Bolshoi – Marco Spada



Music: Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber

Choreography: Joseph Mazilier/Pierre Lacotte            

Sunday 30th March 2014, 4pm

Ballet in 3 Acts
2 hrs 50mins (including 2 intervals)










CAST (to be announced)                        CREATIVE TEAM   
                                                                                                                                                    Original Choreographer: Joseph Mazilier    
  New Choreographic Version: Pierre Lacotte
  Scenery and Costumes: Pierre Lacotte
  Music Director: TBA
Venues & Booking



Marco Spada was created at the Paris Opera in 1857 with choreography from Joseph Mazilier and music adapted from Daniel Auber’s comic opera of Marco Spada. Soon forgotten, the ballet was revived in 1981 with a brand new choreography by Pierre Lacotte for the Rome Opera, with Rudolf Nureyev as the 18th-century Italian bandit pretending to be an aristocrat, and Ghislaine Thesmar as his daughter Angela.

At the Bolshoi, Marco Spada was premiered on the historic stage on November 8, 2013. Leading roles were performed by David Hallberg (Marco Spada), Evgenia Obraztsova (Angela), Olga Smirnova (Marchesa Sampietri), Semyon Chudin (Prince Frederici), and Igor Tsvirko (Count Pepinelli). Pierre Lacotte designed sets and costumes. 



Act I

Scene 1
Having gathered together to celebrate a wedding, the peasants complain to the Governor of Rome about the misdeeds of a certain Marco Spada. Though they have never set eyes on him, rumours about the robberies he has carried out in the district are a hot topic of conversation with them. A regiment of dragoons enters the village. Count Pepinelli, captain of the dragoons, falls for the charms of the Governor’s daughter, Marchesa Sampietri. But, alas, the latter is betrothed to Prince Frederici… Taking advantage of the situation, Marco Spada, incognito, empties the pockets of the onlookers. General consternation! Rain scatters the crowd. The only person left in the square is Friar Borromeo, whom Marco Spada has deftly relieved of all the alms he has collected. 

Scene 2
The Marchesa, the Governor of Rome and Count Pepinelli, who have got lost on a mountain walk, have no idea they have taken refuge in Marco Spada’s lair. Angela, the bandit’s daughter, is also totally ignorant of her father’s clandestine activities. In the belief that no one is at home Spada’s accomplices quickly fill the room but then, just as quickly, vanish. Pepinelli, who has witnessed all this, warns Spada, that his house has been invaded by bandits. The dragoons take up their posts. The trap-doors in the floor open up again and the pictures hanging on the walls shift positions — but this time only to reveal to the astonished visitors a laden table and seductive young women! 

Act II

The Governor invites Marco Spada and Angela to a ball. At the very moment that Prince Frederici is about to ask Spada for his daughter’s hand in marriage, Friar Borromeo turns up and complains to all and sundry he has been robbed. Borromeo says he will recognize the thief. Spada decides it is time to vanish but, before he manages to do so, Borromeo points him out. At last the penny drops: a shattered Angela tells Prince Frederici she cannot be his bride. The piqued Prince immediately announces his betrothal to the Marchesa. Now it is Pepinelli’s turn to be put out. 


Scene 1
Pepinelli decides to declare his love to the Marchesa for the last time but, the latter, having already made up her mind, comes to meet him in her wedding dress. Suddenly the bandits show up from all directions and kidnap both the Marchesa and the Count. 

Scene 2
Surrounded by his cronies Marco Spada, to his astonishment, catches sight of Angela in bandit garb. “In life or death! I accept my fate and want to live here with you all”. Against his will, Friar Borromeo is forced to marry the Marchesa and Pepinelli. 
The approaching regiment can be heard in the distance, the bandits decide to take refuge in a cave, seizing Frederici and the Governor whom they come across on their way. But Angela intervenes and saves the lives of both of the latter. Shots are heard close at hand. Marco Spada is mortally wounded. He appears, staggering. Before he dies, he makes a confession which dumbfounds the soldiers: Angela, he says, is not his daughter. This lie saves her from arrest and leaves the way open for her marriage to Prince Frederici.



Joesph Mazilier (1801-1868) was a 19th-century French dancer, ballet-master and choreographer. He was most noted for his ballets Paquita (1844) and Le Corsaire (1856). He created the role of James in La Sylphide with Marie Taglioni. From 1839 to 1851 he was ballet master of the Paris Opera, where he made more than two dozen works. He spent a year with the Imperial Theatres in St Petersburg (1851-2) but returned to the Paris Opera in 1853 as premier maître de ballet. He retired in 1860, although he came out of retirement in 1867 to revive Le Corsaire. A list of his works includes La Gypsy (mus. F. Benoist and T. Marliani, 1839), Le Diable amoureux (mus. Benoist and H. Réber, 1840), Lady Henriette, ou la servante de Greenwich (mus. Flotow, Burgmüller, and Deldevez, 1844), Le Diable à quatre (mus. Adam, 1845), Paquita (mus. Deldevez, 1846), Griseldis, ou les cinq sens (mus. Adam, 1848), Vert-vert (mus. Deldevez and J. B. Tobeque (or Tolbeque), 1851), Jovita, ou les boucaniers (mus. T. Labarre, 1853), Le Corsaire (mus. Adam, 1856), and Marco Spada, ou la fille du bandit (mus. Auber, 1857).

Born in 1932 in France, Pierre Lacotte is known for his multiple talents as a dancer, choreographer and ballet master. He began studying ballet at the School of the Paris Opera in 1942, became part of the corps de ballet in 1946 and principal dancer in 1953. After suffering from a leg injury in 1956, he began studying the choreography of the lost ballets of the Romantic period. He was appointed ballet master of the Paris Opera in 1971 and recreated Coppélia in 1973 and Paquita in 2001. These two productions helped him achieve great success and encouraged him to carry on rebuilding other choreographies. He achieved worldwide success in 2000 with The Pharaoh’s Daughter featuring the great ballerina Svetlana Zakharova.


Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber (1782-1871) was a French composer the foremost representative of opéra comique in 19th-century France. He was a pupil of Cherubini and, from 1823, a devotee of Rossini’s music. The synthesis of French opéra comique with Rossini’s spirited writing is best seen in the light works Auber produced with the librettist Scribe, from Fiorella (1826) and Fra Diavolo (1830) to La sirène (1844); these works are characterized by triadic melodies, dance-like rhythms, light orchestration and homophonic texture. He also wrote more serious opéras comique with Scribe as well as La muette de Portici (1828), important for inaugurating the epoch of French grand opera through its use of local colour, crowd portrayal and a modern revolutionary topic. He was director of the Paris Conservatoire (1842-70) and received many national honours. 

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