Ballet fantastique in four acts
Music by Ludwig Minkus

World Première
14th December [2nd December] 1879
Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, Saint Petersburg

Original 1879 Cast
Eugenia Sokolova

Maria Gorshenkova

Mstivoi, Prince of Ratarskii
Felix Kschessinsky

Première of Petipa’s revival
7th October [O.S. 25th September] 1896
Imperial Mariinsky Theatre

Original 1896 Cast
Matilda Kschessinskaya

Iaromir, Prince of Arkona
Pavel Gerdt

Marie Petipa

Mstivoi, Prince of Ratarskii
Felix Kschessinsky

Nadezhda Petipa

The Jester
Alexander Shiryaev

Princess Voislava, daughter of Prince Mstivoi, is madly in love with Iaromir, Prince of Arkona. To gain his heart, she has poisoned Iaromir’s beloved, Princess Mlada and is seeking the protection of the goddess Marena. At the goddess’s request, Chernobog, the supreme god of all evil spirits, tempts Iaromir’s soul with the shade of the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. If she can conquer the Prince, he will forget Mlada. Iaromir’s soul vacillates, but the crowing of a cockerel dispels the evil spirits. Iaromir awakens in confusion. In order to understand the meaning of his dream, he remains in the temple of the sun-god Radegast. That night, Iaromir hears the voices of ancestors calling for vengeance. Voislava appears and confesses her crime. Obeying the ancestors, Iaromir kills her. In response, Marena summons a storm and earthquake. The temple collapses, the lake bursts its banks and everything is hidden in clouds. When the clouds disperse, a rock is visible in the middle of the swollen lake and on it are the shades of Iaromir and Mlada, who are welcomed by the benevolent gods.