Music: Manuel de Falla
Choreography: Léonide Massine
Scenery and costumes: Pablo Picasso
Libretto: Martinez Sierra, after a story of Pedro Antonio de Alarcon
World Première: Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Alhambra Theatre, London, July 22, 1919
Original Cast: Léonide Massine, Tamara Karsavina, Leon Woizikowski, Alice Alanova,
American Ballet Theater Première: Metropolitan Opera House, New York, April 11, 1943
Cast: Léonide Massine (Miller), Argentinita (Miller's Wife), Simon Semenoff (Governor), Virginia Wilcox
(Governor's Wife), Michael Kidd (Dandy)
Joffrey Ballet: 1969, New York
Bolshoi Ballet Première: Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, April 14, 2005
Paris Opera Ballet: 2010, Paris
Léonide Massine on his Ballet:
"It so happened that the famous composer, Manuel de Falla, a mild mannered little man who, in his dark
suit and felt hat, might easily have passed for a university professor, invited us to go to a small theatre in
Barcelona to see a performance of a one act farce by Gregorio Martinez Sierra, El Corregidor å la
Molinera, for which he had written the music.
One evening, at our favourite café the Novedades, we noticed a small, dark young dancer whose elegant
movements and compelling intensity singled him out from the rest of the group. When he had finished
dancing Diaghilev invited him to join us at our table. He introduced himself as Felix Fernandez Garcia.
We made a habit of going every night to see him dance, and were more and more impressed by his
exquisite flamenco style, the precision and rhythm of his movements, and by his perfect control.
Under Felix’s guidance I had begun to grasp the fundamental grammar of the Spanish folk dances, and
I was now able to see how they might be given a more sophisticated choreographic treatment. To help
me in my work Diaghilev arranged for us to take a trip through Spain to study the infinite variety of
native peasant dances. With Falla and Felix as our tutors, Diaghilev and I were eager and receptive
students. During the whole of that hot, dry, Spanish summer we travelled at a leisurely pace, visiting
Saragossa, Toledo, Salamanca, Burgos, Seville, Cordoba and Granada. We were a congenial
foursome, united by our interest in Spanish culture and music. Our days were spent sightseeing in
monasteries, museums and cathedrals, our evenings in cafés watching the local dancers and
discussing plans for our ballet.
Felix, of course, was a great asset on this trip. He was able to arrange several special performances
for us, and we spent many late nights listening to selected groups of singers, guitarists and dancers
doing the jota, the tarruca or the fandango.
It was easy to see that Falla was fascinated by Felix’s dancing, and by much of the music which he
heard on our trip. He paid strict attention to detail, and was continually writing down passages of music
in the notebook which he habitually carried. He told me that he wanted the dances in the ballet to
develop naturally from the story and that he planned to create the whole score anew, enlarging it with
new themes, but basing it on his original inspiration, and simplifying it through clear and logical construction."