Materials about M. Petipa
The Manuscripts Department of the National Library of Russia possesses the ballet programme of the ballet «The Sleeping Beauty», performed in the Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet ((the name of the Mariinsky Theatre from 1935 to 1992) on 24 May 1947 to celbrate the 125th birthday of Marius Petipa. It is notable that the birthdate of the choreographer, indicated in the programme and in the introductory article is 1822, although it is known that Petipa was born in 1818. But then his anniversary would fall on 1943 when the Kirov State Academic Theater was evacuated to the Urals during the Second World War. And indeed, «The Sleeping Beauty» was shown in the town of Molotov on 6 October to mark the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the composer P. Tchaikovsky's death, not by the occasion of Petipa's anniversary.
Two press cuttings with articles about the spectacle were preserved in the archive of the prima ballerina of the Kirov Ballet Natalia Dudinskaya and her husband principal dancer and ballet master Konstantin Sergeyev (F. 1477). One of them is titled «The Sleeping Beauty». The Premiere at the Kirov Theater5. It was written by one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century Galina Ulanova. She highly appreciated M. Petipa's ballet revived by V. Ponomarev, although because of 'the technical conditions' (small size of the Molotov stage), viewers saw 'a shortened version' of the ballet. Making special mention of the 'first class symphony orchestra' under the direction of conductor E. Dubovsky, Ulanova depicted the title performers – F. Balabina (as Aurora), K. Sergeev (as Prince Désiré), A. Shelest (as Lilac Fairy) and other dancers.
The mistake in the date of the birth of Petipa was due to his memoirs, in which he stated:
«On 11 March 1822, in the seaside French city of Marseilles, the son Alphonse Victor Marius Petipa was born to Jean Antoine Petipa and his wife Victorine Grasseau»6.
However, let's revert to the programme of the ballet-féerie «The Sleeping Beauty» on the stage of the Kirov Theater. The opening speech before the commencement of the jubilee performance was made by theatrical critic, art critic and playwright N. Volkov. It is interesting that in M. Petipa's spectacle, revived by V. Ponomarev, the main roles were performed by several dancers in different acts. So, the audience saw the three best ballerinas – Marina Semenova, Galina Ulanova and Natalia Dudinskaya in the Aurora party. The dramatic artists Nikolai Cherkasov and Yury Yuryev performed the king's party. The role of queen were danced by Valentina Ivanova, Evgenia Bieber and the soloist of the Kirov Opera Sofya Preobrazhenskaya. The party of Prince Désirée was performed by Mikhail Gabovich and Konstantin Sergeyev. Mikhail Mikhailov, Vladimir Thomson and Anna Ulytina partook in the role of Fairy Carabos. Alla Shelest, Marina Pomerantseva and Inna Izraileva danced the Fairy Lilac party.
Note, that the programme of the performance has a dedicatory inscription of N. Dudinskaya to the Theater Director P. Radchik7 with the autographs of the artistic director of the ballet of the Kirov Theater P. Gusev and the participants of the performance.
The 125th birthday of M. Petipa. The programme of the anniversary performance
(F. 1485. Radchik P.Ts. Item 152).
The programme of ballet-féerie «The Sleeping Beauty». 24 May 1947.
(F. 1485. Radchik P.Ts. Item 152. Sheet 4).
The dedicatory inscription of N. Dudinskaya to P. Radchik and the autographs of dancers on the programme of the ballet «The Sleeping Beauty». 24 May 1947.
(F. 1485. Radchik P.Ts. Item 152. Sheet 1 v.).
Ulanova G. «The Sleeping Beauty». The Premiere at the Kirov Theater // Literature and Art. - 1943. - 23 October.
М. Petipa Memoirs // Marius Petipa. P. 24.
Radchik Peter Tsezarevich (1918-1989) is a Theater Director, the Director of the Leningrad Department of the Music Fund of the USSR and the Soviet composer publishing house, the Deputy Director of the Maly Opera Theater and the Kirov Theater.