The last great work from the glorious era of the Imperial ballets has never before been performed by the La Scala ballet. Its La Scala premiere marks the most faithful version of Raymonda yet to the original, which met with triumphant success in St. Petersburg in 1898.
Based on a medieval legend, with ladies, knights, crusaders and Saracens, cathedrals and castles, the libretto had all the ingredients needed to spark the imagination of the young Alexander Glazunov in his first ballet score, and the infinite wisdom of Marius Petipa, who complemented it with an enormously rich and endless succession of dances, classical variations, exotic dances and character dances, with a grandiose finale, pantomime, lyrical pas de deux and a heavily featured corps de ballet. Drawing on notation from the Harvard archives, original designs housed in the St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Theatre Library, La Scala presents the last great work from the glory days of the Imperial Ballet.
We see what the piece first looked like… Opulent massive, unlikely, with a wild generosity of forces and with costuming to encourage maniac giggles, it is huge fun, and as the heroine, Raymonda, the Mariinsky ballerina Olesia Novikova is ravishing in style. The recording is well done and Michail Jurowski is a wonderful advocate for Glazunov's score, played with enthusiasm by the La Scala orchestra. --Clement Crisp, Financial Times
The stunning settings are a continual feast for the eye… highly recommended. --Julian Haylock, International Record Review