Thursday 20 December 2012

The Firebird Dances Again

As it is the Winter Solstice tomorrow and a time for old folk traditions, this is a repeat of the Sunday 31 May 2009 post.  The Royal Ballet are putting on “The Firebird” again from Saturday (house full) as part of a Triple Ballet programme.

The post is an annotated synopsis of the plot to update it into a modern context and a reminder that while the facts and the people may change, the story remains the same.


Once upon a time a Firebird lived in the depths of a dark, dank, dismal forest ruled by The Immortal Sorcerer Kashchei, aka Kostchei, (a banker), which was once The City of the land.  The Tsar’s heir, Ivan, out hunting on his own, as heirs to the throne do in fairy tales, sees the Firebird. 

He thinks about shooting her (a hostile takeover) but ends up agreeing to a mutual trade (cartel), and she gives him a magic feather (derivative package).  She flies off into the night, and then come along a Beautiful Tsarevna Princess (a desirable property) and her train of twelve enchanted Princesses (international subsidiaries). 

Ivan makes an approach (initial offer) and gives her a token (futures option) of his intent (subject to due diligence).  She and the other Princesses disappear, and a big hedge bars Ivan’s way (hedge funds have this effect), so he tries to get into the Castle that just happens to be there. 

Out come gangs of active predators and consultants who put him under administration, followed by Kashchei, who makes it clear he has a majority holding in all this. 

Ivan spits on the Sorcerer, causing Kashchei and his minions to into a whirl of market activity each with a piece of the action in Ivan.  Then Ivan remembers the feather, and waves it in the air.

The Firebird returns, the white knights having been enslaved by the Sorcerer; puts all of  Kashchei’s subjects into a frenzied dance that results in them all falling asleep (light regulatory touch) along with the Princesses who have watched wondering what this will do their long term business plans. 

Ivan wanders back in, disbelieving and needing a new mission statement badly, so the Firebird points him to the source of Kashchei’s power in a box (offshore holdings).

Ivan opens the box, remember, this is a ballet, not a TV show, and finds a large nest egg (private pension fund) that is clearly at the bottom of the trouble.  Clearly he has to do something (financial initiatives). 

So Ivan sends the nest egg as high as it can go, and when it drops and hits the floor it is smashed to pieces and Kashchei’s rule is ended.

There is a pause and then a glorious ending, with a magnificent glissando in the orchestra.  Ivan and the Beautiful Tsarevna are brought together, and the Princesses are matched to Knights, now in Ivan’s service. 

All of Kashchei’s servants, before then oligarchs of The City are given back their former high status.  The City is restored in full splendour, and there is a great parade of public sector employees giving tribute to the happy couple. 

Joy is unbounded as Ivan has assumed control of all financial activity guaranteeing them their former wealth and more for time immemorial, or until the next performance.

If you like this story, then go to the UK No.10 gov website that is the Prime Minister’s, where you will find lots of other fairy tales to make you feel happy.

As for those who wish to see the ballet at the Westminster Comedy Warehouse, because of unforeseen circumstances the price of seats has risen rapidly, as will other costs, and will continue to do so until further notice. 

The touring company has met with a great acclaim in Washington DC


Some folk tales really do seem to be immortal.


  1. "Some folk tales really do seem to be immortal."

    I suppose that's because human frailty is immortal.

  2. fwph!

    I had to engage my brain there, Demetrius

    good job I tried it before the festivities!

    Happy Xmas