sprookjes vuurvogel

5 reasons to look forward to … Stravinsky Fairy Tales

7 May 2024

1  Two masterpieces by Igor Stravinsky

When Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) witnessed a performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet Sleeping Beauty in 1890, he was instantly captivated. This sparked a lifelong fascination with ballet and Tchaikovsky, culminating in some of Stravinsky's most phenomenal ballet compositions. In Stravinsky Fairy Tales, you will experience his Le baiser de la fée (The Fairy's Kiss) and L'Oiseau de feu (The Firebird) – two exquisite pieces of music as enchantingly whimsical as the tales they are based on. Stravinsky composed both works in the early twentieth century for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

2  And two masterpieces by Alexei Ratmansky 

Just as Stravinsky found inspiration in Tchaikovsky as a boy, the Russian-American choreographer Alexei Ratmansky was enchanted by Stravinsky’s music from a young age. Ratmansky, one of today's foremost classical ballet choreographers, excels at reinterpreting famous ballets and fairy tales. In Stravinsky Fairy Tales, Dutch National Ballet performs Ratmansky's ballets The Fairy's Kiss and Firebird, set to Stravinsky's iconic scores of the same names. This season also sees the European premiere of The Fairy’s Kiss.

3  Enthralling fairy tales 

As captivating as Stravinsky’s compositions are the stories behind the two ballets. The first, based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Ice Maiden, tells of a boy saved from a snowstorm by a fairy's kiss, only to be claimed by her on his wedding day. Ratmansky's ballet transforms this tale into a narrative about a choreographer unable to escape his fate. In Firebird, he brings to life an ancient Russian legend about the young Prince Ivan, who captures a magical firebird in an enchanted garden. When she breaks free, she gives Ivan a feather that will save him in times of need.

4  Spectacular dressing

Ratmansky collaborated with various artistic teams to dress these Stravinsky ballets, resulting in two visually stunning spectacles, each with unique flair. The set and costumes for The Fairy’s Kiss were designed by Jérôme Kaplan, who previously created the elegant, colourful costumes for the widely acclaimed Don Quixote that Ratmansky staged for Dutch National Ballet in 2010.

5  Farewell to principal conductor Matthew Rowe

During Stravinsky Fairy Tales, Dutch Ballet Orchestra will be conducted by Principal Conductor Matthew Rowe. This performance marks Rowe’s final appearance as Principal Conductor of the Dutch Ballet Orchestra and Music Director of Dutch National Ballet. At the end of the season, he will relinquish this special dual role, which he has held since 2012, and pass the baton to Belgian conductor Koen Kessels.