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05 April 2020 (Sun), 19:00 Mikhailovsky Classical Ballet and Opera Theatre (established 1833) - World-famous Ballet Star Ivan Vasiliev Classical Ballet Boris Asafiev "Flames of Paris" (Ballet in two acts)

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes (till 21:10)

Schedule for Boris Asafiev "Flames of Paris" (Ballet in two acts) 2020

Principal Dancer: World-famous Ballet Star Ivan Vasiliev
Conductor: Valentin Bogdanov

Composer: Boris Asafiev
Revival Designer: Vyacheslav Okunev
Choreography: Vasily Vaynonen
Costume Designer: Vladimir Dmitriev
Set Designer: Vladimir Dmitriev
Staging: Mikhail Messerer

Orchestra: Mikhailovsky Symphony Orchestra
Ballet company: Mikhailovsky Ballet

Classical Ballet in 2 acts

Premiere of this production: 22 July 2013, Mikhailovsky theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia

Libretto: Nikolay Volkov and Vladimir Dmitriev after the novel by Felix Gras ‘Les Rouges du Midi’ revised by Mikhail Messerer

Flames of Paris is a classical ballet with music by musicologist and composer Boris Asafyev based on songs of the French Revolution, and originally choreographed by Vasily Vainonen, with design by Vladimir Dmitriev. The four-act ballet is based on a book by Felix Gras. Authors of the libretto were Nicolai Volkov and Vladimir Dmitriev.

It was premiered at the Kirov Theatre in Leningrad on 7 November, 1932, with Natalia Dudinskaya as Mireille de Poitiers, Vakhtang Chabukiani as Jerome, Olga Jordan as Jeanne, Nina Anisimova as Therese, and Konstantin Sergeyev as Mistral. The conductor was Yuri Fayer.

Other productions included the one premiered on 6 July 1933 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, with Aleksey Yermolayev (Jerome), Anastasia Abramova (Jeanne), Nadezhda Kapustina (Therese) and Marina Semenova (Mireille de Poitiers).

The original production and choreography was reconstructed in 2008 by Alexei Ratmansky for the Bolshoi Ballet and is available on DVD with Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova (Bel Air Classiques).

The Flames of Paris is a so-called "revolutionary" ballet, and takes as its subject the French Revolution, including in its scenario the storming of the Tuileries by the Marseillais and their victorious march on Paris. The plot is taken from the book of Felix Gras Les Marceliers.
Although its setting is eighteenth-century France, it is a perfect illustration of Leningrad ballet in the 1920s and 1930s, during which time there was a determined effort to find subjects in world history which reflected the more immediate situation in Russia, and to show that the October Revolution was part of more universal movements and historical events.


Act I

Scene 1

Summer of 1792. A suburb of Marseilles. Edge of the woods near the castle of Marquis de Beauregard. Out of the woods there appears Gaspar and his children: 18-year-old Jeanne and 9-year-old Jacques, who pull a cart of firewood. Jeanne plays with Jacques. The boy jumps over the faggot bands. The sound of the horn heralds the return of the Marquis from hunting. Gaspar and the children are in a hurry: they try to gather the faggot bands and leave. The Marquis and the huntsmen appear from the wood. De Beauregard is furious with the peasants gathering the faggot in his wood. Gaspar is beaten up by the hunters from the Marquis’s suite; the huntsmen turn the cart over. Jeanne is trying to stand up for her father, the Marquis lets drive at her too, but on hearing the sound of the revolutionary song he hurries to his castle.

A squad of the Marseillais led by Philippe move through the woods on their way to Paris to help the revolutionary people. The Marseillais help Gaspar and Jeanne put the cart back on its wheels and put the faggot bands on it. Jacques is enthusiastically waving the revolutionary flag, given to him by one of the revolutionaries. At the time the Marquis manages to flee from his castle through the secret door.

The peasants greet the soldiers from Marseilles. Philippe calls them to joins the squad. Gaspar and his children join the Marseillais. All of them move off to Paris.

Scene 2

A ball at the Versailles palace. Ladies of the court and the officers of the royal guard dance the sarabande. When the dance is over, the master of ceremonies invites the guests to see the performance of the court theatre. Actors Diana Mireille and Antoine Mistral perform an intermezzo, performing the victims of Cupid.

King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette arrive accompanied by their retinue. The officers raise their glasses to the prosperity of the monarchy. Marquis de Beauregard, who has just arrived from Marseilles, enters. He shows the tricolour banner with the slogan “War to the palaces, peace to the huts!” and throws it at the King’s feet. The Marquis kisses the royal standard by the throne and reads out the message to the Prussians, written by him, in which Louis XVI should call Prussia to send troops to France and put an end to the revolution. The King is asked to sign the document. The King hesitates, but Marie Antoinette persuades him to sign the document. Marquis and the officers, in a burst of enthusiasm for monarchy, vow to fulfill their duty to the King. They draw their weapons and enthusiastically salute the royal couple. The Queen expresses her confidence in the loyalty of the officers. Louis is moved, he brings a handkerchief to his eyes.

The royal couple and ladies-in-waiting leave the ballroom. The footmen brings the tables in, more glasses to the monarchy are raised. The admirers of Diana Mireille invite the actors to take part in the celebration. They ask Mireille to dance. She and Antoine perform an improvised short dance, enthusiastically received by the audience.

The tipsy Marquis invites Mireille to dance, and she has to accept. His rudeness disgusts her, she would love to leave — but she shouldn’t. Diana tries to stay close to Mistral. He strives to distract the Marquis, but De Beauregard rudely pushes the actor away and several officers take Antoine back to the table. Ladies quietly leave the room. Finally Mireille finds a pretext to leave too, but the Marquis follows her.

Wine affects the guests, some of the officers fall asleep right at the table. Mistral notices the “Appeal to&ndsp;Prussia» left on the table. He starts reading it, first without thinking and then with more and more interest. The Marquis returns and notices the paper in the hands of Antoine. He runs amock, pulls out a gun and shoots the actor. Antoine is fatally injured. The sound of the gunshot wakes some officers up, they surround the Marquis and hurry him away.

Having heard the sound of the gunshot too, Mireille comes back. She sees Mistral’s lifeless body and tries to find out, if he’s still alive. But he is dead. She notices a piece of paper clutched in his hand and reads it. The sounds of La Marseillaise are heard. Now Mireille understands, why Mistral was killed, and she knows what she is to do. She takes the paper and leaves the palace.

Act II

Scene 1

At night. A square in Paris, where crowds of the citizens, the armed squads from provinces, including the Basques and men from Auvergne gather together. The Parisians are glad to see the squad from Marseille. A group of the Basques stands out by their readiness to fight. One of them is Teresa, an active participant of the street protests of the sans-culottes. Diana Mireille’s arrival stops the dances. She shows the crowd the appeal of the King to the Prussians, which confirms the betrayal of the aristocracy. People dance and sing La Carmagnole. Arms are distributed. Philippe calls to storm the Tuileries. Under the tricolour banners, singing the revolutionary Ça ira, the crowd moves to the King’s palace.

Scene 2

Crowds of the armed people dash to storm the palace. Marquis de Beauregard brings the Swiss Guard soldiers to the palace. At his command, the Swiss take the assigned positions. The officers walk the frightened ladies away. Suddenly the door flies open, the people burst into the chambers of the palace. Philippe bumps into Marquis de Beauregard. After a fierce fight with the Marquis Philippe knocks his sword aside, de Beauregard tries to shoot Philippe, but the crowd attacks him.

The Swiss, the last defenders of the King, are swept away. Teresa runs in holding the banner in her hands, and falls, shot dead by a bullet of an officer. The battle is over. The palace is captured. The Basques, Philippe, and Gaspar lift Teresa’s body over the heads, the people decline the flags.


People are celebrating the capture of the Tuileries on the square of the former King’s palace. The merry dances of the people alternate with the performances of the Paris actors.

Diana Mireille, surrounded by girls wearing ancient costumes, performs a dance with the tricolor flag that symbolizes the victory of the Revolution. Allegoric dances of Equality and Fraternity are performed. People shower Jeanne and Philippe with flowers: it’s also their wedding day. La Carmagnola is sung. People carry Diana Mireille as a symbol of freedom.

Schedule for Boris Asafiev "Flames of Paris" (Ballet in two acts) 2020

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