The Firebird
by
Igor Stravinsky


University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Graduate Costume Design
Theoretical Project

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Igor Stravinsky’s retelling of the Russian folktale, The Firebird,  on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution points to the pending dissolution of the national identity.  

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Prince Ivan’s costume, inspired by Tzar Nicholas’s Winter Palace Gala robe, is reinterpreted as traditional hunting garb.  In contrast to this realism,  the airy lightness of the Firebird’s costume (in tule, chiffon, and feathers) reveals her ethereal identity as the soul of Imperial Russia.

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Prince Ivan

Prince Ivan

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The Firebird

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Princess Tzarevna

Designs for the Princesses were inspired by Faberge's Imperial Eggs - symbols of fertility and opulence.  Crown, sleeve, and bodice designs incorporate regalia from the final Winter Palace Ball, held in 1908.

 

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Dame Margot Fonteyn

Les  Sylphides,

1950

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The traditional "dance dress" or romantic tutu was selected to link the Princesses to old world Russia.  Their tutus are embellished with traditional Russian mandala motifs. 

The Twelve Enchanted Princesses

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The Villians

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Koschei's minions (conceived as land, air, and sea creatures) are designed as life-size bunraku puppets.  Their sectioned bodies break apart and envelope Prince Ivan in a swarm of chaos during the mortal combat.

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The evil Koschei wears a towering headdress and royal purple tunic, enlarging his stature and making him a formidable opponent to Prince Ivan.

Koschei's Sea Creature

The Evil Sorcerer Koschei

Bunraku puppet and puppeteers from
Alice in Wonderland

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