Igor Stravinsky (1909-10, dedicated to Andrei Rimsky-Korsakov [third ballet suite, for reduced orchestra, 1945])
George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Scenery and costumes by Marc Chagall (based on his original sketches for the Ballet Theatre production of 1945). Scenery executed under the supervision of Volodia Odinokow; costumes executed by Karinska. Lighting by Ronald Bates
May 28, 1970, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater. Conductor: Robert Irving
Firebird, Gelsey Kirkland; Prince Ivan, Jacques d’Amboise; Prince’s Bride, Gloria Govrin; Kastchei the Wizard and his Subjects, Paul Sackett, 28 men and women; 12 Maidens; 12 Youths
In rescaling the scenery of the 1949 production for the New York State Theater (larger than City Center) and creating costumes based more closely on Chagall’s designs of 1945 than those of 1949 (from which the artist withdrew his name), Balanchine and Robbins, while adhering to the 1949 story line, provided new choreography throughout. (Robbins contributed the dance of Kastchei and his Subjects [‘the monsters’].) The most striking departure from the 1949 production was the role of the Firebird, now more birdlike and less womanly than in 1949, with a difficult, effortful new variation and a tutu outfitted with gauzy bustle and train.
New York City Ballet: 1972 (Stravinsky Festival), choreography for Firebird made more stately, with few dance steps; new costume with long train and large wings (modified in 1974); 1980, revised choreography for Firebird incorporating some passages from 1949 version; gold costume, wings, and lighter train. 1972, 1980, new costumes for Firebird by Karinska (uncredited on program). Balanchine’s complete 1949 choreography for the Firebird and the pas de deux for the Firebird and the Prince, as well as the red tutu, were restored when Jerome Robbins revived the ballet in 1985.