Ballet by John Neumeier
based on Anton Chekhov


  Dmitri Shostakovich
Evelyn Glennie
Peter I. Tchaikovsky
Alexander Scriabin
  John Neumeier

1 intermission - 2 hours 30 min.


World Premiere
The Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, June 16, 2002


Original Cast    
Irina Nikolayevna Arkadina,
  Anna Polikarpova
Konstantin (Kostya)
Gavrilovich Triplev, her son
  Ivan Urban
created for Jirí Bubenícek
Piotr Nikolayevich Sorin,
her brother
  Lloyd Riggins
Boris Alexeyivich Trigorin,
  Otto Bubenícek
Nina Mikhailovna Zarechnaya,
young girl
  Heather Jurgensen
Yevgeny Sergeyivich Dorn,
  Sébastien Thill
Semyon Semyonovich Medvedenko,
  Peter Dingle
Ilya Afanasevich Shamrajev,
Manager of Sorin's estate
  Yaroslav Ivanenko
Polina Andreyevna,
his wife
  Niurka Moredo
Masha, his daughter   Joëlle Boulogne


What does it mean to be in love?
What does it mean to be an artist?
What does it mean to be an artist, who is in love?
What does it mean to be someone who loves to be an artist?



First act

In the Country
Kostja has built a stage in the garden of his uncle Piotr Sorin's estate. Nina, a girl from the neighbouring farm, arrives to dance the title role in his creation "Soul of the Seagull".
Kostya loves Nina. Nina loves Kostya.

Dmitri Shostakovich
Piano Concerto No. 2 F-Major, op. 102, 1957,
2nd Movement

Kostya's mother, the famous prima ballerina Irina Arkadina arrives with her lover, the choreographer Boris Trigorin. Among the other guests for Kostja's performances are: Ilya Shamrayev, foreman of Sorin's estate, his wife Polina, their daughter Masha, the physician Dr. Dorn, and the village school teacher, Semyon Medvedenko.
Medvedenko loves Masha. Masha loves Kostya. Kostya loves Nina. Nina falls in love with Trigorin. Trigorin loves Arkadina but is fascinated by Nina. Arkadina loves Trigorin. Polina loves Dr. Dorn.

Dmitri Shostakovich
Symphony No. 15 A-Major, op. 141, 1971,
1st Movement

Kostya's Dance Piece "Soul of the Seagull"

Evelyn Glennie
Excerpts from: Shadow behind the Iron Sun, 2000

Music from across the Lake – Arkadina recalls one of her famous roles

Peter I. Tchaikovsky
December from: The Seasons, op. 37a, 1875/76,
No. 12

Arkadina speaks with her son Kostya
Trigorin teaches Nina

Dmitri Shostakovich
Symphony No. 15 A-Major, op. 141, 1971,
2nd Movement

Card games and Amusement

3rd Movement

Jealousy and Decisions
Kostya's Dream Dances

4th Movement

Second act

Revue Theatre: Nina is one in a chorus line

Dmitri Shostakovich
Moscow Czeryomushki, Operetta Suite, op. 105, 1958, edited by Andrew Cornall, No. 1 A Ride through Moscow

Nina meets a changed Trigorin -
The Revue goes on

Dmitri Shostakovich
Moscow Czeryomushki, Operetta Suite, op. 105, 1958, edited by Andrew Cornall, No. 2 Waltz

Kostya's Sketch Book – Dream Dances

Dmitri Shostakovich
Piano Trio No. 2 e-minor, op. 67, 1944,
3rd Movement Largo

Nina's Polka

Dmitri Shostakovich
Polka, No. 4 from Ballet Suite No. 1, 1949

Imperial Theatre: Trigorin's Ballet "Death of the Seagull"

Dmitri Shostakovich
Moscow Czeryomuski, Operetta Suite, op. 105, 1958, edited by Andrew Cornall, No. 4 Ballet

Masha decides to marry Medvedenko

Alexander Scriabin
Nocturne op. 9,2, 1894

Nina's letter to Kostya

Dmitri Shostakovich
Chamber Symphony for Strings c-minor, op. 110a, 1960 Arrangement: Rudolf Barschai, 1st Movement

Autumn Garden: Sorin faints

2nd Movement

Arkadina's Visit – A sad Wedding Celebration

3rd Movement

Nina's Appearance – Nina's Farewell

4th and 5th Movement

Kostya's Dream Dances end ...

Dmitri Shostakovich
Symphony No. 15 A-Major, op. 141, 1971,
excerpts from the 4th Movement


Chekhov, like Shakespeare, is an author who creates characters so complete, so true that they live in the imagination outside and independent of the text. It is the emotional life behind Chekov's words that I transform into dance. For me, the central theme and conflict of "The Seagull" is the development of the relationship between love and art - art and love.
John Neumeier


"Nothing much, only an idea that occurred to me. An idea for a short story. A young girl grows up on the shores of a lake, as you have. She loves the lake as the gulls do, and is as happy and free as they. But a man sees her who chances to come that way, and he destroys her out of idleness, as this gull here has been destroyed."
The Seagull, Anton Chekhov

Jurgensen - Urban


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