Petipa’s Raymonda Act III is Russian classical ballet summarized in one act, full of sparkle and precise technique. Principal of The Royal Ballet Natalia Osipova (Raymonda) dances Variation 6.
Raymonda was created by Marius Petipa in 1898 for the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. It contains some of his most spectacular choreography and a magnificent score by Alexander Glazunov, full of spirited rhythms and lilting waltzes – George Balanchine called it ‘some of the finest ballet music we have’. Rudolf Nureyev had an intimate knowledge of Raymonda: he performed in the ballet as a young dancer with the Kirov Theatre and staged a full-length version for The Royal Ballet in 1964, reviving many of the dances from memory. Nureyev presented an adapted version of Act III at Covent Garden in 1969. Against an opulent setting created by Barry Kay, a Hungarian folk dance opens the wedding celebrations for a ballerina and her cavalier. A lively male pas de quatre is followed by the famous grand pas hongrois, which contains ensembles for all 10 dancers, who wear radiant white costumes. Act III of Raymonda was performed as part of a tribute to Nureyev at the Royal Opera House in 2003. The final act of Petipa’s grand ballet classic, which contains some of the greatest choreography in Russian ballet, was adapted by Rudolf Nureyev.