Satanella, or Love and Hell

Ballet pantomime in three acts
Music by Napoléon Henri Reber & François Benoist

World Première
23rd September 1840
Ballet du Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique, Paris
Choreography by Joseph Mazilier

Original 1840 Cast
Pauline Leroux

Joseph Mazilier

Louise Fitz-James

Saint Petersburg Première
22nd February [O.S. 10th February] 1848
Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre
Choreography by Marius Petipa & Jean Antoine Petipa

Original 1848 Cast
Yelena Andreyanova

Count Fabio
Marius Petipa

Première of Petipa’s first revival
30th October [O.S. 18th October] 1866
Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre

Original 1866 Cast
Praskovia Lebedeva

Count Fabio
Lev Ivanov

Première of Petipa’s final revival
7th May [O.S. 25th April] 1868
Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre

Original 1868 Cast
Alexandra Vergina

Count Fabio
Lev Ivanov

Count Fabio, a young society favourite summons the devil to be his companion. The devil appears in various guises. Finally, he takes on the guise of Satanella, an enchanting beauty and Coutn Fabio falls passionately in love. Unexpectedly, however, on their eve of their wedding, Satanella sets aside her mask and reveals her true face.

Pauline Leroux as Uriel (ca. 1840)
Pauline Leroux as Uriel (ca. 1840)


Le Carnaval de Venise (Satanella Pas de deux)

In 1859, Marius Petipa created a new concert pas de deux for the benefit performance of Amalia Ferraris, for which he partnered the ballerina. Petipa choreographed the pas de deux to new music arranged by Cesare Pugni from an air taken from Nicolò Paganini’s piece for violin known as Carnevale di Venezia (Op.10). The pas de deux was titled as Le Carnaval de Venise.

When Petipa revived Satanella for Alexandra Vergina in 1868, Le Carnaval de Venise into the the third act of the ballet, where it was retained for many years.

The Le Carnaval de Venise lived on long after the full-length Satanella left the Imperial Ballet’s repertory. Today the pas de deux is a staple of the classical ballet repertory and the ballet competition circuit. The celebrated documentary hosted by Princess Grace of Monaco The Children of Theatre Street (which profiled students attending the Vaganova Choreographic Institute) featured the pas de deux prominently.

In Russia, this pas de deux is known as either the The Fascination Pas de Deux from Satanella, or The Carnival in Venice Pas de Deux, or Venetian Carnival Pas de Deux. In the west it is known simply as The Satanella Pas de Deux. The multiple titles of the piece derives from its origins in the ballet Satanella, as Le Diable Amoureux was known in Russia, and from the fact that the music for the pas de deux had its basis in Paganini’s composition for violin Carnevale di Venezia (Op.10).

Leila and Asmodee Strauss in Le Diable amoureaux (1853)
Leila and Asmodée Strauss in Le Diable amoureaux (1853)