Lucien Petipa

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Lucien Petipa, painting by Louise Adelaide Desnos, 1849

Lucien Petipa (born December 22, 1815 in Marseille , † July 7, 1898 in Versailles ) was a French dancer, choreographer and ballet master.


The son of Jean Antoine Petipa and brother of Marius Petipa made his debut under his father in Brussels . He then danced under his direction in Bordeaux and in 1839 in the ballet La Sylphide for the first time in Paris . In 1841 he created Albrecht in Giselle .

As a constant partner of Carlotta Grisi , he took on other leading roles, including in the ballets La Péri (1843), Eucharis (1844), Le diable à quatre (1845), Paquita (1846), Griseldis (1849), La filleule des fées ( 1849), Jovita, ou Les Boucaniers (1853), Gemma (1854), Les Elfes (1856) and Marco Spada (1857).

Petipa made his debut as an opera choreographer in Louis Niedermeyer's La Fronde in 1853 . In 1855 he choreographed the world premiere of Giuseppe Verdi's Les vêpres siciliennes and in 1857 of Daniel-François-Esprit Auber's Le cheval de bronze . He created other opera choreographies for Gioachino Rossini's Semiramide (1869), Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser (1861), Charles Gounod's La reine de Saba (1862), Verdi's Don Carlos (1867) and Ambroise Thomas ' Hamlet (1868).

His first ballet work was Sakountala (1858, music: Ernest Reyer ), in which he himself danced the leading role, followed by Graziosa (1861, music: Théodore Labarre ) and Le roi d'Yvetot (1865, music: Théodore Labarre).

Ballet master at the Paris Opera since 1860 , a hunting accident in 1868 prematurely ended his career. In 1882 he nevertheless choreographed the world premiere of the ballet Namouna by Édouard Lalo . Petipa was considered an excellent dancer, but as a choreographer was always in the shadow of his brother Marius.


  • Horst Koegler, Helmut Günther: Reclams Ballettlexikon , Reclam, Stuttgart 1984, ISBN 3-15010328-2

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