The Making of a Snow Queen
This is the beginning of a background article (in English and in Czech) by The Czech National Ballet, which can be found in our “Re:Source” section.
The Snow Queen: A Gleaming Spectacle
First premiere performance: 3 March 2016
Second premiere performance: 4 March 2016
Further performances: 6, 18, 19, and 22 March; 7 and 14 May, 2016
This is the story – which needs no introduction – of the cruel queen who casts a spell on the boy Kay by means of a shard from her magic mirror and imprisons him in her realm, where there is no room for love. A ballet adaptation of the tale was created for the English National Ballet by the renowned English choreographer Michael Corder, to Sergey Prokofiev’s music.
Michael Corder’s ballet The Snow Queen is set to music from a lesser-known Prokofiev ballet: his final stage work, The Tale of the Stone Flower, written between 1948 and 1953. The music possesses an immense Neo-Romantic charm and brilliant orchestration, and abounds in colour.
Under the pressure of the artistic censorship in the former Soviet Union, Prokofiev and his wife decided to base the work on an old folk tale from the Ural Mountains. Though safe from allegations of “formalism”, the scenario featuring Danilo, his bride Katerina, and the Mistress of the Copper Mountain lacked the dramatic potency of either Romeo and Juliet or Cinderella. Naturally, there have been several famous adaptations of The Stone Flower, with one of the most noteworthy being Yuri Grigorovich’s 1957 production for the Kirov Theatre in Leningrad. Prague National Theatre audiences saw a staging of Prokofiev’s The Stone Flower choreographed and directed by Jiří Němeček (1960–1967, 1980–1987).
The story of Andersen’s The Snow Queen is centred on a triangle of characters very similar to the three protagonists of The Stone Flower – Kay (Danilo), Gerda (Katerina), and the Snow Queen (the Mistress of the Copper Mountain). …
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Photo Credits: Pavel Hejný