Ballet by Andrei Golovin


Composer: Andrei Golovin
Choreographer: Anton Pimonov
Librettist and Designer: Anna Matison
Lighting Designer: Alexander Sivaev
Lighting Adaptation for the Primorsky Stage: Igor Karmanov


In a secluded corner of the forest in a dark grove Bambi the young deer has been born. Still barely an infant he is already standing, trembling on his legs. The different sounds of the forest startle him. He takes one step and then another and joyfully leaps through the woods. His mother tenderly watches her son.

Each deer is a prince by birth, and the residents of the forest are keen to meet the new prince. While playing, Bambi bumps into the Hedgehog who curls up into a ball. He is initially annoyed, but then graciously welcomes the young deer. A beautiful butterfly flies past in haste — Bambi really wants a closer look! The polite and well-brought-up Hare starts a conversation with the young prince. Bambi makes friends with the timid Squirrel, the Beetle, the Grasshopper and the haughty Fox — so many acquaintances... But suddenly his heart freezes with joy – he sees other deer just like him. It is the beautiful Falina and the noble Ronno. The young deer make friends, moving across the meadow and chasing each other. The playing children are watched by an elderly stag. He keeps his eyes on Bambi — his son — and then disappears behind the trees. Bambi carefully watches the Old Leader and only a nut dropped by the Squirrel rouses him from his torpor.

Spring and summer pass in carefree games. The children mature and emerge into powerful adolescent deer. Bambi keeps an increasingly keen eye on Falina; he really likes her. But he’s not the only one who likes her.

Winter follows autumn and the ground is deeply covered with snow. There is no more time for play – the whole day is spent looking for food. While seeking out moss or other withered grasses the deer dig the snow with their hooves. On one such gloomy day Bambi hears a terrifying noise – it is the shot of the Hunter’s gun. In panic the beasts plunge into the undergrowth and Bambi’s mother is left lying alone in the snow. Bambi runs to her to help, but he sees that Falina is in danger — the hunter as aimed his gun at her. Infuriated, in one powerful leap he kicks his enemy down and saves his friend. But at the same time the hunters take his mother away. Bambi will never see her again.

One day all that was bad is in the past. Bambi and Falina spend all their time together and Bambi forgets about everything other than his darling. But Ronno, sensing he may be a rival, is furious. He challenges his rival to a duel and when Bambi refuses to fight he insults Falina. Protecting her, Bambi attacks Ronno himself and emerges victorious. Ronno has to take his leave. But Bambi is annoyed at having quarrelled. He retreats into the grove to be alone.

At the same time, people appear once again in the forest. They have come to cut down the largest tree — an oak which is the Squirrel’s home. In despair it asks for Bambi’s help.

Someone has to get rid of these uninvited intruders — the forest-dwellers need a new leader, someone brave and strong. The majestic Old Leader calls his son and passes on his crown. The new leader goes to the tree which has been cut down and sends the people fleeing and peace and tranquillity are restored to the forest.

Soon Falina and Bambi have two children of their own — Geno and Gurri.

About the production

Two one-act ballets for children — Bambi and In the Jungle. Have one thing in common — their story is based on the famous novel by Felix Salten Bambi, A Life in the Woods, a story of a little white-tailed deer, and its sequel, Bambi’s Children. The two ballets are performed on the same evening and meant as a family event. The performances are planned on Saturday and Sunday so that parents and their children can spend this weekend together in the company of their favorite fairy-tale characters.

The charming Bambi story transferred from the Mariinsky Theatre main stage to its Primorsky branch is the first opening of the fourth season in the Mariinsky Theatre Primorsky Stage. In 2015 these one-act ballets opened the 15th International Mariinsky Ballet Festival making a big artistic event of the cultural life in St. Petersburg. Soon they were included in the regular repertoire of the theatre. The shows were staged by Anton Pimonov, one of the most promising young choreographers of the Mariinsky company, and Anna Matison, a well-known Russian theatre director, who also was a librettist and a stage designer of the show.

The authors of the ballets set a very complex and noble objective — treating children with great respect they do their best to speak with them about permanent life values as an equal. Breathtaking adventures of the brave little deer and his friends make an example of good and generosity for the young audience, teaching to value friendship and never give up in front of any obstacles.

To make the fairy-tale not only teaching something but also exciting, the two ballets are created short and vividly colorful with a lot of forest animal characters — a squirrel, a hare, a fox, a hedgehog, magpies, a grasshopper and a butterfly — the dancers wear bright color costumes and imitate animal movements. Also true music lovers will be pleased with the score composed for Bambi and In the Jungle by composers Andrey Golovin and Alexander Lokshin.

Nadezhda Koulygina

Premiere: 13 March 2015, Mariinsky Theatre
Premiere at the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre: 24 September 2016, Vladivostok

Running time: 30 minutes

Age category: 6+
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