Shéhérazade / Les Biches / Once Upon An Ever After

Choreography Mikhail Fokine / Bronislawa Nijinska / Terence Kohler · Composer Nikolai Rimski-Korsakow / Francis Poulenc / Peter I. Tschaikowksy

Friday, 16. October 2009
07:30 pm – 10:30 pm

Duration est. 3 hours · Shéhérazade (est. 07:30 pm - 08:15 pm ) · Interval (est. 08:15 pm - 08:35 pm ) · Les Biches (est. 08:35 pm - 09:10 pm ) · Interval (est. 09:10 pm - 09:40 pm ) · Once Upon An Ever After (est. 09:40 pm - 10:25 pm )

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Bayerisches Staatsorchester


Musikalische Leitung
Valery Ovsyanikov
Choreographische Rekonstruktion
Isabelle Fokine
Mikhail Fokine
Nikolai Rimski-Korsakow
Bühne und Kostüme nach den Original-Entwürfen von
Léon Bakst
Christian Kass
Realisierung Bühnenbild
Ulrich Franz
Realisierung Kostüme
Astrid Eisenberger

Roberta Fernandes
Der Goldene Sklave
Lukáš Slavický
Cyril Pierre
Schah Zeman
Norbert Graf
Erster Eunuch
Vincent Loermans
Drei Odalisken
Martina Balabanova
Drei Odalisken
Daria Sukhorukova
Drei Odalisken
Ekaterina Petina

Les Biches

Bronislawa Nijinska
Francis Poulenc
Bühne und Kostüme
Marie Laurencin
Christian Kass

Dame des Hauses
Zuzana Zahradníková
Dame in Blau
Daria Sukhorukova
Drei Athleten
Nour El Desouki
Drei Athleten
Maxim Chashchegorov
Drei Athleten
Matej Urban
Mädchen in Grau
Mai Kono
Mädchen in Grau
Elena Karpuhina

Once Upon An Ever After

Terence Kohler
Peter I. Tschaikowsky
Bühne, Kostüme und Lichtinstallation

Ilana Werner
Roberta Fernandes
Séverine Ferrolier
Variation II
Zuzana Zahradníková
Lucia Lacarra
Alen Bottaini
Marlon Dino
Nour El Desouki
Variation I
Lukáš Slavický
Vincent Loermans
  • Ensemble of the Bayerisches Staatsballett
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
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The Ballets Russes, a formation brought together by Serge Diaghilew in the early 19th century, truly crossed boundaries and reconciled the arts. Their productions were all at once: Ecstatic forays into the past, saturated with the lushest and most vibrant colours, indulging in excess, and of the strictest formal purity – in short, synonymous for avant-garde.

After their triumphant first season in Paris in 1909, the Ballets Russes quickly took the world by storm. At the same time as this unique group made its first appearances in Germany, catapulting its audiences into a state of frenzy, Germany's own dance scene was celebrating equally revolutionary changes. The stylistic heterogeneity of the works by the Ballets Russes, the mysterious mixture of contemporaneity, opulence and exoticism has lost none of its fascination. In staging Les Ballets Russes, the Bavarian State Ballet stayed true to its commitment to critically engaging with works of the past.

Shéhérazade, a tragic tale of love, desire and death which seemed almost lost to posterity, was fastidiously reconstructed, as was Les Biches, a humourous episode set in the Côte d'Azur of the 1902s and exuding the charm, frivolity and eroticism.

Once upon an ever after – an evocative title derivative of fairytale syntax since time immemorial. Terence Kohler's choreography, set to Tschaikowky's – who else!? – Pathétique, is a journey through dance history which redistributes and -interprets staple figures of classical Russian narrative ballet. Giselle and Albrecht are driven away by Rotbart, who is later barred from entering Auroras castle by briars… This to and fro, this flitting through narrative structures and plot lines is mirrored constantly and "ever after" in the artist rosalie's superb light-object stage design for Kohler's creation.


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When the curtain rises the Shah Sharyar is seated on the divan with his favourite wife, Zobéide, on his left hand and his brother, Shah Zeman, on his right. Zobéide solicits the caresses of her lord, but he is in an angry mood, for his brother has hinted that his wives are unfaithful. Sharyar summons the chief Eunuch, who commands three odalisques to entertain their lord with dances. But he soon tires of them and announces his intention of starting on a hunting expedition. The women entreat him to stay, but Zobéide suspects that the journey is a pretext of the Shahriar to seek the favours of another. But he is not to be deterred, and accompanied by his brother, passes out of the harem.

As soon as he is gone the women throng about the blue doors, then bring out caskets of jewels, with which they adorn themselves. Presently two of their number depart and return with the Chief Eunuch, whom they bribe to open the doors. From the first comes a group of slaves in rose, from the second a similar group in green. With ingratiating leers they soon make love to the women and, seizing the objects of their admiration, disappear among the shadows. The Chief Eunuch is now approached by Zobéide who bids him open the last door, which he does in great fear of the consequences. From this door emerges a single slave clad in gold, who fawns at Zobéide’s feet. Fruit and wine is brought in and musicians inflame passions with the thrumming of their tambourines. The women and slaves begin a dance which grows more and more passionate and soon becomes a wild orgy. As the orgy reaches its height, there return Shahriar, mad with rage, and his brother. With a dramatic gesture Shahriar raises his hand and guards, armed with flashing scimitars, pour into the harem and cut down slaves and women. The golden slave is the last to be slain.

Shahriar confronts Zobéide, sad at heart, that she, too, has proved unfaithful. He is minded to pardon her, when his brother indicates the body of her lover. At this his rage rekindles and he motions to the guards, but Zobéide snatches a dagger from the nearest and kills herself. As she expires, Shahriar buries his face in his hands.


Scene and time: A summer afternoon on the Côte d’Azur; a villa with wide open windows and undoubtedly also open doors, furnished with an atmosphere of luxurious minimalism, favoured by the fashionable interior designers of the nineteen-twenties.

Dramatis personae: A crowd of young women (the “Biches” of the title*), a mysterious figure in blue, the sophisticated hostess and three rather sportive lads who in their tight-fitting bathing costumes cause the inevitable erotic confusion among the female element.

A frivolous game of flirtation (and behind the scenes maybe more than that): a mixture of giggling naivety and snobbery, the portrait of an age and a society, “the most stylish ballet ever invented”. It is a playful, slightly spiteful comment on the kind of fashionable party in which – although mirrored in a clearly defined epoch – the luxury craving “smart set” of all times can recognize themselves. 

With this work Bronislawa Nijinska pioneered neoclassicism in ballet, long before George Balanchine. After Fokine’s reforms and the avant-garde experiments of her brother Vaslav, Bronislawa Nijinska again used the pure, classical vocabulary in her choreographies, expressive both of the music and the dramatic situation, in a masterly way. The greatness of the music, choreography and setting allows “Les Biches” to transcend its era and speak to the discerning public of each new generation. 

*Les Biches is French for the young hinds, but figuratively also used for young ladies.

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Das Bayerische Staatsorchester ist eines der ältesten und traditionsreichsten Orchester der Welt. Aus der Münchner Hofkapelle hervorgegangen, lassen sich seine Ursprünge bis in das Jahr 1523 zurückverfolgen; der erste berühmte Leiter des Ensembles war von 1563 an Orlando di Lasso. Stand zunächst die Kirchenmusik im Zentrum, kamen im Laufe des 17. Jahrhunderts mehr und mehr weltliche Konzerte und Opernaufführungen hinzu. In der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts begann der regelmäßige Operndienst, der bis heute die Hauptaufgabe des Orchesters ausmacht.

Im Jahre 1811 wurde von den Musikern des Hofopernorchesters der Verein der Musikalischen Akademie gegründet, der die erste öffentliche Konzertreihe in München, die „Akademiekonzerte“, ins Leben rief. Die Musikalische Akademie mit ihren symphonischen, kammermusikalischen und musikpädagogischen Aktivitäten ist seither ein prägender Bestandteil des Münchner und des bayerischen Musiklebens.

Unter den vielen großen Komponisten, mit denen das Orchester verbunden war, ragt Richard Wagner heraus. 1865 dirigierte Hans von Bülow die Uraufführung von Wagners Tristan und Isolde. Auch dessen Opern Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Das Rheingold und Die Walküre wurden in München uraufgeführt.

Viele der bedeutendsten Dirigenten ihrer Zeit, von Richard Strauss über Bruno Walter und Hans Knappertsbusch bis zu Georg Solti, Joseph Keilberth, Wolfgang Sawallisch und Zubin Mehta, haben dem Orchester als Chef vorgestanden. Auch mit Carlos Kleiber verband das Orchester eine enge Beziehung. Auf Kent Nagano folgte als neuer Bayerischer Generalmusikdirektor Kirill Petrenko, der mit Beginn der Spielzeit 2013/14 sein Amt antrat. 2016 war das Orchester mit Kirill Petrenko auf Europatournee und gab Konzerte unter anderem in Mailand, Paris, Berlin und Wien. 2017 fand neben dem Japan-Gesamtgastspiel der Bayerischen Staatsoper eine Asien-Tournee statt, im Jahr darauf standen Konzerte in Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), New York (Carnegie Hall) und London (Barbican Centre) auf dem Spielplan. 2019 gastierte das Orchester im neuen Konzertsaal von Lugano und im Wiener Konzerthaus; mit dem Programm des 1. Akademiekonzerts 2020/21 war es – erstmals unter seinem künftigen Chefdirigenten – zu Gast im KKL Luzern.

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