Photograph of Michel Fokine as Prince Ivan and Tamara Karsavina as the Firebird in The Firebird, 1910. Music Div., Library of Congress.
Music by Igor Stravinsky; libretto by Michel Fokine; sets by Aleksandr Golovin, with additional costumes by Léon Bakst; premiere on 25 June 1910, Théâtre National de l’Opéra, Paris. [The work was restaged in 1926 with sets and costumes by Natalia Goncharova.]
Stung by criticism from the Paris critics that claimed Diaghilev produced well-danced ballets with exotic décors and costumes, but with no comparable innovative music component, he turned to the young composer Igor Stravinsky. The Firebird represented Stravinsky’s first commission from the Ballets Russes and proved to be the catalyst that began his ascent to international acclaim. The ballet is considered to be one of Michel Fokine’s best choreographies and one of Diaghilev’s most successful collaborative efforts.