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94. LE FILS PRODIGUE (also called PRODIGAL SON)


Ballet in Three Scenes


Music: By Sergei Prokofiev (Op. 46, 1928-29, commissioned by Serge Diaghilev, 1927). Book by Boris Kochno (after the biblical parable).

Choreography: By George Balanchine.

Production: Scenery and costumes by Georges Rouault. Scenery executed by Prince A. Schervashidze; costumes executed by Vera Soudeikina.

Premiere: May 21, 1929, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt, Paris. Conductor: Sergei Prokofiev.

Cast: The Prodigal Son, Serge Lifar; The Father, Michael Fedorov; The Siren, Felia Doubrovska; The Servants, Eleanora Marra, Nathalie Branitzka; Confidants of the Prodigal Son, Léon Woizikowsky, Anton Dolin; Friends of the Prodigal Son, 12 men.
I. 1. The Prodigal Son leaves the paternal home, accompanied by his two confidants.
II. 2.The Prodigal Son meets his friends and takes part in their festival. 3. Entry and dance of the Siren, which takes place beside the Prodigal Son. 4.The Confidants of the Prodigal Son entertain the guests. 5. The Prodigal Son dances with the Siren. 6. The Siren and the Friends of the Prodigal Son force him to drink. 7. The Confidants, the Friends, and the Siren strip the sleeping Prodigal Son and take flight. 8. The awakening and lamentations of the Prodigal Son. 9. Promenade of the Siren, the Confidants, and the Friends of the Prodigal Son, laden with their spoils.
III. 10. Return of the repentant Prodigal Son to the paternal home.

New Productions by Balanchine Companies: 1950, New York City Ballet: Scenery and costumes by Georges Rouault, recreated by Esteban Francés.

Video/DVD: 1995, Nonesuch, The Balanchine Library: Choreography by Balanchine [1978]; 2004, Kultur, Balanchine (I,1; III, 10: departure and homecoming; rehearsal with Balanchine).

Revisions: After the death of Diaghilev and the disbanding of his Ballets Russes, the Balanchine choreography for Le Fils Prodigue was not seen until it was revived for the New York City Ballet in 1950 as Prodigal Son. At that time and subsequently the cast of characters was listed somewhat differently: Servants became Sisters; Confidants became Servants; Friends became Drinking Companions. The number of Drinking Companions was smaller (12 in the original, 9 in the New York City Ballet revival). In 1977, the dances of the two Servants (men) were omitted from the New York City Ballet production; they were restored in the 1980 American Ballet Theatre staging. Longtime observers have noticed other changes, but Balanchine said that the choreography remained essentially the same.

See also: 267  

Television:    hide...
1973(ABC, Wide World of Entertainment)
1975(French television)
1978(PBS, Dance in America)
1983(French television, Channel 2)
1984excerpts, including Balanchine in rehearsal (PBS, Dance in America, "Balanchine")
2001(Telemondis [France])
Source notes:    hide...

 Boris Kochno has corrected the general misunderstanding that the book for the ballet is based on a story by Pushkin. The printed program for the premiere performance names the conductor, Sergei Prokofiev, as l'auteur; this is repeated by Prokofiev in his Autobiography (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1959, p. 74), and by Robert Craft in Stravinsky in Pictures and Documents (p. 287). Grigoriev (The Diaghilev Ballet, p. 278) names Roger Desormière as conductor, which Balanchine believed to be correct.

Stagings:    hide...

1950   New York City Ballet

1965   Dutch National Ballet

1966   Boston Ballet

1966   Tokyo Ballet Geikijo (disbanded)

1967   Ballett der Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna)

1967   National Ballet (Washington, DC, 1963-74)

1968   Royal Danish Ballet

1969   Royal Ballet

1973   Birmingham Royal Ballet/Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet

1973   Paris Opera Ballet

1973   Royal Ballet

1974   Geneva Ballet (Grand Theatre de Geneve [Ballet])

1974   Houston Ballet

1975   Chicago Ballet

1976   Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

1980   Houston Ballet

1981   American Ballet Theatre

1981   Royal Ballet

1982   Pacific Northwest Ballet

1984   Ballet Dallas

1984   San Francisco Ballet

1985   Ballett der Bayerischen Staatsoper (Munich)

1986   Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

1986   Kansas City Ballet

1986   Teatro alla Scala (Milan)

1987   American Ballet Theatre

1987   Miami City Ballet

1988   Ballett der Bayerischen Staatsoper (Munich)

1989   American Ballet Theatre

1989   Atlanta Ballet

1989   Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

1989   Les Grands Ballets Canadiens

1989   Dutch National Ballet

1989   Kansas City Ballet

1989   Paris Opera Ballet

1989   Pennsylvania Ballet

1989   Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

1990   Pacific Northwest Ballet

1991   Bolshoi Ballet

1991   Miami City Ballet

1992   Pennsylvania Ballet

1993   Paris Opera Ballet

1993   Royal Ballet

1994   Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse

1994   Birmingham Royal Ballet/Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet

1994   Ballett der Deutschen Oper (Berlin)

1994   Les Grands Ballets Canadiens

1994   Sacramento Ballet

1995   Ballett der Bayerischen Staatsoper (Munich)

1995   Dance Theatre of Harlem

1995   Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

1995   Paris Opera Ballet

1995   Teatro Comunale (Florence, Italy)

1996   Grand Theatre de Bordeaux

1996   Dutch National Ballet

1997   Ballet de Nancy (France)

1997   Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse

1997   Dance Theatre of Harlem

1997   Ballett der Deutschen Oper (Berlin)

1997   Hartford Ballet

1997   Texas Ballet (formerly Fort Worth Dallas Ballet)

1998   Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung (Munich, Germany)

1998   Kansas City Ballet

1998   Pennsylvania Ballet

1998   Sacramento Ballet

1999   Dance Theatre of Harlem

1999   Miami City Ballet

2000   Alberta Ballet

2000   American Ballet Theatre

2000   Joffrey Ballet

2000   Teatro alla Scala (Milan)

2001   Birmingham Royal Ballet/Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet

2001   Kirov Ballet

2001   Paris Opera Ballet

2002   Grand Theatre de Bordeaux

2003   Ballet Arizona

2003   Boston Ballet

2003   Dance Theatre of Harlem

2003   Paris Opera Ballet

2004   Birmingham Royal Ballet

2004   Dance Theatre of Harlem

2004   Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre

2004   Pacific Northwest Ballet

2005   Ballet Arlington

2005   Grand Theatre de Bordeaux

2005   Miami City Ballet

2005   K-Ballet (Tokyo)

2006   Pennsylvania Ballet

2008   Finnish National Ballet

2009   Los Angeles Ballet

2009   Grand Rapids Ballet

2009   Ballet West

2009   Dutch National Ballet (Amsterdam)

2009   K-Ballet (Tokyo)

2009   Hamburg Ballet

2010   Teatro alla Scala (Milan)

2011   Carolina Ballet

2011   Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

2011   Sarasota Ballet, The

2012   Polish National Ballet

2012   Suzanne Farrell Ballet

2013   Cincinnati Ballet

2013   Oregon Ballet Theatre

2014   Ballet du Capitole, Toulouse

2014   Joffrey Ballet

2015   Mariinsky Ballet

2015   Pacific Northwest Ballet

2015   Pennsylvania Ballet

2016   American Ballet Theatre

2016   Pacific Northwest Ballet

2017   Los Angeles Ballet

2017   San Francisco Ballet

2017   Washington Ballet

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