Flames of Paris – Asafyev – Female Variation


Female variation from Flames of Paris by Asafyev

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The Flames of Paris is a ballet that debuted in Leningrad, Soviet Union, in 1932. (now Saint Petersburg, Russia). Based on the July Revolution of 1830 in France, which saw the toppling of King Charles X and the ascent of King Louis-Philippe, it was choreographed by Vasily Vainonen to a score by Boris Asafyev.

The ballet tells the tale of Jean and Pauline, two young revolutionaries who join the struggle for liberty and democracy in France. The ballet is renowned for its athletic and energising choreography, which highlights the fervour and tenacity of the revolutionaries. The “Dance of the Flames,” in which the stage is set ablaze with the fire of revolution, is one of the ballet’s most iconic sequences. This scene is frequently used as an example of how passionate and intense the revolutionaries’ cause was.


Asafyev, who lived from 1884 to 1949, was a composer, author, musicologist, musical critic, and one of the pioneers of Soviet musicology. He is the First Symphony of Prokofiev’s dedicatee. His birthplace was Saint Petersburg.

Soviet music was significantly influenced by Asafyev. Ballets, operas, symphonies, concertos, and chamber music are among his genres of creation. His ballets include The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, which debuted in 1934 and was staged at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 2006, and Flames of Paris, which is based on the French Revolution.

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