Mily Balakirev


ballet in one act

Recommended age 16+


Michel Fokine's original choreography of 1912 was lost

Choreography: Jurijus Smoriginas
Staging: People’s Artist of Russia Andris Liepa
Musical director: Honoured Artist of Ukraine Viktor Ploskina
Sets and costumes: Leon Bakst
Reconstruction of sets and costumes: Anna Nezhnaya
Artistic heads: People’s Artists of Russia Andrey Petrov and Andris Liepa
Conductor: Honoured Art Worker of the Republic of Belarus  Nikolai Koliadko
Running time: 50 minutes
Premiere: 9 November 2011


Where waves of the Terek are waltzing
In Dariel's wickedest pass,
There rises from bleakest of storm crags
An ancient grey towering mass.

In this tower by mad winds assaulted,
Sat ever Tamara, the Queen--
A heavenly angel of beauty,
With a spirit of hell's own demesne.

Through the mist of the night her gold fires
Gleamed down through the valley below,
A welcome they threw to the pilgrim,
In their streaming and beckoning glow.

How clear rang the voice of Tamara!
How amorous did it invite!
The heart of the stranger enticing,
Seducing with magic delight!

The warrior was snared by her singing,
Nor noble, nor herd could withstand--
Then noiseless her portal was opened
By eunuchs of shadowy hand.

With pearls rare adorned and strange jewels,
Reposed on a billowy nest,
A prey to voluptuous longing,
Tamara awaited her guest.

With passioned and thrilling embracement,
With straining of breast unto breast,
With sighing and trembling and transport--
In lust's unrestrained, giddy zest--

So revelled 'mid desolate ruins,
Of Lovers,--past counting at least!
In their bridal night's wild distraction,
And in truth at their own death feast.

For when from the peaks of the mountains
The sun tore the night's veiling soft,
There reigned anew only the silence
On turret and casement aloft.

And only the Terek bewailing
With fury broke in on the hush,
As dashing her billows on billows
Her writhing floods onward did rush.

A youth's form her currents are bearing,
Ah vainly they murmur and swell!
A woman, a pale and a fair one--
Cries down from her tower 'Farewell!'

Her voice has the sound of faint weeping,
So amorous, tender and sweet--
As if she in love's holy rapture
Did promise of meeting repeat!

M.Yu. Lermontov, 1841

The sound of a pipe is heard over the waves of the stormy Terek. Silhouettes of men appear from the deep. Thamar appears. Men draw hands to her. Visions disappear. The tower of the Georgian castle, bed with a beautiful curtains. Vizier with two servants protects Tamara’s rest. He is secretly in love with her sovereign, but he knows that she is waiting for a meeting with a new Traveler. At the pride of the feast the scouts bring wrapped in a carpet young Traveler. Georgian women and warriors with interest examine the youth, dressed in Circassian coat. Tamara begins seducing feminine dance; all the guests come under its magic. Vizier appears. Tamara dances with the excited youth. He does not notice jealous looks of Vizier. The fest ends. In the bedroom, near her bed, Tamara appears with the Traveler. Vizier suffers. Every new traveler arouses awful jealousy and anger in his heart. Young Traveler is conquered by her beauty and Tamara’s arising return affections. She suddenly disappears, leaving the youth alone. Eight scouts that together with Vizier burst into and capture the Traveler. Struggle begins. Vizier deals a deathblow in the heart of the youth. Men carry away the lifeless body of the Traveler. Tamara appears. She sees how the servants carry away the wrapped in a carpet dead body of the youth. He is thrown into rough waters of Terek over which the sound of the pipe is heard again. Dead young men rise from the water. They draw their hands towards the desired beauty. Tamara appears in the arms of one of the phantom men.