Ballet in One Act

Freely adapted from Ivan Turgenev's Play
Choreography by Frederick Ashton
Staged by Anthony Dowell and Grant Coyle
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Arranged by John Lanchbery
Scenery and Costumes by Julia Trevelyan Oman
Lighting by John B. Read

The ballet is set in the 1850s at the country house of Yslaev and his wife Natalia. The family circle includes Natalia’s young son Kolia, her teenaged ward Vera, and Rakitin, an ardent admirer and confident of Natalia.

Beliaev, a young attractive student, is engaged as a tutor for Kolia and inadvertently disrupts the emotional stability of the household. The naïve Vera develops a crush on Beliaev, who does not take her seriously. As she tries to confess her love to him, Natalia enters the room. Seeing Vera and Beliaev together, Natalia is overcome with an impetuous fit of jealousy and slaps Vera, who runs from the room.

Moved by Natalia’s boldness, Beliaev declares his affections for Natalia, who surrenders herself to him. Vera returns to see them embrace, and in childish hysteria, she informs the family of Natalia’s betrayal.

Though Natalia denies Vera’s accusations, Rakitin wisely insists that he and the tutor must both leave in order to restore a semblance of calm to the family’s life.

A Month in the Country was given its World Premiere by The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London on February 12, 1976, danced by Lynn Seymour as Natalia Petrovna and Anthony Dowell as Beliaev. It was given its United States premiere by The Royal Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York on April 27, 1976, with the same cast.

A Month in the Country was first performed by the National Ballet of Canada on May 3, 1995 at the O’Keefe Centre, Toronto, Canada with Karen Kain as Natalia Petrovna and Robert Conn as Beliaev. This was the first time this work had been performed by a company other than The Royal Ballet.

A Month in the Country was given its American Ballet Theatre Company Premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York on May 21, 2013, danced by Julie Kent (Natalia Petrovna) and Roberto Bolle (Beliaev).

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