Les Millions d'Arlequin
|Ballets and revivals of Marius Petipa|
*Paquita (1847, *1881)
Les millions d'Arlequin (a.k.a. Harlequinade) is a ballet in two acts with libretto and choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Riccardo Drigo. First presented at the Imperial Theatre of the Hermitage by the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday, 23 February [O.S. 10 February] 1900. The ballet was given a second premiere on the stage of the stage of the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre with the same cast on 26 February [O.S. 13 February] 1900.
The Ballet Master Fyodor Lopukhov later restaged the ballet as Harlequinade in a one act version for the Ballet of the Maly Theatre of Leningrad. The production premiered on 13 June 1933. Audiences outside of Russia are perhaps most familiar with George Balanchine's revival, which the Ballet Master staged as Harlequinade for the New York City Ballet. This production that premiered at the New York State Theater in New York City on 4 February 1965.
Riccardo Drigo's score spawned the popular piece known as the Serenade, which the composer later transformed into a song under the title Notturno d'amour.
Performance history 
Originally created by the choreographer Marius Petipa and the composer Riccardo Drigo for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia. It was first performed for the Imperial Court on February 10, 1900 at the Imperial Theatre of the Hermitage, and given a second premiere for the public on February 13, 1900 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre. The original cast for both performances was Mathilde Kschessinskaya as Columbine, Georgi Kiaksht as Harlequin, Olga Preobrajenska as Pierrette, Sergei Lukianov as Pierrot, Enrico Cecchetti as Casandré, and Anna Urakhova as the Good Fairy. Included at the first performance were Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorvna (to whom Drigo dedicated the score). So moved was the imperial audience by Drigo's music that the composer was mobbed during the final curtain calls.
Drigo's score spawned the popular salon repertory piece known as the Serenade, which the composer later re-wrote as a song called Nuttorno d'amore for Beniamino Gigli. The Serenade has since been arranged for every conceivable instrument, particularly the violin and piano.
George Balanchine staged an important revival of the work in honor of the ballet's 65th anniversary for the New York City Ballet, premiering February 4, 1965 under the title Harlequinade. The leading dancers were Patricia McBride as Columbine, Edward Vilella as Harlequin, Suki Schorer as Pierrette, and Deni Lamont as Pierrot.
In April 2007, the Salt Creek Ballet of Westmont, Illinois performed a version of the Petipa/Drigo Harlequinade. Performed at College of DuPage, the program was a success and received outstanding reviews from several major newspapers. The principal cast was Alexander Kozadayev as Harlequin, and Katherine Bruno as Columbine, and Hartley Parrish as the Good Fairy.
Russian Ballet Master and choreographer Vladimir Issaev, created his own version of the entire ballet "Harlequinade". It was performed by Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His revival of the ballet includes special effects and costumes by Jorge Gallardo and sets by Elena Bondarenko. In 2011, the ballet will be performed again in Miami, Florida.