About this Piece
In 1909, ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev took a gamble on a young Russian composer, giving Igor Stravinsky the scenario for The Firebird, which would be the first ballet with an original score for his Paris-based Ballets Russes. The story, drawn from Russian folklore, tells about the powerful ogre Kastchei, who captures young princesses and turns their would- be rescuers to stone, and Prince Ivan and the titular firebird, who free them.
Immediately inspired – he stopped work on his opera The Nightingale to attend to the new project – Stravinsky gave Diaghilev a dazzling score that mixed exotic musical imagery for the supernatural characters and folk song-like tunes (or actual folk songs) for the humans.
At the climax of the ballet, the firebird casts a spell on Kastchei, and his magical minions dance themselves into exhaustion. The Berceuse is the lullaby that puts the ogre to sleep, and the finale is the joyful celebration of Ivan and the rescued princesses.