Choreography by Marius Petipa
Staging and Additional Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky
Assisted by Tatiana Ratmansky
Music by Ricardo Drigo
Scenery and Costumes by Robert Perdziola (inspired by Orest Allegri and Ivan Vsevolozhsky)
First performed: 1900 at the Hermitage Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the title Les Millions d’Arlequin
Harlequin and his love, Columbine, as well as their friends, Pierrot and Pierrette, have been enchanting audiences since at least the late 16thcentury. They were principal characters of the commedia dell’arte, which traveled all over Europe with its stock characters recognizable by everyone and stories that had been around for centuries. The stories are timeless and pop up in other ballets. This one – of a pretty young girl who falls in love with a poor young man to the displeasure of her father, who wants to marry her off to a totally unsuitable suitor or an old, rich man – supplies plots for such works as La Fille Mal Gardee and Don Quixote. It still makes us laugh. (There is something wondrously chilling about watching a story that one knows made one’s 15thgreat-grandparents laugh too.)
Photo copyright American Ballet Theatre.