Danilo, a young craftsman, dreams of carving the most perfect and most natural objects out of malachite. Legend has it that the Queen of the Copper Mountain knows the secret of how to do it. Whoever meets her might learn how. Despite the possibility of his engagement with Katerina, Danilo is unable to forget his quest.
Ever changing due to never being satisfied, a human being is always searching for new images of himself and expresses it via desire to be different or elsewhere. Through Danilo’s quest, the Tale of the Stone Flower illustrates this trend and underlies that art also requires sacrifices.
We know with regard to various literature that tales have a multitude of different interpretations which can be psychoanalytical, symbolic, poetic, and even historic. With La Fleur de pierre (The Stone Flower), it is possible to detect Prokofiev’s face in Danilo’s traits, fighting against an oppressive dictatorship for the love of his music. The Queen of the Mountain would then be the Fairy that the author was dreaming about under Stalin’s rule.
The Fairy or magical woman is the personification of the female component, and the male psyche which Jung called Anima. Seen from this perspective, Danilo’s quest also becomes part of the search to perfect oneself. The Stone becomes the most intimate person that each of us must carve out, then polish in order to flourish.
Leaving the earth’s surface for the realm of the Queen of the Mountain means diving into the subconscious to be reborn. We find this notion again of descending into the earth’s depths in the story of Orpheus, but also in an archaic rite of passage ritual which required a teenager to spend a night inside a cave in order to be reborn as an adult at dawn.
Clearly, this tale, like so many others, contains a treasure trove of interpretations. For want of being exclusive, I was inspired by various sources, all while maintaining the tone of the musical score.
Performed on 2 January 1994
at the Maison de la Culture de Saint-Etienne by the Temps Présent Company
New performance by Ballet Florida
on 7 September 2001 at the Gare du Midi in Biarritz
Music Serge Prokofiev
Choreography Thierry Malandain
Set and costumes Jorge Gallardo
Production management, lighting design Jean-Claude Asquié
Coproduction Ballet Florida, Malandain Ballet Biarritz
Full length of the performance 75 minutes
Ballet for 18 dancers
Dancers Jessica Benton, Diane Cahill, Emmanuel Colina, Christina Hampton, Dan Harris, Janine Harris, Steven Hoff, Ellen Kent, Wendy Laraghy, Gary Lenington, Jennifer Lessing, Tina Martin, Charla Metzker, Tracy Mozingo, Jerry Opdenaker, Markus Schaffer, Manuel Ureat
Queen of the Mountain Tina Martin
Danilo Gary Lenington
Katerina Wendy Laraghy
Severian Tracy Mozingo
Prostitute Diane Cahill
Will ‘O the Wisp Markus Schaffer
Labourers, fiancées, stones Charla Metzker, Dan Harris, Jerry Opdenaker, Jennifer Lessing, Ellen Kent, Christina Hampton, Markus Schaffer, Manuel Ureat, Emmanuel Colina, Jessica Benton, Janine Harris, Diane Cahill, Steven Hoff
Video by D. Olive Video, September 2001