Scenario by Igor Stravinsky and Alexandre Benois
Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris
Michel Fokine, choreographer / Ballets Russes / Orchestre du Théâtre du Châtelet / Pierre Monteux
Stravinsky first envisioned "a puppet suddenly endowed with life, exasperating the patience of the orchestra with diabolical cascades of arpeggi." The puppet became Petrushka, the Slavic Pierrot – in Stravinsky's works, "the immortal and unhappy hero of every fair in all countries." As theater, Petrushka is both comic and harrowing. In concert, the four scenes of the ballet are typically performed complete – but are readily compressed. According to Eric Walter White: "When a shorter version is preferred, one can start with the Legerdemain Scene in Scene One followed by the Russian Dance and Scenes Two and Four. In order to shorten the final movement, Stravinsky occasionally authorized the use of the special nine-bar concert ending after the Masqueraders' Scene."
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to Boosey & Hawkes/Joseph Horowitz.