Dancers Alicia Good and Goddard Finley in Firebird in 1989.
Dancers Alicia Good and Goddard Finley in Firebird in 1989.

Choreography: Michel Fokine, George Balanchine, Paul Meija, and Todd Bolender
Music: Igor Stravinsky

The curtain rises to reveal Prince Ivan who in the course of a hunting expedition, has entered an enchanted forest. He discovers a beautiful bird with dazzling plumage. Prince Ivan captures the bird, but yields to her pleas for freedom and releases her. The Firebird, out of gratitude, gives him one of her feathers with which he can summon her should he find himself in danger.

After Prince Ivan sets the Firebird free, he hears the sound of young maidens approaching. He hides as the lovely maidens, led by a beautiful creature who is a Princess, begin a quick and lively dance in the moonlit garden. Prince Ivan falls in love with the Princess and decides to approach the group in order to meet her. The Princess graciously asks the Prince to join in a formal dance.

Suddenly the maidens disperse and the Princess warns the Prince that Kastchei, the wicked King who holds the maidens captive, is approaching with his monsters and the Prince should flee for his life. The Princess disappears and before the Prince can move he is surrounded by a hideous mob. He fights for his life, but is overpowered until he suddenly remembers the feather given to him by the Firebird. As he waves the feather the Firebird appears, giving the Prince a magic sword with which he kills Kastchei, then breaking the spell, and releasing the maidens and youths from the enchantment Kastchei had placed upon them.

In the final scene-the apotheosis-Prince Ivan and the Princess are united in a great ceremony of marriage and the maidens and youths are joined together amongst the pomp and ceremony of the Royal Court by the high priests of the kingdom.

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