Music: By Igor Stravinsky (1909-10, dedicated to Andrei Rimsky- Korsakov [third ballet suite, for reduced orchestra, 1945]).
Choreography: By George Balanchine.
Production: Scenery and costumes by Marc Chagall (from the Ballet Theatre production, 1945). Scenery executed by Eugene B. Dunkel Studios; costumes executed by Edith Lutyens. Lighting by Jean Rosenthal.
Premiere: November 27, 1949, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama, New York. Conductor: Leon Barzin.
Firebird, Maria Tallchief; Prince Ivan, Francisco Moncion; Prince's Bride, Pat McBride; Kastchei, Edward Bigelow; Chief Monster, Beatrice Tompkins; 8 Maidens, 19 Monsters.
Note: Balanchine's 1949 production of Firebird was made with the assistance of Stravinsky. Balanchine had danced in Lopukhov's production in Petrograd in 1921, and during his years with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes performed Kastchei in Fokine's version of 1910; Lincoln Kirstein saw him dance this role in 1926. Balanchine's setting of Firebird brought the New York City Ballet and Maria Tallchief to international attention and provided the new company with its first major success.
New Productions by Balanchine Companies: New York City Ballet: 1970, new scenery from Chagall designs executed under the supervision of Volodia Odinokov, costumes by Karinska, lighting by Ronald Bates; 1972, 1980, new costumes for Firebird by Karinska (uncredited on programs).
Film: 1989, Seahorse Films, Dancing for Mr. B (excerpts from BERCEUSE).
Video/DVD: 1995, Nonesuch, The Balanchine Library: Dancing for Mr. B (excerpts from BERCEUSE).
Archival Video: George Balanchine Foundation Interpreters Archive (BERCEUSE), 1996; (Firebird solo, pas de deux, BERCEUSE), 1998.
Revisions: New York City Ballet: 1970, largely rechoreographed; choreography for Monsters by Jerome Robbins; 1972 (Stravinsky Festival), choreography for Firebird made more stately, with few dance steps; new costume with long train and large wings (modified in 1974); 1980, revised choreography for Firebird incorporating some passages from 1949 version; gold costume and lighter train.