This fairy tale dates back to ancient China. More than fifty variations of this tale exist. The ballet, however, covers the story we all are familiar with. This fairy tale was written by Charles Perrault. It was part of the Histoires ou Coutes du Temps Pass (Stories and Tales of the Past)which also included the Sleeping Beauty.
In 1870, the Bolshoi had asked Tchaikovsky to write the music for this tale. It did not happen. Prokofiev picked up the work many decades later. He began work in 1940 but completed it in 1945 as a result of the mental equilibrium being disturbed during the Second World War. He also worked on his Opera, `War and Peace’ in those five years. The original ballet is written for 170 minutes but later Prokofiev went through cuts to make it comfortable for the performers and brought the ballet down to 115 minutes. There is an abridged version here of just eighty minutes that was performed by the Bolshoi under Yuri Feier as the Premier performance in 1945. Later, Prokofiev added another thirty five minutes from his earlier transcripts. Still, fifty minutes of the original ballet length ultimately got scrapped and it does not get performed today.
The scenario for the ballet was done by Nikolai Volkov. This ballet has inspired many choreographers. Prokofiev completed his best ballet, Romeo and Juliet, in 1940. He wrote three piano suites of movements from the entire Cinderella ballet which are occasionally performed. The 115 minutes performance has been given by Andre Previn and the London Symphony.