The Beauty of Lebanon, or The Mountain Spirit

Ballet fantastique in three acts with a prologue and epilogue
Music by Cesare Pugni

World Première
24th December [O.S. 12th December] 1863
Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, Saint Petersburg

Original 1863 Cast
Maria Surovshchikova-Petipa

Timofei Stukolkin

The bored Mountain Spirit Livan is seeking a new victim for his own malicious enjoyment. Using his magical powers, he spies on the lovers’ tryst between the Marionite Mirana and the Druze Esmar. Enchanted by Mirana’s beauty, Livan resolves to prevent their marriage and to take the girl for himself. Mirana and Esmar are forced to go through a series of trials contrived by the evil Spirit – a Druze attack on Mirana’s village, a fire, abduction and escape from the ruler Beshir’s harem. After reaching a campsite of her surviving kinsfolk, Mirana perishes shielding Esmar with her own body. The Mountain Spirit seizes the girl’s body and turns it into a diamond crag. Only by his will is she able to resume human form, but she rejects the Spirit’s advances. Mirana is saved from the reprisals of demons by the good spirit of the Marionites, who transports her to an enchanted rose garden after turning her into a white dove.

Maria Surovshchikova-Petipa as Mirana (1863)
Maria Surovshchikova-Petipa as Mirana (1863)