Lev Ivanov: biography, creativity, career, personal life

In his work Lev Ivanov always considered the most important component of music. Therefore, all his productions are distinguished by striking harmonicity and imagery.

The path to vocation

The biography of the future figure began from 1834. The baby was born in Moscow on March 2. In the family the boy was the eldest. From his early years, he displayed abilities for dance. Parents who saw his gift gave his son to the capital’s ballet school. From there the talented student was transferred to St. Petersburg for education.

On the new dream, teachers immediately appreciated the novice’s abilities. He was also distinguished by absolute hearing and magnificent memory. However, the fascination with music teachers considered superfluous: the student was distracted from studying the rest of the subjects. The stage debut was in 1850.


16-year-old pupil danced in the ballet “Melniki” classical pas de deux. The premiere was great, the novice artist was constantly involved in productions. In 1852 the gifted artist was admitted to the company of the Bolshoi Theatre in St. Petersburg. At first, the newcomer was enrolled in the cordebalet.

However, there he was immediately paid attention to the leading ballerinas Andrianova and Smirnov. They appreciated the young man’s talent and chose his partner on stage. Lion performed characteristic and classical parts. There were minor roles in his repertoire as well. Transferred him to soloists in 1956. Ivanov performed Kolen in “Vain Precaution”, was Feb in “Esmeralda”, Conrad in “Corsair”.

The dancer was the first performer of Fisherman Taor’s part in the ballet “Pharaoh’s Daughter” to music by Caesar Puni, staged by Petipa. He also brilliantly performed the role of Solor in the ballet “Bayadere”.

Successes and disappointments

Happily at first developed and personal life of the entertainer. His choice was dancer Vera Lyadova, daughter of a famous Russian composer. Young men became husband and wife. Soon Vera retired to operetta.

Her work was praised by her contemporaries. The artist was called the Russian operatic diva. Since recognizing her in her new job, marriage has given a crack. The happy union has broken up.

Beginning in the sixties, the artist began work as a choreographer, began teaching activities. In 1872 he retired; however, the theatre management persuaded him to stay and continue his work. In 1882 Ivanov received an appointment as director of the St. Petersburg ballet.

Three years later, he was transferred second ballet master to Petipa. Lev Ivanovich’s duties included the resumption of old performances, the staging of dances. Ivanov also created divertisments and staged one-act ballets for Kamennoostrovsky Theatre.

As a teacher the ballet master led the senior class of pupils of the school. In 1887 he presented his first performance, “The Charmed Forest”. The production was created in the calculation of the premiere at the school.

New achievements

In the same period appeared “The Harlem Tulip”, “Cupid’s Prank”, and “The Beauty of Seville”. Ivanov gained the fame of an experienced professional. His production of “Polovetskyi plasok” for the opera “Prince Igor” by Borodin in 1890 were recognized as Triumphant. Later researchers referred to Lev Ivanovich’s work as preparation for a coup in characteristic dance.

Borodin’s work caused the ballet master great respect. In the complex construction of his dance suite, the choreographer managed to convey the rising tension. Dance scenes in the camp of Polovtsev were highly appreciated by critics. By early summer 1892 Petipa had begun work on the ballet “The Nutcracker” to the music of Tchaikovsky.

However, it was unable to continue activities. He was replaced by Ivanov. Lev Ivanovic faced a difficult task. The ballet master with all his strength sought to leave unchanged the aesthetics of the predecessor and fulfill all the conditions of the script. The innovation in full force was manifested in the deepening action scene of the snow flakes waltz.

This work has been called the triumph of a major artist. It was Tchaikovsky’s work that gave the master the opportunity to determine the image that became the reason for all further achievements of the choreographer. His failures or successes depended entirely on the music. For him, she became the main component of the production.

Spring 1893 was the premiere for the school’s version of the comic ballet “The Magic Flute”. In memory of Peter Tchaikovsky’s death on October 25, the Directorate of Imperial Theatres decided to stage “Swan Lake”. Management felt that the new ballet would find its fans.

The second painting in Ivanov’s production was first shown in February 1894. At that time Lev Ivanovich was engaged in work alone, however he could not reject Petipa’s brilliant idea with the opposition of gentle Odette temperamental Odillia. However, Ivanov’s “little swans” glorified the performance.

Recognition of Merit

The premiere screening took place in 1895, January 15. According to the choreographer, all winged creatures did not necessarily have to come on stage in costumes with wings behind their backs. It was Ivanov who proposed the idea of abandoning huge and often uncomfortable details. Contrary to the canon that existed before it, the choreographer replaced them with his own imitating wing movements of the hands.

ceased to serve as a kind of scenery and all mass scenes. Ivanov’s ingenious find was the symbolic language of such phenomena, echoing poses and gestures of the main character, as if reflecting Odette’s experiences.

In 1896 a new work by the choreographer was presented, a one-act performance “Acis and Galatea”. In 1897 the public saw the ballet “Daughter of the Mikado” in several acts. In 1899 he completed and wrote a memoir. In October 1900, the divertisment of the last act of “Skate-Gorbunk” was supplemented by Liszt’s second rhapsody. Criticism called it a choreographed poem. The success was explained by Ivanov’s typical musical interpretation and characteristic symphonized dance.

The work was the master’s last masterpiece. From life the famous ballet master retired in 1901, on 11 (24) December.

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