#Throwback Thursday: The Beauty of Lebanon

This week's #ThrowbackThursday features The Beauty of Lebanon, or The Mountain Spirit.

Otherwise known as La Belle du Liban, ou L'Esprit des montagnes, The Beauty of Lebanon was a little-known fantastic ballet in three acts. The ballet had a libretto by Marius Petipa and E. Rappoport, choreography by Marius Petipa (that prolific Russian ballet master) and a score by Cesare Pugni (Petipa's equally prolific collaborator). The ballet was premiered by the Imperial Ballet at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg, on December 24 1863. The original cast included Maria Surovshchikova-Petipa (Petipa's wife) as The Mountain Spirit and Timofei Stukolkin (a famed Russian character dancer) as Beshir.

Maria Surovshchikova in costume for 'Diable a Quatre', one of the few photographs of her.

Unfortunately this ballet has been entirely lost; I cannot now find any photographs of the ballet, or even a summary of the ballet's libretto. It appears to have disappeared among the ranks of Petipa's many well known works, and any resurrection became impossible after the Russian Revolution of 1917, which led to the disappearance of many works, including several of Petipa's most beloved (e.g. The Pharaoh's Daughter and The Awakening of Flora, both recently reconstructed).

Thanks for reading!

- Selene

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