25 June 1910

Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird is premiered in Paris, bringing him to prominence as a composer.

Igor Stravinsky’s ballet “The Firebird” is one of his most famous and influential compositions. It was composed in 1910 and premiered in Paris by the Ballets Russes, with choreography by Michel Fokine and stage design by Alexandre Golovine. “The Firebird” marked Stravinsky’s breakthrough as a composer and firmly established his reputation in the world of music.

The ballet tells the story of Prince Ivan, who encounters the magical Firebird in a forest. The Firebird is a captivating creature with feathers that glow and flicker like flames. The Prince captures the Firebird, but she pleads for her freedom and promises to help him in the future. He releases her, and in gratitude, she gives him one of her feathers as a token.

As the ballet unfolds, Prince Ivan discovers an enchanted garden guarded by the evil sorcerer Kashchei. This garden is populated by bewitched princesses whom Kashchei has turned into stone. The Prince falls in love with one of the princesses and decides to confront Kashchei and free the princesses from their curse.

With the Firebird’s assistance, Prince Ivan confronts Kashchei and his minions. The Firebird’s magical powers help the Prince overcome the sorcerer’s spells and turn Kashchei and his followers into stone. The ballet concludes with a joyful celebration of the Prince’s victory and the restoration of the princesses to their human forms.

Stravinsky’s score for “The Firebird” is a stunning display of his compositional skill and innovation. It blends elements of Russian folk music with modern harmonies and rhythms, creating a vibrant and evocative musical landscape. The score features lush orchestration, colorful melodies, and rhythmic complexities that bring the characters and scenes of the ballet to life.

“The Firebird” was a revolutionary work in its time, both musically and choreographically. Stravinsky’s score broke new ground with its vivid orchestral colors and innovative use of rhythm and harmony. Fokine’s choreography incorporated expressive and dramatic movements, reflecting the emotional depth of the music. The combination of music and dance in “The Firebird” captivated audiences and marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between Stravinsky and the Ballets Russes.

“The Firebird” catapulted Stravinsky to international fame and paved the way for his subsequent ballets, including “Petrushka” and “The Rite of Spring.” Its impact on the world of music and dance cannot be overstated, as it signaled a departure from traditional Romantic ballet and opened the door to new possibilities in both artistic disciplines.