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(also called Prodigal Son) Ballet in Three Scenes
Sergei Prokofiev (Op. 46, 1928-29, commissioned by Serge Diaghilev, 1927). Book by Boris Kochno (after the biblical parable)
George Balanchine
Scenery and costumes by Georges Rouault. Scenery executed by Prince A. Schervashidze; costumes executed by Vera Soudeikina
May 21, 1929, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt, Paris. Conductor: Sergei Prokofiev
The Prodigal Son, Serge Lifar; The Father, Michael Fedorov; The Siren, Felia Doubrovska; The Servants, Eleanora Marra, Nathalie Branitzka; Confidants of the Prodigal Son, Léon Woizikowsky, Anton Dolin; Friends of the Prodigal Son, 12 men.
I. 1. The Prodigal Son leaves the paternal home, accompanied by his two confidants.
II. 2. The Prodigal Son meets his friends and takes part in their festival. 3. Entry and dance of the Siren, which takes place beside the Prodigal Son. 4.The Confidants of the Prodigal Son entertain the guests. 5. The Prodigal Son dances with the Siren. 6. The Siren and the Friends of the Prodigal Son force him to drink. 7. The Confidants, the Friends, and the Siren strip the sleeping Prodigal Son and take flight. 8. The awakening and lamentations of the Prodigal Son. 9. Promenade of the Siren, the Confidants, and the Friends of the Prodigal Son, laden with their spoils.
III. 10. Return of the repentant Prodigal Son to the paternal home.
Performance Type
See Also
Additional Productions
After the death of Diaghilev and the disbanding of his Ballets Russes, the Balanchine choreography for Le Fils Prodigue was not seen until it was revived for the New York City Ballet in 1950 as Prodigal Son. At that time and subsequently the cast of characters was listed somewhat differently: Servants became Sisters; Confidants became Servants; Friends became Drinking Companions. The number of Drinking Companions was smaller (12 in the original, 9 in the New York City Ballet revival). In 1977, the dances of the two Servants (men) were omitted from the New York City Ballet production; they were restored in the 1980 American Ballet Theatre staging. Longtime observers have noticed other changes, but Balanchine said that the choreography remained essentially the same.
New Productions by Balanchine Companies
1950, New York City Ballet: Scenery and costumes by Georges Rouault, recreated by Esteban Francés

1950   New York City Ballet
1965   Dutch National Ballet
1966   Boston Ballet
1966   Tokyo Ballet Geikijo (disbanded)
1967   Ballett der Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna)
1967   National Ballet (Washington, DC, 1963-74)
1968   Royal Danish Ballet
1969   Royal Ballet
1973   Birmingham Royal Ballet/Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet
1973   Paris Opera Ballet
1973   Royal Ballet
1974   Geneva Ballet (Grand Theatre de Geneve [Ballet])
1974   Houston Ballet
1975   Chicago Ballet
1976   Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
1980   Houston Ballet
1981   American Ballet Theatre
1981   Royal Ballet
1982   Pacific Northwest Ballet
1984   Ballet Dallas
1984   San Francisco Ballet
1985   Ballett der Bayerischen Staatsoper (Munich)
1986   Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
1986   Kansas City Ballet
1986   Teatro alla Scala (Milan)
1987   American Ballet Theatre
1987   Miami City Ballet
1988   Ballett der Bayerischen Staatsoper (Munich)
1989   American Ballet Theatre
1989   Atlanta Ballet
1989   Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
1989   Les Grands Ballets Canadiens
1989   Dutch National Ballet
1989   Kansas City Ballet
1989   Paris Opera Ballet
1989   Pennsylvania Ballet
1989   Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
1990   Pacific Northwest Ballet
1991   Bolshoi Ballet
1991   Miami City Ballet
1992   Pennsylvania Ballet
1993   Paris Opera Ballet
1993   Royal Ballet
1994   Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse
1994   Birmingham Royal Ballet/Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet
1994   Ballett der Deutschen Oper (Berlin)
1994   Les Grands Ballets Canadiens
1994   Sacramento Ballet
1995   Ballett der Bayerischen Staatsoper (Munich)
1995   Dance Theatre of Harlem
1995   Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
1995   Paris Opera Ballet
1995   Teatro Comunale (Florence, Italy)
1996   Grand Theatre de Bordeaux
1996   Dutch National Ballet
1997   Ballet de Nancy (France)
1997   Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse
1997   Dance Theatre of Harlem
1997   Ballett der Deutschen Oper (Berlin)
1997   Hartford Ballet
1997   Texas Ballet (formerly Fort Worth Dallas Ballet)
1998   Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung (Munich, Germany)
1998   Kansas City Ballet
1998   Pennsylvania Ballet
1998   Sacramento Ballet
1999   Dance Theatre of Harlem
1999   Miami City Ballet
2000   Alberta Ballet
2000   American Ballet Theatre
2000   Joffrey Ballet
2000   Teatro alla Scala (Milan)
2001   Birmingham Royal Ballet/Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet
2001   Kirov Ballet
2001   Paris Opera Ballet
2002   Grand Theatre de Bordeaux
2003   Ballet Arizona
2003   Boston Ballet
2003   Dance Theatre of Harlem
2003   Paris Opera Ballet
2004   Birmingham Royal Ballet
2004   Dance Theatre of Harlem
2004   Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre
2004   Pacific Northwest Ballet
2005   Ballet Arlington
2005   Grand Theatre de Bordeaux
2005   Miami City Ballet
2005   K-Ballet (Tokyo)
2006   Pennsylvania Ballet
2008   Finnish National Ballet
2009   Los Angeles Ballet
2009   Grand Rapids Ballet
2009   Ballet West
2009   Dutch National Ballet (Amsterdam)
2009   K-Ballet (Tokyo)
2009   Hamburg Ballet
2010   Teatro alla Scala (Milan)
2011   Carolina Ballet
2011   Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
2011   Sarasota Ballet, The
2012   Polish National Ballet
2012   Suzanne Farrell Ballet
2013   Cincinnati Ballet
2013   Oregon Ballet Theatre
2014   Ballet du Capitole, Toulouse
2014   Joffrey Ballet
2015   Mariinsky Ballet
2015   Pacific Northwest Ballet
2015   Pennsylvania Ballet
2016   American Ballet Theatre
2016   Pacific Northwest Ballet
2017   Los Angeles Ballet
2017   San Francisco Ballet
2017   Washington Ballet
2019   Ballet West
2022 Collage Dance Collective
2022 Miami City Ballet

Recorded Performances
1995, Nonesuch, The Balanchine Library: Choreography by Balanchine [1978];
2004, Kultur, Balanchine (I,1; III, 10: departure and homecoming; rehearsal with Balanchine)

1973 (ABC, Wide World of Entertainment)
1975 (French television)
1978 (PBS, Dance in America)
1983 (French television, Channel 2)
1984 excerpts, including Balanchine in rehearsal (PBS, Dance in America, “Balanchine”)
2001 (Telemondis [France])

Source Notes

Boris Kochno has corrected the general misunderstanding that the book for the ballet is based on a story by Pushkin. The printed program for the premiere performance names the conductor, Sergei Prokofiev, as l’auteur; this is repeated by Prokofiev in his Autobiography (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1959, p. 74), and by Robert Craft in Stravinsky in Pictures and Documents (p. 287). Grigoriev (The Diaghilev Ballet, p. 278) names Roger Desormière as conductor, which Balanchine believed to be correct.