Grand stage

STARRING Roman Polkovnikov, Sofia Chusovkova, Ekaterina Likhova, Evgeny Graschenko, Daniel Dranchak, Anastasia Turchina

The Little Humpbacked Horse

ballet in three acts
music by Rodion Shchedrin



Libretto: Vasili Vainonen and Pavel Malyarevski after Pyotr Yershovs tale of the same name
Choreography: Alexander Radunsky, revised by Mikhail Messerer

Music Director and Conductor: Pavel Sorokin
Ballet Master, co-director: Mikhail Messerer
Stage Director: Vladimir Kekhman
Set Designer (scenery and costumes): Vyacheslav Okunev
Lighting Designer, Media Designer: Gleb Filshtinsky
Media creation: Show Consulting studio
Chief Video Designer with Show Consulting studio: Sergei Nikolaev
Conductor: Evgeny Volynsky
Assistants to Ballet Master, co-director: Evgeny Popov, Anna Razenko

2 hours 30 minutes

two intermissions

The Little Humpbacked Horse by Rodion Shchedrin, a blazing Russian fairy play of a ballet is on the Main Stage of NOVAT.

An enchanted world of Pyotr Yershovs tale will come to life right before your eyes thanks to the cutting-edge theatre technologies allowing to put into action most intricate video projections. Given these, The Little Humpbacked Horse may now be called a real cinematic ballet. An impressive lighting solution, Palekh patterns in set design and obviously Rodion Shchedrins lyric and humorous music make this production more colorful and bring it closer to the younger audience.

Ivanushkas adventures start when he captures a magical horse. It asks him to let it go free and instead presents Ivanushka with two golden-haired stallions and a little humpbacked horse. After that, Ivanushka finds a feather of the firebird, becomes Tsars stable man, heads off to the silver mountain in search of Tsar Maiden, descends to the bottom of the ocean and bathes in boiling milk.

The production premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia in 1960. In NOVAT it is presented in Mikhail Messerers rendition, which was created after Alexander Radunskys original choreography.


A hut in the village, Sunday. Two brothers, Gavrila and Danila are about to set off to a party. Their younger brother Ivan wants to go with them, but they ditch him at home to sit on a Russian stove. Overwhelmed with boredom, he starts playing the whistle flute. This attracts the kids and they gather at the window. Ivanushka invites them in, everybody sings and dances. His brothers return home, banish everyone and scold Ivanushka.

Their old man returns from the field. He tells that someone destroyed their harvest and asks the brothers to find the villain. Armed with axes and pitchforks they go out on patrol. Ivanushka sneaks after them stocked with a loaf of bread.

Night falls on the field. They have a couple drops to keep the spirits up and hit the hay. Ivanushka keeps an eye on them from afar. Acknowledging the situation, he stands guard. Suddenly a whirlwind comes upon the field revealing a magic mare. Ivanushka grabs her and puts a collar on her. The mare struggles to escape, but fails. She asks Ivan to let her go promising a ransom in her stead. Ivanushka releases the mare. She leaves him with two golden-haired stallions and a little humpbacked horse.

The sky lights up as the firebirds fly over the field. One of them drops a feather. Ivanushka heads for it. Creeping and looking around come his brother. They spot the stallions and steal them to sell later at a fair. Ivanushka returns with the feather. The Little Humpbacked Horse cautions him against taking it, but Ivanushka wont listen. Realizing the stallions are gone he cries over them. The humpbacked horse suggests going after the robbers.

A market day at the capital city. The place is crowded. Ivans brothers settle down at a horse section raising eyebrows with bypassers. The Tsar appears willing to buy the stallions. Ivanushka rushes in explaining that hes the owner. The Tsar acquires the stallions, but his equerry fails to handle them. Tsar assigns the post to Ivanushka, appointing the former equerry the chamberlain of the bedchamber. The latter is gravely upset with this switch promising to take his revenge on Ivanushka.


A hot summer day. The Tsar dwells in his bright room. His entourage caters him and brings to bed. The chamberlain of the bedchamber spies on Ivan and notices the firebirds feather. He steals it after Ivanushka falls asleep and brings to the Tsar with a denouncement. He is amazed by the feather. Unintentionally he touches the wall, where a beautiful Tsar Maiden is displayed, and she comes to life. He falls in love with her on the spot, but the girl disappears into thin air. Upon his ex-equerrys advice, the Tsar orders Ivanushka to bring him the Tsar Maiden. The Little Humpbacked Horse swears to help him accomplish the task.

The silver mountain on the shore. Each night the Tsar Maiden comes swimming here. Ivanushka observes her dance with the firebirds from his hideout. Helped by his horse Ivanushka manages to catch the girl. He is astounded with her beauty. She seems to like him as well. The humpbacked horse lulls her to sleep and they head back to the Tsar.


Tsar is anxiously waiting for Ivan. Here he returns with the girl. The Tsar is feverously trying to preen his feathers.

The Tsar Maiden is finally awake. The Tsar is head over heels in love and willing to marry the girl right away. However, the Tsar Maiden first wants have her ring retrieved from the bottom of the sea. The Tsar orders Ivan to go get it for her. Ivanushka bewails having no clue how to do it. His horse comforts him saying that he will help him again.

They descend to the bottom of the sea. The Queen of the sea introduces Ivanushka to the wonders of her underwater realm. Jellyfish, corals and seahorses entertain the company. It becomes known that the Queen is unaware about the ring. She summons the all-knowing ruffe. He pulls the precious box out of the sand. Ivanushka thanks them all and heads back to the surface.

The palace is getting ready for the wedding. The Tsar Maiden is the only one, whos not enjoying the festive hassle. Shes missing Ivanushka. He walks in bringing her ring. The Tsar hands her the ring, hasting the process. However, she laughs at the old man and suggests that first off, he bathes in boiling milk to rejuvenate. The Tsar is scared, so his ex-equerry recommends letting Ivanushka go first. So, the Tsar calls for Ivanushka and orders him to bathe in boiling milk.

The Little Humpbacked Horse comes to the rescue once again. He enchants the liquid and Ivanushka bravely jumps in. He comes out a dreamboat. The Tsar proceeds into the kettle and disappears there. The crowd celebrates Ivan and the Tsar Maiden, extolling in roundelays.