La Source

Quick Reference

Ballet in three acts with choreography by Saint-Léon, libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter, music by Minkus (1st and 4th scene) and Delibes (2nd and 3rd scene), sets by E. Desplechin, J. -B. Lavastre, A. Rubé, and Chapérone, and costumes by P. Loumier and Albert. Premiered 12 Nov. 1866 at the Paris Opera with Salvioni as Naila (replacing the injured Grantzow on whom the role had been conceived), Fiocre, and Mérante. It was created in an attempt to revive the public's flagging interest in ballet and combined spectacular stage effects with virtuoso dancing and a populist score. It tells the story of Naila, Spirit of the Spring, who is protected by the hunter Djemil from a gypsy who is threatening to poison her water. In return she helps Djemil to win his beloved Nouredda. Though the ballet made little lasting impact, it established a creative relationship between Nuitter, Saint-Léon, and Delibes which achieved much greater success in Coppélia. Saint-Léon choreographed a new version of the ballet as Le Lys for St Petersburg in 1869 and re-staged it as Naila for the Vienna Court Opera in 1878. Other productions include A. Koppini (staged after Saint-Léon as Ruchei, St Petersburg, 1902) and Vaganova and Ponomarev (staged after Saint-Léon as Naila, Leningrad, 1925). Staats choreographed a new version as Soir de fête using H. Busser's arrangement of the score (Paris Opera, 1925), and pas de deux versions were choreographed by Cranko (Stuttgart Ballet, 1964) and Balanchine (New York City Ballet, 1968, re-staged with additional ensemble in 1969).

Subjects: Dance.

Reference entries