The Fountain of Bakhchisarai is a ballet-poem showing the opposition of two cultures, sophisticated Europe and passionate East. It is set on the plot of the poem of the same name by Alexander Pushkin. During his southern exile, the poet visited the Crimea and the Bakhchisarai Palace of the Crimean Khans. His attention was attracted by the famous "fountain of tears", which, according to legend, was built by Khan Kyrym-Girey in memory of the deceased beloved concubine. The legend touched Pushkin's heart, and in 1821 he wrote the poem "The fountain of love, the fountain of life!" and the famous poem "The Fountain of Bakhchisarai".
The premiere of the ballet about the unhappy love of the Tatar Khan Giray for the Polish Princess Maria took place in 1937 at the Mariinsky Theatre. The creators of the production, playwright Nikolai Volkov, composer Boris Asafiev and choreographer Rostislav Zakharov, put classical dance and music at the service of drama: The “Fountain of Bakhchisarai” became one of the first performances of the new direction of “choreodrama” or “dramatic ballet” in Soviet art.
The plot came out on top in terms of importance of all the elements of the production, artists had to not only perform the dance, but also get used to the role, be in character, work according to the Stanislavsky method.
The premiere was a great success, thanks to Asafiev's music, which perfectly conveyed the character of each persona, and the talent of Russian ballet stars: then the inimitable Galina Ulanova performed the role of Maria, the representation of the Polish princess in her interpretation entered the golden fund of Soviet choreography.
From the day of the premiere, "The Fountain of Bakhchisarai" was on pause only during the War. After World War II, the ballet was resumed, and since then it has been triumphantly marching on world stages, allowing new generations of artists to find their own understanding of the images of Pushkin's ballet.