Russia Theatre Ballet The Red Poppy

The Red Poppy

In 1929, Vladimir Schwartz designed the sets and costumes for Reinhold Glière’s ballet The Red Poppy or what the press called “the first Soviet ballet on a modern revolutionary theme.” The title of the ballet comes from the name of the main heroine, Tao Hoa, which is Chinese for “red poppy”. Mikhail Kurilko’s libretto was inspired by a story in Pravda about the internment of the Soviet steamer Lenin in a Chinese port. The popularity of The Red Poppy led to many cafés, sweets and perfumes being named after the ballet. This was one of Vladimir Schwartz’s first theatrical projects and his sets and costumes were clearly influenced by Alexandra Exter’s designs for Salome and Famira Kifared. The revolving circles and metal netting widely employed in the stage sets corresponded closely to the ideas of theatrical Constructivism.

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