When Diaghilev brought his ballet ruses back to the Paris Opera in 1910 Firebird was the season’s first ballet. The ballet was choreographed by Mikhail Fokine and the music was by Igor Stravinsky.
Stravinsky was a young composer at the time and this ballet score made him famous. The score was unlike previous ballet scores. The intricate rhythms and modern tones made it a challenging score to dance to. However it made the dances created by Fokine more exciting. Anna Pavlova turned down the role because she did not like the music. Tamara Karasavina replaced her and was a hit.
Diaghilev and Fokine wanted to create something from Russian Fairy Tales. The story begins with Prince Ivan who is wander the forest at night. He encounters a magic firebird. The Prince is captivated by her beauty and captures her. He then takes pity on her and sets her free. As a thank you the firebird gives the Prince one of her feathers and promises to help him if ever he is in need.
The Prince comes to a courtyard of an enchanted castle. There he finds thirteen beautiful Princesses. They are all being held captive by an evil magician named Katschei. The Princesses warn Prince Ivan not to go into the castle. The Prince goes anyway and he and Kashei begin to quarrel. When Katchei sends his magical creatures after the Prince the Firebird interviens. She makes the creatures dance until they are exhausted and fall asleep. She then tells the Prince how to destroy Katschei. He prevails and the spell is broken freeing the Princesses. The Prince is then free to marry one of the Princesses.