Raymonda is a grand classical ballet in three acts, with music composed by Alexander Glazunov and choreography by Marius Petipa. It was first staged for the Imperial Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on January 19, 1898, and is a celebrated example of the rich storytelling and elaborate choreography that characterizes Petipa’s work.

Raymonda has retained its popularity over the years, with its Grand pas Classique and variations becoming staples in the classical ballet repertoire. While the full-length version of this ballet is rarely performed today, many ballet companies stage excerpts from Raymonda, particularly the Grand pas Classique, which showcases a series of technical variations and exquisite choreography.

Set in medieval Hungary, the story of Raymonda centers around a beautiful countess Raymonda, who is engaged to the knight Jean de Brienne. As Jean goes off to the Crusades, the Saracen knight Abderakhman arrives and attempts to win Raymonda’s heart. When Jean returns, there is a fierce duel (which Jean wins), followed by a jubilant wedding for the happy couple. Raymonda’s ballet story is filled with the grandeur of medieval courts, romantic intrigue, and the heroics of knighthood. The ballet includes scenes of courtly dances, mystical visions, and vibrant character dances that reflect the diverse cultural influences of the era.

Olympic Ballet Theatre’s Summer Performance on June 1 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts provides a wonderful opportunity to experience excerpts from this timeless ballet, along with A Gentle Prelude, a contemporary work by Donald Byrd. Get your tickets at https://www.olympicballet.org/performance-season/summer-performance/