Tsar Kandavl or Le Roi Candaule

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Ballets and revivals of Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa -1898.JPG

*Paquita (1847, *1881)
*Le Corsaire (1858, 1863, 1868, 1885, 1899)
The Pharaoh's Daughter (1862, *1885, *1898)
Le Roi Candaule (1868, *1891, *1903)
Don Quixote (1869, *1871)
La Bayadère (1877, *1900)
*Giselle (1884, 1899, 1903)
*Coppélia (1884)
*La fille mal gardée (1885)
*La Esmeralda (1886, 1899)
The Talisman (1889)
The Sleeping Beauty (1890)
The Nutcracker (1892)
Cinderella (1893)
Le Réveil de Flore (1894)
*Swan Lake (1895)
*The Little Humpbacked Horse (1895)
Raymonda (1898)
The Seasons (1900)
Harlequinade (1900)

* revival

Tsar Kandavl; AKA Le Roi Candaule (King Cadaules) is a Grand ballet in 4 Acts-6 Scenes, with choreography by Marius Petipa, and music by Cesare Pugni. Libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, based on the history of King Candaules the Ruler of Lydia, as described by Herodotus in his Histories. From this work is derived the famous Diane and Actéon Pas de Deux (AKA the Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux).


The authors created the plot collaboratively with the result that it is very confusing and illogical.

Usurper Kandavl seizes the power of King Gyges, resulting in Gyges living with poor shepherds, but he did not forget to fight for the return to the throne.

Meanwhile Kandavl marrying Nisia, declared war on goddess of beauty Venus by beauty own wife; vengeance of Venus knew no bounds, she had persuaded Nisia hatred of legal wife, and she put it, but then, persecuted by the ghost of Kandavl dying herself; then the throne passed to the rightful owner Gyges.[1]

First presented[edit]

First presented by the Imperial Ballet on October 17/29 (Julian/Gregorian calendar dates), 1868 at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia. Principal Dancers - Henriette d'Or /or Dor/ (as Queen Nisia, this role has been created specially for her), Felix Kschessinsky /Mathilde Kschessinska's father/ (as King Candaules/Tsar Candavl), Lev Ivanov (as Gyges), and Klavdia Kantsyreva (as Claytia, this role has been created specially for her).

The first 22 performances were completely sold out; in the Pas de Venus of the ballet, d'Or performed 5 pirouettes sur la pointe, caused a great sensation among the audience.


  • Two months later, Marius Petipa moved his ballet in Moscow. The Moscow premiere took place on December 22, 1868 in Bolshoi Theatre.

The ballet was performed in both theaters - in Moscow and St. Petersburg - with great success over the years.

  • Revival by Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet, with additional music and adaptations to Pugni's score by Riccardo Drigo. First presented at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre on April 9–21, 1903. Principal Dancers - Julia Sedova (as Queen Nisia), Pavel Gerdt (as King Candaules/Tsar Kandavl), Gyorgii Kiaksht (as Gyges), Nadezhda Petipa (as Claytia), and Evdokia Vasilieva (as Pythia).

This performance choreographed Petipa was recorded by Nicholas Sergeyev, who left his beloved homeland shortly after the October revolution, and now ballet record is kept at the Sergeyev Collection.

Revival in USSR[edit]

The Mariinsky theater was renamed the Leningrad theatre of Opera and ballet.

The new Soviet government demanded their ideological ballets. But until the new Soviet ballets was not, the Directorate of the theater decided to use the old repertoire, but ideological remade.[2]

The plot of the ballet was changed.

The Soviet government called itself the anticlerical, and all the gods were removed. In the new version still Kandavl declared his wife was more beautiful than all, but now it is resented not by the goddess of beauty Venus, and the Royal guards. And the soldiers started a revolution of such insolence of the king. The premiere took place on 1 March 1925 in Leningrad theatre of Opera and ballet (former and current Mariinsky theatre). Alexandr Monakhov as Kandavl, Mikhail Dudko as Gyges, Yelena Lyukom as Claytia and Nisia in one person.[1]

This show was so not liked by the dancers that they called it not Kandavl - but The Scandal.[1][2]

More performances of this ballet was not.