Cesare Pugni
La Esmeralda

romantic ballet in three acts

Wednesday | 22 May 2024|19:00

Age 12+

Дирижер – Николай Колядко


Libretto: Jules Perrot based on the novel by Victor Hugo Notre Dame de Paris
Choreography: Jules Perrot, Marius Petipa
Staging: People’s Artist of the USSR Nikita Dolgushin
Musical director: Honoured Art Worker of the Republic of Belarus Nikolai Koliadko
Designer: People's Artist of Russia, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Vyacheslav Okunev
Adviser: People’s Artist of Russia Pyotr Gusev
Assistant ballet master: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Aleksandra Tikhomirova
Conductor:  honoured Art Worker of the Republic of Belarus Nikolai Koliadko  
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes with two intervals
Premiere: 1 December 1999


Эсмеральда – Надежда Филиппова

Пьер Гренгуар – Степан Колчук (1-е исп.)

Клод Фролло – Алексей Бояринов

Квазимодо – Артем Задворнов

Феб – Денис Шпак

Флер – Витория Мартини (1-е исп.)

Пастораль «Диана и Актеон»:

Диана – Алина Руденко

Актеон – Владимир Руда

Act 1

Scene 1

A poet Pierre Gringoire by name accidentally finds himself in a shelter of tramps, beggars and thieves, called the Court Yard of Miracles. The leader of the tramps, Clopin Trouillefou, not seeing any good in the poor bard, orders to hang him. The execution can be cancelled if any woman from the Court Yard of Miracles agrees to become Pierre's wife. But no one wants to marry the poor poet. And only everybody’s favourite, the gypsy street dancer Esmeralda, feeling sorry for Gringoire, agrees to become his wife. The inhabitants of the Court Yard of Miracles boisterously celebrate their wedding.

The hunchback Quasimodo attempts to kidnap Esmeralda under order of his master the priest Claude Frollo, who is madly in love with her. A night patrol headed by Captain Phoebus comes to the rescue of the young woman. Phoebus frees Esmeralda from Quasimodo’s clutch. But Frollo manages to get away.

Captivated by the beauty of Esmeralda, Phoebus gives her his scarf as a keepsake. It doesn’t even matter to him that it is his fiancée’s present. Yielding to the gipsy’s request he lets the hunchback go, and asks for a kiss as a reward. But the girl slips out of his embrace.

Scene 2
Alone in her room Esmeralda admires Phoebus’ present. Thinking of the officer she writes his name everywhere. Gringoire appears. He tries to hug his young wife, but in response to his persistence Esmeralda brandishes a dagger at him – he can only be her companion and can only dance with her in the streets. Gringoire is forced to obey and leaves.
Leaving Quasimodo at the threshold, Claude Frollo sneaks into Esmeralda’s room. He has been in love with the girl for a long time and asks her to return his feeling. Esmeralda explains that she loves a young officer and tells the priest to leave. Beside himself with rage Frollo nurtures revenge.

Act 2

Scene 3
In a house of a noble lady Aloise de Gondelaurier everyone is getting ready for the wedding ceremony of Fleur-de-Lys and Phoebus. Upon entering the room Phoebus kisses his fiancée’s hand absent-mindedly. Fleur is surprised that her fiancé is not wearing the scarf she gave him.

The celebration begins. Fleur’s friends, dressed in ancient costumes, take part in the event. Esmeralda and Gringoire are among the gypsies who sing and dance to the accompaniment of the tambourines. It is not easy for the young dancer to witness Phoebus’ wedding. Gringoire’s attempts to comfort her are futile.

Fleur notices Phoebus’s scarf on the gypsy and shocked at the betrayal, snatches the scarf from Esmeralda’s hands and heaps reproaches on her fiancé.
Saving Esmeralda from the enraged aristocrats, Gringoire sneaks her out of Aloise de Gondelaurier’s house. Phoebus rushes after them.

Act 3
Scene 4

A tavern on the outskirts of Paris. Waiting for Esmeralda, Frollo hides there.
Phoebus and Esmeralda appear. Phoebus vows eternal love to the girl. The gypsy listens to the officer’s passionate declarations with trepidation.
From his  hiding place Claude Frollo observes the beloved with jealousy. Not being able to stand it any longer, he attacks Phoebus with a dagger. The patrol arrives and leads Esmeralda away: Claude accuses her of the officer’s murder.

Scene 5

The square in front of Notre Dame de Paris. The medieval fest of jesters is in full swing. In keeping with the tradition the ugliest person is chosen to be ‘the father of the jesters’. This time it is Quasimodo, the bell-ringer of the cathedral.
Claude Frollo appears. He angrily accuses Quasimodo of blasphemy.
Suddenly the celebration is interrupted by a somber procession: Esmeralda is led to the execution.
The gypsy says goodbye to her friends and clasping  the scarf of her darling to her bosom departs once and for all.

“La Esmeralda” has quiet advanced age. This ‘little Gipsy’ is half a century old. The ballet has absorption of strata of romantic and academic performance. As its ‘parents’ were the Great romanticist Jules Perrot and the Great choreographer Marius Petipa. It fell into my hands from no less famous professionals than the other ones – from the toiler of ballet matters Pyotr Gusev and from a famous performer of Esmeralda’s role Tatiana Vecheslova, who portrayed the source material in a very secure and scrupulous way.
I hope that the atmosphere of this performance, together with its attractive dance and pantomime forms, its richness of content and faithfulness to the spirit of Victor Hugo’s novel will make the Belarusian ballet troupe excited and, as a result, the audience and the guests of the theatre will also be anxious. I’m absolutely sure that true values of the musical theatre will be understood and will be needed to the contemporary audience. And this is the main aim of Art – to be asked-for.
Nikita Dolgushin