Legend of The Firebird

The Firebird Legend is based in Russian folklore.  Besides being told to children as a fairy tale, the Firebird legend is the subject of Stravinsky's 1910 score, The Firebird Suite; narrated by Natalia Makarova, a Russian-American ballerina who performed the role of the Firebird numerous times.

Prince Ivan, a Tsarevich, wanders into an enchanted garden. There, he spies a beautiful bird with dazzling plumage that is trying to pluck golden apples from a tree. Ivan captures the bird but yields to its entreaties to be set free. In gratitude, the Firebird gives Ivan a magical feather. 

Now it is evening; the moon is rising in the sky. Prince Ivan sees 12 enchanted princesses coming from a castle. As they gather at the gate, one more young girl emerges, lovelier than all the others. Her name is Princess Vasilisa.

The young girls begin to dance and play with golden apples in the moonlight. Ivan discloses himself and is told the castle is the property of the evil magician, Kashchei, who turns captive travelers into stone. Ivan, now in love with Princess Vasilisa, vows to enter the castle and fight this evil monster. As he opens the gates, Kashchei and his crew of grotesques march onto the scene. Kashchei tries to bewitch Ivan, but the Prince is protected by the Firebird's magical feather.

Prince Ivan waves the feather in the air and the Firebird appears. She casts a spell by dancing wildly among the demons of Kashchei. The Firebird then reveals to Prince Ivan an egg, which contains Kashchei’s soul. He smashes the egg and Kashchei falls lifeless to the ground. The spell is now broken. The crew of grotesques and statues in the garden become men again, the princesses are liberated, and the story ends in a joyous scene when Prince Ivan and Princess Vasilisa marry on this happy day.