist Natalia Goncharova, which were created for the Ballets Russes' production of 1926.

Both Stravinsky's score and Mikhail Fokine's choreography were ground breaking. Fokine shifted from classical ballet towards a more realist and folk-derived style of movement, while Stravinsky incorporated elements of folksong into his music. The role of the Firebird is challenging to dance and mesmerizing to watch - she enters the stage in a flash of movement, and her steps are bold and full of a powerful energy. The strange characters that accompany Kostcheï transform the stage into a spectacular blaze of colour and folkloric detail, and this unique ballet ends with tableau that is as vivid as it is distinctly Russian.

News and features

On Wikipedia

The Firebird

The Firebird (French: L'Oiseau de feu; Russian: Жар-птица, Zhar-ptitsa) is a ballet by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, written for the 1910 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, with choreography by Michel Fokine. The scenario by Alexandre Benois and Michel Fokine is based on Russian fairy tales of the magical glowing bird that can be both a blessing and a curse to its owner. At the premiere on 25 June 1910 in Paris, the work was an instant success with both audience and critics. The ballet has historic significance not only as Stravinsky's breakthrough piece, but also as the beginning of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky that would also produce Petrushka, The Rite of Spring, Pulcinella and others.

Read the complete The Firebird article on Wikipedia, available under a Creative Commons license.