Paquita is a romantic ballet in two acts and three scenes. Its story was written by Joseph Mazilier and Paul Foucher. The music was composed by Edouard Deldevez. It was originally choreographed by Joseph Mazilier. Paquita was first performed in the Salle Le Peletier by the Paris Opera Ballet on 1 April 1846. It starred Carlotta Grisi and Lucien Petipa. Paquita remained in the repertory of the Opéra until 1851.
(left to right) Georges Ellie as Iñigo, Carlotta Grisi as Paquita, and Lucien Petipa as Lucien d'Hervilly in Act I, Scene 2. Paris, 1844
|Choreographed by||Joseph Mazilier|
|Composed by||Edouard Deldevez|
|Libretto by||Joseph Mazilier and Paul Foucher|
|Date of premiere||1 April 1846|
|Place of premiere||Salle Le Peletier, Paris|
|Original ballet company||Paris Opera|
|Setting||Act 1: Gypsy camp|
Act 2: Great hall
|Created for||Carlotta Grisi|
The story takes place in Spain during the occupation of Napoleon's army. The heroine is the young Gypsy girl, Paquita. She is really of noble birth. She was abducted by Gypsies when she was an infant. She saves the life of a young French officer, Lucien d'Hervilly. He is the target of a Spanish governor who desires to have him killed by Iñigo, a Gypsy chief. Paquita discovers that she is of noble birth. She is in fact the cousin of Lucien. She and Lucien marry.
In 1847, Paquita was staged for the first time in Russia for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg by Marius Petipa and Pierre-Frédéric Malevergne. It was Petipa's first ballet staged in Russia. In 1881, Petipa produced a revival of the ballet. He added new pieces specially composed by Ludwig Minkus. This included the Pas de trois (aka the Minkus Pas de trois or Paquita Pas de trois) for the first act, and the Paquita Grand pas classique and the Mazurka des enfants (Children's mazurka) for the last act. Petipa's version of Paquita remained in the repertory of the Mariinsky Theatre until 1926.
Marius Petipa's 1881 additions for Paquita survived long after the full-length ballet left the stage. Today these pieces, particularly the Grand pas classique, are major cornerstones of the traditional classical ballet repertory. They have been staged by ballet companies throughout the world.
In 2001, the Ballet Master Pierre Lacotte produced a revival of the full-length, two act Paquita for the Paris Opera Ballet. Although Lacotte re-choreographed most of the ballet himself, he restored Joseph Mazilier's original mime sequences and mise-en-scène, as well as Marius Petipa's 1881 additions.