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N. Klimova

Libretto of A. Izosimov’s ballet «The tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily»

The article is devoted to the analysis of the ballet libretto of “The Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily” (2018) by the Saint Petersburg composer Alexander Izosimov. The aim of the article is to study the text as an example of a new approach to the literary genre of ballet libretto in the 21st century. The libretto was written by a composer without the direct connection with the stage action. Inspired by the “Fairy Tale” by the German poet, writer, playwright, natural philosopher I.V. Goethe, the author of the ballet was guided not as much by the external outline of the plot as, in his own words, by the “spirit” of the work. In the dramaturgy of the ballet performance, as in Goethe’s Tale, there is no conflict between good and evil, it is dominated by light, harmonious imagery. The composer made the necessary reduction of the original text, included new characters and, following the tradition of Russian classical ballet, created a new version of Goethe’s work, using the composition of a three-act performance with 7 scenes and 51 numbers. Three story lines are kept in the libretto of the ballet: the line of earth, represented by the green snake, the carrier, the kings of the piedmont temple; the hypersensitive line, represented by the kingdom of the beautiful Lily and her environment; and the comic line, represented by the adventures of an old woman and swamp fires. The central events of the ballet are the scenes of the sacrifice of the snake and the ascent of the piedmont temple of the kings, turned into a sacred altar. The temple is associated with the revival of the human soul. A. Izosimov’s ballet is the first example in Russian music of the 21st century of using Goethe’s “Fairy Tale” as a basis for a musical piece. The literary text of the libretto reflects the characteristic idea of the Russian musical theater of the 19th century – the heroes gaining the spiritual light.

Key words

libretto of the ballet, author’s text, characters, composition, dramaturgy of the performance.

For citation

Klimova N. Libretto of A. Izosimov’s ballet «The tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily» // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2021. No. 2. Pp. 103–108.