Music: By Vittorio Rieti (1928, commissioned by Serge Diaghilev). Book by Boris Kochno (suggested by a story by Count Vladimir Sologub).
Choreography: By George Balanchine.
Production: Scenery and costumes by Giorgio de Chirico. Costumes executed under the direction of Mme A. Youkine.
Premiere: May 7, 1929, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Opéra de Monte- Carlo. Conductor: Marc-César Scotto.
The Lady, Alexandra Danilova; The Young Man, Anton Dolin; The Astrologer, André Bobrow; SPANISH ENTRANCE: Felia Doubrovska, Léon Woizikowsky, George Balanchine; ITALIAN ENTRANCE: Eugenia Lipkowska, Serge Lifar; The Sylphides, 4 women; The Guests, 12 women, 13 men; The Statues, 2 men.
I. Prologue. II. The Ball.
Note: In the midst of a ball a Young Man seeks out a Lady accompanied by an Astrologer and begs her to remove her mask; she complies, and to his horror reveals the face of an old woman; he flees, she pursues him, and he hides. After the ball the Young Man is alone in the ballroom. The Lady returns with the Astrologer, unmasks, but then pulls off her face, which is only a second mask--and is revealed as a young and beautiful woman. The Astrologer, too, unmasks and appears as a handsome youth; he embraces the Lady and they depart, as the Young Man falls swooning.
Reconstruction: Teatro alla Scala, 2005.
Revisions: Two Archeologists added for London season, July 1929.