Backdrop for Prince Igor
The Ballet Russe Collection
One-act ballet choreographed by Michel Fokine.
Music by Alexander Borodin (Polovtsian Dances , from his
opera Prince Igor .
Original decor by Nicholas Roerich; decor for the Ballet Russe
production by C. Korovine.
Premier: Paris, May 18, 1909, by the Ballets Russes de Serge
Prince Igor, one of the ballets inherited from the
Diaghilev repertoire, was one of the early works to figure in the
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo's program, and remained a favorite for
several seasons (1938-45, 1949-51, 1954-55).
"This is purely a dance ballet, without any connection with the
plot of the opera. When it was first performed with full chorus and
orchestra, the ballet served to introduce to Western Europe the
unimagined color of Russian music and dancing combined in a
striking single work. The scene, when the curtain rises, is
suffused in the violet light of the approaching dawn. The light of
two campfires is thrown against two great tents made of animal
skins. Gathered about the fires, the men and women of the Polovtsy
tribe sleep soundly. In the distance, around other campfires, other
members of the tribe are curled in sleep. A lone warrior stands on
George Balanchine, Balanchine's Complete Stories of the