Marius Ivanovich Petipa (1818–1910) was a French and Russian principal ballet dancer, pedagogue and choreographer.
He was born on 11 March 1818 in Marseille into the family of Jean-Antoine Petipa, a French ballet dancer and ballet master, and Victorine Morel-Grasseau, a dramatic actress.
In his childhood Marius began to perform in his father’s ballet productions. In 1847 Petipa was invited by the Russian authorities to come to Saint Petersburg. He made his début on the stage of the Saint Petersburg Bolshoi (Stone) Theatre. That very year he débuted as a ballet master as well. After that he worked in Russia – at first as the premier dancer and then as a pedagogue. Among his great performances were Lucien in Paquita
(1847), Diavolino in Catarina
, la Fille du Bandit
, Faust in the eponymous ballet (1854), Conrad in Le Corsaire
(1858), the dual role of Lord Wilson/Ta-Hor in The Pharaoh’s Daughter
Starting from 1862, Marius Petipa acted as a ballet master, and as the premier maître de ballet from 1869 till 1903.
He staged over 60 his masterworks in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, including The Sleeping Beauty
, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Le Talisman
. Marius Petipa established a set of rules which are still up-to-date in the art of dance and are considered the fundamentals of ballet academism. His ballet productions were characterised by composition stagecraft, brilliant detailing of solo parts and harmonious choreographic ensemble.
The envelope depicts Marius Petipa’s portrait against a ballet scene from La Bayadère
; the main image shows The Sleeping Beauty
(1890) at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre.
In addition to the envelope, JSC Marka has produced a special cancellation postmark for Saint Petersburg.
Design: О. Savina.
Circulation: 1 million.