Diana and Actaeon by Maria Baranova and Alexei Timofeyev, music by Riccardo Drigo and Cesare Pugni, choreography by Agrippina Vaganova. Kenneth and Friends Gala 2014 at Finnish National Opera. Shot on 24.05.2014.
Maria Baranova is principal dancer with the Finnish National Ballet. She was born in Lohja, Finland. Maria Baranova entered the Helsinki Dance Institute in 1999. Later she studied dancing at the Ballet School of Hamburg Ballet and at the Helsinki Dance School, under Anastasia Dunets, Maj-Lis Rajala and Juha Kirjonen. She was the dancer of Hamburg Ballet in 2009–2011 and since 2011 she is the principal dancer at the Finnish National Ballet.
Alexey Timofeyev was born in Leningrad (St Petersburg). He graduated from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in 2004, class of Gennady Selyutsky. Alexey joined the Mariinsky Ballet in 2004.
La Esmeralda is a ballet in 3 acts, 5 scenes, inspired by Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, originally choreographed by Jules Perrot; with music by Cesare Pugni. It was first presented by the Ballet of her Majesty’s Theatre, London on March 9, 1844. Today the ballet is presented in its full-length form only in certain parts of the world, in most cases only excerpts are given – the La Esmeralda Pas de Deux and the Pas de Six, but mostly the Diane and Actéon Pas de Deux is given, which in all actuality is not originally from the ballet.
The Greek myth of Diana and Actaeon can be found within Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The tale recounts the unfortunate fate of a young hunter named Actaeon, who was the grandson of Cadmus, and his encounter with chaste Diana, goddess of the hunt. The latter is nude and enjoying a bath in a spring with help from her escort of nymphs when the mortal man unwittingly stumbles upon the scene. The nymphs scream in surprise and attempt to cover Diana, who, in a fit of embarrassed fury, splashes water upon Actaeon. He is transformed into a deer with a dappled hide and long antlers, robbed of his ability to speak, and thereafter promptly flees in fear. It is not long, however, before his fellow hunters and his own hounds track him down and kill him, failing to recognize their friend.
Photos by Jack Devant © with kind permission of the Finnish National Opera and Kenneth Greve, special thanks Heidi Almi.