Music by Alexander Glazunov, libretto by Lidia Pashkova and Marius Petipa, choreography by Marius Petipa, revised version by Konstantin Sergeyev with choreographic fragments by Fyodor Lopukhov
The Mariinsky Orchestra and Ballet
Raymonda, an Imperial Ballet in three acts, choreographed by Marius Petipa to music by Alexander Glazunov, premièred in 1898 when he was 80 years old. It was his last masterpiece. The production, revised by Konstantin Sergeyev in 1948, has been in the Russian repertoire ever since. The present performance, conducted by Valery Gergiev, was televised in 2018.
The opportunities to see the ballet outside of Russia are rare. The storyline, based on a medieval legend, is so thin that emotionally it never engages.
Raymonda (Viktoria Tereshkina), a French noblewoman, is engaged to a Christian knight, Jean de Brienne (Xander Parish). Whilst he is away on a crusade, Abderakhman (Konstantin Zverev), a Saracen knight, attempts to seduce her. De Brienne returns just in time to kill him as he is about to abduct her. Their marriage is celebrated by a lavish Hungarian divertissement.
There is no characterisation. Raymonda is a showcase for the ballerina who plays the title role. It is one of ballet’s most demanding roles with five big solos, relying on flawless classical technique.
Viktoria Tereshkina’s virtuoso performance is particular impressive. She commands the stage with her beauty, grace and skill. Parish, a regular partner, cool, calm, classical, provides her with valuable physical support, notably in the high lifts. Zverev has the much more temperamental role and he provides the barbaric, menacing presence.
The ballet offers over two hours of divertissements. A major reward for audiences is Glazunov’s unfailingly melodious score.
Reviewer: Robert Tanitch