Les Caprices du Papillon

Ballet in one act
Music by Nikolai Krotkov

World Première
17th June [O.S. 5th June] 1889
Peterhof Palace, Saint Petersburg

Original 1889 Cast
The Butterfly
Varvara Nikitina

The Phoenix-Moth
Pavel Gerdt

The Grasshopper
Sergei Litavki

The Fly
Maria Anderson

The Spider
Alexander Shiryaev

The Nightingale
Sergei Legat

Première of Petipa’s revival
3rd November [O.S. 22nd October] 1895
Imperial Mariinsky Theatre

Original 1895 Cast
The Butterfly
Lyubov Roslaveleva

The Phoenix-Moth
Nikolai Legat

The Grasshopper
Enrico Cecchetti

The Fly
Olga Preobrazhenskaya

The Spider
Alexander Shiryaev

The Nightingale
Sergei Legat

Plot
The talented musician Grasshopper is in love with the Butterfly, who is a devotee to the musical arts. However, the fickle Butterfly only laughs at the love of the plain Grasshopper and flies off to listen to the true virtuoso Nightingale, deciding he is worthy of one with such beauty as hers. The Nightingale watches the Butterfly circling around him and pecks at her. The beautiful Butterfly drops down dead. The Nightingale immediately forgets her and only the Grasshopper mourns his frivolous beloved.

Varvara Nikitina as the Butterfly (1889)
Varvara Nikitina as the Butterfly (1889)