The Red Poppy

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The Red Poppy (Russian: Красный мак) or sometimes The Red Flower (Russian: Красный цветок) is a ballet in three acts and an apotheosis; score written by Reinhold Glière and a scenario by Mikhail Kurilko. This ballet was created in 1927 as the first Soviet ballet with a modern revolutionary theme. Possibly the most famous dance from this ballet is the Sailors Dance, sometimes referred to as the 'Russian' Sailors Dance. It is this selection for which Glière is perhaps best known.

Scene from "The Red Poppy" ballet, a drawing on a Soviet stamp


The ballet takes place at a seaport in 1920s-era Kuomintang China. A ship carrying sailors from many lands, including Russia is docked in a Chinese seaport. The captain notices a group of half-starved, overworked coolies being brutally driven to work even harder by their cruel harbormaster. One night while dancing for the sailors aboard the ship, the beautiful Tao-Hoa (Pinyin: Taohua) notices a Russian captain trying to rescue the poor Coolies from the port commander. Impressed by the captain's act of kindness she gives him a red poppy as a symbol of her love. When Tao's employer, Li Shan-Fu learns of this, he is jealous and orders her to kill the captain. She refuses, and is later killed by her employer when a riot breaks out on the dock - thus sacrificing her life for the captain. As she dies, she gives another red poppy flower to a young Chinese girl as a sign of love and freedom.


Act One

  • Introduction
  • Coolies' Dance
    Scene of foxtrot dance, scenery by M. Kurilko
  • Tao-Hoa's Entrance
  • Restaurant Scene
  • Malik's Dance
  • Boston Waltz
  • Scene of European Dance
  • Captain's Entrance and Sailors Dance
  • Tao-Hoa's Scene
  • Variation with Gold Fingers
  • Coolies' Victory Dance
  • Dance of the Soviet Sailors:Apple

Act Two

  • Introduction - Scene in the Smoking Room* Scene
  • Dance of the Chinese Women
  • Adagio of Four Goddesses
    Ballet triumph in Rome, February 12, 2010
  • Adagio
  • Prelude
  • Tao-Hoa's Vision
  • Procession Scene
  • Sword Dance
  • Phoenix
  • Adagio
  • The Rose Ship

Act Three

  • Charleston
  • Dance in the Restaurant
    A scene from the ballet The Red Poppy, 1927
  • Preparation of the Chinese Theatre
  • Umbrella Dance
  • Puppet Dance
  • Chinese Acrobats' Dance
  • The Conspiracy
  • Scene of Confusion
  • Captain's Scene
  • Tao-Hoa's Scene: The Departing Ship
  • Rebellion Scene
  • Death of Tao-Hoa
  • Apotheosis


There have been four main versions:


Other performances[edit]

External links[edit]