The plot of the ballet “Cinderella” by the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev is based on a famous fairy tale by the writer Charles Perrault about a poor girl who was made a servant by her evil stepmother for her and her daughters. This story has repeatedly inspired composers from different countries who have created many musical works based on the fairy tale. A very notable work among them is the opera by composer Rossini “Cinderella.” Even the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow was opened with the ballet “Cinderella”, which was written by the composer F. Sora.
History of the magic ballet “Cinderella” by Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev got the idea of writing a ballet “Cinderella” after he finished the ballet “Romeo and Juliet”. Galina Ulanova – who performed as the leading lady Juliet at the time – has impressed the composer so much, that he decided to write his next ballet just for her.
The composer wrote in his dairy, that he wanted the ballet to be very danceableso that the artists were able to show all their dancing skills to the full. Sergei Prokofiev planned to compose his new work in the classical ballet genre, where melodic transitions are shaded by refined stylization of court dances, grotesque exaggerated images of ugly sisters and grumpy stepmother, and fine melodic line of the main heroine, Cinderella.
The process of composing the ballet had been quite successful until 1941. By that time the Russian composer has written two acts. But the sudden onset of the World War II ruined the possibility of his further progress. Prokofiev had to postpone writing the ballet. Sergei Prokofiev switched to creating a patriotic opera “War and Peace”, which fully captured the Russian composer.
Only in 1943 the composer was able to finish writing the music for “Cinderella”, when he arrived in Perm, where the librettist Volkov was living as well. After discussing all the details of the ballet, Prokofiev was able to return to Moscow to finish his work.
The first premiere of the ballet “Cinderella” was held in 1945 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
The ballet “Cinderella” is the pinnacle of creative career of Prokofiev in the ballet genre. The Russian composer was able to continue the reform of ballet begun by Peter Tchaikovsky. Prokofiev departed from the classical canons of the ballet, striving for symphonic quality of ballet and developing psychological portraits of its characters. Unusually heartfelt lyrical music of “Cinderella”, a light fairy-tale plot and dancing extravaganza brought a worldwide fame to this Soviet ballet.
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