L’Étoile de Grenade

Ballet divertissement
Music by Cesare Pugni

World Première
22nd January [O.S. 10th January] 1855
Milkhailkovsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg

Original Cast
The Star of Granada
Maria Surovshchikova-Petipa

History
L’Étoile de Grenade (The Star of Granada) was the first ballet that Petipa choreographed in Russia, eight years after his arrival in Saint Petersburg. It was also the beginning of his collaboration with Cesare Pugni, with whom he would go to create some of his grandest ballets.

The ballet was premièred at the Mikhailovsky Theatre on the 22nd January [O.S. 10th January] 1855 as part of the farewell benefit performance for the French actress Mila. Dancing the principal role was Maria Surovshchikova-Petipa, who Petipa had married six months earlier. However, Petipa did not receive any credit for the production of L’Étoile de Grenade in the theatre program. Nevertheless, the creation of this ballet solidified Petipa’s career as a choreographer in Russia. This ballet was one of the earliest of his original works in which he showcased his knowledge of Spanish dance, knowledge he had clearly shared with his wife, who captivated the audience with a fiery performance. However, according to the critic Fedor Koni, L’Étoile de Grenade divided opinions: some were unquestionably delighted, while others felt that Mme. Petipa danced “too authentically”, like “the people on the streets of Granada, Seville and Madrid,” without caring to show “that French grace which the St Petersburg public had come to expect in ballets” – (F[edor] Koni, ‘Benefis’ g- zhi Mila’, Panteon, 19 (1855); reprinted in Peterburgskii balet. Tri veka. Khronika. 1851– 1900, ed, Boglacheva, 42.).

 

Sources

  • Meisner, Nadine (2019) Marius Petipa, The Emperor’s Ballet Master. New York City, US: Oxford University Press