Nicolai Malko – Gayaneh, ballet V. “Lullaby” “Aram Khachaturian”
Gayane (Gayaneh or Gayne (the e is pronounced); Armenian: Գայանե; Russian: Гаянэ) is a four-act ballet with music by Aram Khachaturian. Originally composed in or before 1939, when it was first Produced (in Yerevan) as “Happiness”. [The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, Third Edition, by Michael Kennedy, 1980. Same information in The New Penguin Dictionary of Music by Paul Griffiths, 2004.] Revised in 1941–42 to a libretto by Konstantin Derzhavin and with choreography by Nina Aleksandrovna Anisimova (Derzhavin’s wife), the score was revised in 1952 and in 1957, with a new plot. The stage design was by Nathan Altman (scenery) and Tatyana Bruni (costumes).
The first performance took place on 9 December 1942, staged by the Kirov Ballet while in Perm (Russia) during the Second World War evacuation, and was broadcast on the radio. The principal dancers were: Natalia Dudinskaya (Gayane), Nikolai Zubkovsky (Karen), Konstantin Sergeyev (Armen), Tatanya Vecheslova (Nune), and Boris Shavrov (Giko). The conductor was Pavel Feldt. The most famous parts of the ballet are the “Sabre Dance”, which has been covered by many pop artists, and the “Adagio”, which featured prominently in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Khachaturian’s original Gayane was the story of a young Armenian woman whose patriotic convictions conflict with her personal feelings on discovering her husband’s treason. In later years the plot was modified several times, the resultant story emphasizing romance over nationalistic zeal.