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Dance

Bogatyri

The Ballet Russe Collection

Ballet in 5 scenes.
Choreography and libretto by Leonide Massine.
Music by Alexander Borodin (B-minor Symphony, unfinished A-minor Symphony, and Nocturne from Second String Quartet).
Scenery by Nathalia Goncharova.
Premiere: New York, October 20, 1938, by the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo.

The complicated story, taken from legends of the knights of Vladimir, first Christian Prince of Russia, dealt with battles between the Bogatyri and the Tartars and the rescue of a princess from a monster. Whatever emotions this scenario might have stirred in the Russian audiences, to Americans it meant little and only Nathalie Goncharova's opulent designs won praise. In 1941 Massine revised Bogatyri, simplifying the plot, eliminating characters, and using only the B-Minor Symphony.

Jack Anderson, The One and Only: The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo

The famous dance critic John Martin had this to say about the ballet:

...obscure in story, unimaginative in choreography, and swallowed up in scenery.

New York Times, October 24, 1941

Bogatyri represents one of the most extensive series of drops in the Butler Ballet's collection. Unfortunately, the tags identifying the different pieces are not always clear, and it is difficult to reconstruct clearly what drop goes with what piece; some drops may have served for more than one scene, or perhaps there are in fact some missing pieces. The author has tried his best to re-assemble the sets in a logical order, but some of that is guesswork.

Below are the sets for the different scenes.

Prologue (reconstructed image)

Scene 1 - labeled "Garden Scene" (reconstructed image)

Presumed Scene 2 legs and borders

Scene 3 legs and borders 

Scene 4 backdrop

Scene 5 backdrop 

Scene 5 with portals (composite image)

Portal with purple border (unidentified as to which scene it went with)

Purple border with medallions 

Foliage border