Mariinsky Ballet: Petipa's Raymonda

Russia's legendary company returns with the last "grand ballet" of the 19th century. Set in medieval Hungary, the story follows a beautiful countess torn between her betrothed, a crusading knight, and the arrival of a handsome warrior.

For its 14th consecutive season at the Kennedy Center, Russia's legendary Mariinsky Ballet returns with Marius Petipa's Raymonda, widely considered the last "grand ballet" of the 19th century. George Balanchine, who began his career in the Mariinsky corps, once called Alexander Glazunov's score, filled with spirited rhythms and lilting waltzes, "some of the finest ballet music we have."

Set in medieval Hungary, the story follows a beautiful young countess on her birthday, torn between the noble crusading knight Jean de Brienne, to whom she is betrothed, and the unexpected arrival of Abderakhman, a handsome Saracen warrior. Haunted by visions of the White Lady, the ghostly protector of her family's castle, Raymonda struggles to ward off her uninvited guest's seductive powers, while desperately awaiting her fiancé's triumphant return from battle.
 
An extraordinary showcase not only for the Mariinsky's rich Russian heritage, but also the virtuosity of its phenomenal principals and corps, Raymonda mesmerizes with a captivating dream sequence, a thrilling duel to the death, and a kaleidoscope of variations displaying the essence of ballet technique. But perhaps this treasured masterpiece is most famous for its grand pas classique hongrois as part of Act III's lavish wedding celebration, with the Mariinsky dancers clad radiantly in white, "all made ballet bright by a smiling and seamless ease of execution" (The Wall Street Journal).

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