Satanella, or Love and Hell

Ballet pantomime in three acts and seven scenes
Music by Napoléon Henri Reber and François Benoist
Libretto by Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier
Designs by Heinrich Wagner and Andrei Roller

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 Petipa

Original 1848 Cast
Yelena Andreyanova

Count Fabio
Marius Petipa

Jean Petipa

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

Original 1866 Cast
Praskovya 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 Count 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)

Satanella, or Love and Hell, was created by Joseph Mazilier to the music of French composers Napoléon Henri Reber and François Benoist. The libretto was written by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint and was based on the 1772 occult romance novel The Devil in Love by Jacques Cozette. The ballet premièred on the 23rd September 1840 in Paris under the title Le Diable amoureux with Pauline Leroux as Uriel and Mazilier as Frédéric. Le Diable amoureux made its debut in London at Drury Lane Theatre in the summer of 1843 with Carlotta Grisi and Lucien Petipa in the principal roles.

Leila and Asmodée Strauss in Le Diable amoureaux (1853)
The sisters Karolina and Anna Straus as Lilia and Asmodea in Le Diable amoureux (1853)

Le Diable amoureux played a significant role in the early years of Petipa’s career in Russia. Within the months of his arrival in Saint Petersburg, his father Jean Petipa followed him to the former Imperial Russian capital, taking up the post of professor of male dancing at the Imperial Ballet School. Le Diable amoureux was one of the earliest Parisian ballets that Petipa staged for the Imperial Ballet, for which he collaborated with his father. The father and son duo staged the ballet under the title Satanella and it premièred at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre on the 22nd February [O.S. 10th February] 1848, with Elena Andreyanova as Satanella and Petipa as Count Fabio. Satanella was one of the ballets that Petipa staged in Moscow when he and Andreyanova were engaged to perform at the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre later that year. Andreyanova’s Moscow performance as Satanella was hugely successful and she was showered with countless flowers and gifts from the public.

Praskovya Lebedeva as Satanella (1867)
Praskovya Lebedeva as Satanella (1867)

Petipa revived Satanella on two occasions for the Imperial Ballet. For his first revival, new music additions were composed by Cesare Pugni. Petipa’s first revival of Satanella premièred at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre on the 30th October [18th October] 1866 with Praskovya Lebedeva as Satanella and Lev Ivanov as Count Fabio. Two years later, Petipa staged his second revival with more new musical additions by Pugni. His second revival premièred at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre on the 7th May [O.S. 25th April] 1868, with Alexandra Vergina as Satanella and Ivanov as Count Fabio.

A revival of Petipa’s version of Satanella was staged at the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre on the 18th February [O.S. 6th February] 1897 by Ivan Clustine, who is most noted for being the choreographer for Anna Pavlova’s company. Petipa’s version of Satanella did not survive, but Mazilier’s choreography for his Paris production of Le Diable amoureux was notated by Henri Justament and is part of his collection of 19th century French ballets.

Lyubov Radina and Felix Kschessinsky in a Marzuka (1867)
Lyubov Radina and Felix Kschessinsky in a Marzuka (1867)

Le Carnaval de Venise (Satanella Pas de deux)

The most famous piece known today that is associated with Petipa’s production of Satanella is Le Carnaval de Venise or Satanella Pas de deux.

In 1857, Petipa created a new concert pas de deux for the benefit performance of the Italian Prima Ballerina 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 first revived Satanella in 1866, Le Carnaval de Venise was interpolated into the third act of the ballet, where it was retained for many years.

Elizaveta Charpentier as Lilia (1897)
Elizaveta Charpentier as Lilia (1897)

The Le Carnaval de Venise lived on long after the full-length Satanella left the Imperial Ballet’s repertoire. At one point, Petipa revived the pas de deux for Pierina Legnani and the choreography performed by Legnani, especially for the female variation, appears to have survived to this day.

In Russia, this pas de deux is known as either 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 derive from its origins in Satanella and from the fact that the music had its basis in Paganini’s composition for violin Carnevale di Venezia (Op. 10).

Today, the Satanella pas de deux is a staple of the classical ballet repertoire and the ballet competition circuit. The pas de deux is featured prominently in the celebrated documentary The Children of Theatre Street, which is hosted by Princess Grace of Monaco and profiles students attending the Vaganova Choreographic Institute.

Vasily Geltzer as the Vizir (1897)
Vasily Geltzer as the Vizir (1897)


  • Petipa, Marius, Russian Ballet Master: The Memoirs of Marius Petipa. Translated ed. by Helen Whittaker, introduction and edited by Lillian Moore. London, UK: Dance Books Ltd (1958)
  • Guest, Ivor (1954) The Romantic Ballet in England. Hampshire, UK: 2014 ed. Dance Books Ltd

Photos and images: © Dansmuseet, Stockholm © Большой театр России © Victoria and Albert Museum, London © Государственный академический Мариинский театр © CNCS/Pascal François © Bibliothèque nationale de France © Musée l’Opéra © Colette Masson/Roger-Viollet © АРБ имени А. Я. Вагановой © Михаил Логвинов © Михайловский театр, фотограф Стас Левшин. Партнёры проекта: СПбГБУК «Санкт-Петербургская государственная Театральная библиотека». ФГБОУВО «Академия русского балета имени А. Я. Вагановой» СПбГБУК «Михайловский театр». Михаил Логвинов, фотограф. Martine Kahane.