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NYCB in London No. 5 - Firebird

The day after Balanchine’s Firebird premiered in London, 1950, The Times wrote:

“Firebird, for which London has waited long, was also in last night’s bill, but alas! this is a poor emaciated creature. […] Miss Maria Tallchief caught some of the glitter of the bird, but non of her aloof, supernatural magic. The whole ballet was danced without the slightest trace of the atmosphere of Stravinsky’s music […] Perhaps this company is too immature for imaginative and romantic ballets.”

Of this Maria Tallchief wrote:

“Naturally, George paid little attention to the review, even as Lincoln was made hysterical and unhappy by them. Reviews meant nothing to George, and he insisted we enjoy the pleasures London had to offer. One treat was a lecture on Firebird that Tamara Karsavina was delivering. She was living in London and teaching there. George was so excited about hearing her speak that we sat in the first row. When she finished it was as if I had actually seen her performance of the ballet.”

(top row and bottom left). Maria Tallchief and Nicholas Magallanes in Firebird at Covent Garden.

Photos by Roger Wood, 1952.

(bottom right) Tamara Karsavina in The Firebird’ Photo by Emil Otto Hoppé, 1912

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