Stage version after Lope de Vega’s play Fuente Ovejuna
Music revised for the Mikhailovsky Theatre
Choreography by Vakhtang Chabukiani revised by Mikhail Messerer
Stage and Costume Design: Vadim Ryndin
Production: Mikhail Messerer
Designers of the revival: Oleg Molchanov (sets), Vyacheslav Okunev (costumes)
Lighting Designer: Mikhail Mekler
Music Director of the production: Valery Ovsyanikov
Sets and costumes produced at the Vozrozhdenie Theatrical Design Studios
Premiere at the Mikhailovsky Theatre: 5 June 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.
Scene oneThe 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 twoIn 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.