Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova in La Fille mal Gardée (1912).
It was from Russia that the first 20th-century La Fille mal Gardée came to Britain, when on July 15. 1912, Anna Pavlova’s company presented a one-act version produced by her ballet master, Alexander Shiriaieff, who at one time had been an assistant to Petipa in Leningrad. Pavlova and her current partner, Laurent Novikoff, played the lovers, while Shiriaieff mimed Mother Simone.
Nikiya’s death-by-asp solo from La Bayadère makes little sense without Solor and the Rajah’s court to witness it or the snake to bite her. Evgenia Obraztsova (now with the Bolshoi) executed the contrasting moods of the reproachful solo in beautiful isolation.