(orig. Russ. title Legenda o liubvi)
Ballet in three acts with choreography by Grigorovich, libretto by Nazim Hikmet, music by Arif Melikov, and design by Simon Virsaladze. Premiered 23 Mar. 1961 by the Kirov, Leningrad, with Kolpakova, Moisseyeva, Gribov, and Gridin. It is based on a play by the Turkish writer N. Hikmet and explores the conflict between love and duty through the story of its heroine, Queen Mekhmene-Banu. She sacrifices her beauty to save the life of her ailing sister Shirien, but regrets her action when Shirien falls in love with her own lover, the painter Ferkhad. On her orders, he sacrifices his love for Shirien to go and build a waterway through the Iron Mountain to bring water to his thirsty people. Unusually for its era, the work eschewed the mime-orientated narrative of much Soviet ballet, relying on pure dance to tell the story. It was re-staged for the Bolshoi (by Grigorovich) in 1965 and was frequently performed in E. Europe.