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Ballet in one act with choreography by Fokine, libretto by Benois, music by Rimsky-Korsakov (the symphonic suite Scheherazade minus its 3rd part), and design by Bakst. Premiered 4 Jun. 1910 by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes at Paris Opera, with Ida Rubinstein, Cecchetti, and Nijinsky. It is based on the first story from A Thousand and One Nights in which the women of the Shah's harem persuade the Chief Eunuch to admit the male slaves to their quarters while their master is absent. In the orgy that follows the Shah returns to discover his favourite concubine Zobeide consorting with the beautiful Golden Slave. The latter is killed and Zobeide is forced to stab herself. Bakst's designs with their revealing oriental costumes and voluptuous palette of colours were considered almost as daring as the graphic eroticism of the dancing and mime. It has been revived by many companies including London Festival Ballet in Beriozoff's 1952 staging, and the Kirov in A. Liepa and I. Fokine's 1993 staging, although its exoticism and sexuality seem, inevitably, rather tame to modern audiences. Other new versions include V. Panov's for Vienna State Opera Ballet (1981). Ravel also composed a Shéhérazade which has been choreographed by, among others, G. Murphy (Sydney Dance Company, 1979) and Petit (1974).

Subjects: Dance.

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