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Laurencia

ballet in two acts
music by Alexander Krein

1 hour 50 minutes
one interval
12+for viewers above the age of 12
Laurencia
 
Credits

Stage version after Lope de Vega’s play Fuente Ovejuna
Music edited by Dmitry Zubov
Choreography: Vakhtang Chabukiani revised by Mikhail Messerer
Production: Mikhail Messerer
Stage and Costume Design: Vadim Ryndin
Designers of the revival: Oleg Molchanov (sets), Vyacheslav Okunev (costumes)
Lighting Designer: Mikhail Mekler
Music Director of the revival and Conductor: Valery Ovsyanikov

Partner of the production

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Premiere at the Mikhailovsky Theatre: June 5, 2010

To celebrate the centenary of the birth of choreographer Vakhtang Chabukiani, the Mikhailovsky Theatre presents the revival of his masterpiece Laurencia based on the play Fuente Ovejuna by Lope de Vega. Chabukiani created a new choreographic language by means of his own particular blend of folk dance and classical ballet. In this ballet, to the upbeat music by Alexander Krein, Chabukiani asserts the importance of male dance, furthering the notion of the ‘heroic’ style. Laurencia was premiered in 1939 in the Kirov Theatre. Leading roles were performed by Natalia Dudinskaya (Laurencia), Vakhtang Chabukiani (Frondoso) and Tatiana Vecheslova (Pascuala). In 1956, the ballet was staged at the Bolshoi Theatre where Vakhtang Chabukiani partnered Maya Plisetskaya. In 2010, after decades of absence from the Russian stage the ballet was revived for the Mikhailovsky Theatre by Mikhail Messerer.

Act I

Scene one

The harsh sound of military music is heard and the Commander appears. The people give him a cautious welcome, but he does not pay much notice: his attention is drawn to the beautiful Laurencia. Ordering everyone to disperse, the Commander detains only her. Her friend Pascuala remains with her. Laurencia rejects the Commander’s advances. Annoyed, the Commander orders his soldiers to bring Laurencia and Pascuala to his castle, but the girls manage to escape.

Scene two

In a secluded location by a forest stream, Frondoso reveals his feelings to Laurencia. But the capricious girl responds evasively. The sound of a hunting horn is heard. It is the Commander out hunting in the forest. Soon he appears before Laurencia and tries to kiss her. Frondoso fearlessly throws himself at the Commander, saving Laurencia from her hated admirer. The Commander vows revenge on both of them.

A group of girls come to the stream to wash clothes. They are more occupied with chatting than laundry, especially as Mengo also arrives: it is always fun when he is there.
Jacinta runs in, chased by soldiers. Mengo defends Jacinta, but the soldiers knock him down. The Commander returns. Jacinta begs for his protection, but he hands her over to the soldiers.

Laurencia, now convinced of Frondoso’s faithfulness, bravery and devotion, agrees to marry him.

Act II

Scene three

The whole village merrily celebrates Laurencia and Frondoso’s wedding. One dance follows another, but the merrymaking is interrupted when the Commander appears, looking sombre. He has come to take his revenge. He gives orders for Frondoso to be imprisoned and Laurencia to be taken to his castle.The people are horrified.

Scene four

At night the men gather together in the forest. They know they must fight the tyrant, but from fear and indecision they merely clench their fists and utter curses, they do not act. Laurencia enters unsteadily, battered and with her dress torn, but her will is strong and she is filled with fury. She shames the men for their inaction and calls on them to rise up and fight. Her impassioned call fills their hearts with courage. All the village women support Laurencia. The people of Fuente Ovejuna decide to enter the Commander’s castle.

Scene five

Armed with knives, scythes, clubs, and sticks, the people storm in the inner rooms of the castle like a fearsome tidal wave. They free Frondoso from incarceration and set off to get even with the Commander. He tries to flee, but the peasants capture him. He offers them gold to let him go, but is met by an indignant refusal. The dead tyrant’s helmet set up on the pole symbolizes the victory of the people of Fuente Ovejuna.