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Repertory Archive


Choreography by George Balanchine
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Lighting Design by Brad Fields
Original Lighting Design by Ronald Bates
Staged by Karin von Aroldingen, Richard Tanner (2005, 2012), and Victoria Simon (2019)

32 minutes

World Premiere

Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes
June 12, 1928
Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt
Paris, France

Serge Lifar (Apollo)
Alice Nikitina (Terpsichore)
Lubov Tchernicheva (Polyhymnia)
Felia Dubrovska (Calliope)
Dora Vadimova
Henriette Maicherska (Deeses)
Sophie Orlova (Leto)

United States Premiere

American Ballet
April 27, 1937
Metropolitan Opera House
New York, New York

Lew Christensen (Apollo)
Elise Reiman (Terpsichore)
Holly Howard (Polyhymnia)
Daphne Vane (Calliope)

ABT Premiere

April 25, 1943
Metropolitan Opera House
New York, New York

André Eglevsky (Apollo)
Vera Zorina (Terpsichore)
Nora Kaye (Polyhymnia)
Rosella Hightower (Calliope)


Apollo, a Greek god of varied characteristics, was born on the island of Delos. His father was Zeus and >his mother was Leto. Among his god-like attributes, he was the god of song and music and none could surpass him in music, not even Pan. He received the lyre from Hermes, the seven strings of which were said to be connected to the seven Greek vowels. As the leader of the Muses, he was called Musagetes.

Apollo is a ballet without a plot, only a simple program:
Scene 1 – The Birth of Apollo
Scene 2 – Three Muses appear and they all dance with Apollo and he with them. He then presents each of them with the symbol appropriate to her art. To Calliope, the Muse of poetry, he presents a tablet; to Polyhymnia, the Muse of mime, a mask that symbolizes silence and the power of gesture; and to Terpsichore, Muse of dance and song, he gives a lyre, the instrument that accompanies these arts. All the Muses are pleased and each dances a solo utilizing her gift. Apollo performs a solo and then is joined by the Muses. The end of the ballet depicts the ascent of Apollo to Mount Olympus.