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The Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
(French: [balɛ ʁys]) was an itinerant ballet company based in Paris that performed between 1909 and 1929 throughout Europe and on tours to North and South America. The company never performed in Russia, where the Revolution disrupted society. After its initial Paris season, the company had no formal ties there.[1] Originally conceived by impresario Sergei Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes is widely regarded as the most influential ballet company of the 20th century,[2] in part because it promoted ground-breaking artistic collaborations among young choreographers, composers, designers, and dancers, all at the forefront of their several fields. Diaghilev commissioned works from composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, and Sergei Prokofiev, artists such as Vasily Kandinsky, Alexandre Benois, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse, and costume designers Léon Bakst
Léon Bakst
and Coco Chanel. The company's productions created a huge sensation, completely reinvigorating the art of performing dance, bringing many visual artists to public attention, and significantly affecting the course of musical composition. It also introduced European and American audiences to tales, music and design motifs drawn from Russian folklore. The influence of the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
lasts to the present day.

Contents

1 Nomenclature 2 History and productions

2.1 Background 2.2 Debut 2.3 Principal productions 2.4 Successors

3 The dancers 4 The choreographers

4.1 Michel Fokine 4.2 Vaslav Nijinsky 4.3 Léonide Massine 4.4 Bronislava Nijinska 4.5 George Balanchine

5 The designers

5.1 Alexandre Benois 5.2 Léon Bakst 5.3 Pablo Picasso 5.4 Natalia Goncharova

6 The composers and conductors

6.1 Igor Stravinsky

7 Summary of contribution 8 Film of a performance 9 Centennial exhibitions and celebrations 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links

Nomenclature[edit] The French plural form of the name, “Ballets Russes,” specifically refers to the company founded by Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Diaghilev
and active during his lifetime. (In some publicity the company was advertised as Les Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
de Serge Diaghileff.) In English, the company is now commonly referred to as "the Ballets Russes" (plural, without italics), although in the early part of the 20th century, it was sometimes referred to as “The Russian Ballet” or “Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet.” To add to the confusion, some publicity material spelt the name in the singular. The names “ Ballet
Ballet
Russe de Monte Carlo” and “The Original Ballet Russe” (using the singular) refer to companies that formed after Diaghilev's death in 1929. History and productions[edit]

Ballet
Ballet
Russes by August Macke, 1912

Background[edit] Sergei Diaghilev, the company's impresario (or "artistic director" in modern terms), was chiefly responsible for its success. He was uniquely prepared for the role; born into a wealthy Russian family of vodka distillers (though they went bankrupt when he was 18), he was accustomed to moving in the upper-class circles that provided the company's patrons and benefactors. In 1890, he enrolled at the Faculty of Law, St. Petersburg, to prepare for a career in the civil service like many Russian young men of his class.[3] There he was introduced (through his cousin Dmitry Filosofov) to a student clique of artists and intellectuals calling themselves The Nevsky Pickwickians whose most influential member was Alexandre Benois; others included Léon Bakst, Walter Nouvel, and Konstantin Somov.[4]From childhood, Diaghilev had been passionately interested in music. However, his ambition to become a composer was dashed in 1894 when Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
told him he had no talent.[5] In 1898, several members of The Pickwickians founded the journal Mir iskusstva (World of Art) under the editorship of Diaghilev.[6] As early as 1902, Mir iskusstva
Mir iskusstva
included reviews of concerts, operas, and ballets in Russia. The latter were chiefly written by Benois, who exerted considerable influence on Diaghilev's thinking.[7] Mir iskusstva also sponsored exhibitions of Russian art in St. Petersburg, culminating in Diaghilev's important 1905 show of Russian portraiture at the Tauride Palace.[8] Frustrated by the extreme conservatism of the Russian art world, Diaghilev organized the groundbreaking Exhibition of Russian Art at the Petit Palais
Petit Palais
in Paris in 1906, the first major showing of Russian art in the West. Its enormous success created a Parisian fascination with all things Russian. Diaghilev organized a 1907 season of Russian music at the Paris Opéra. In 1908, Diaghilev returned to the Paris Opéra with six performances of Modest Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov, starring basso Fyodor Chaliapin. This was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's 1908 version (with additional cuts and re-arrangement of the scenes). The performances were a sensation, though the costs of producing grand opera were crippling. Debut[edit] In 1909, Diaghilev presented his first Paris "Saison Russe" devoted exclusively to ballet (although the company did not use the name "Ballets Russes" until the following year). Most of this original company were resident performers at the Imperial Ballet
Ballet
of Saint Petersburg, hired by Diaghilev to perform in Paris during the Imperial Ballet's summer holidays. The first season's repertory featured a variety of works chiefly choreographed by Michel Fokine, including Le Pavillon d'Armide, the Polovtsian Dances
Polovtsian Dances
(from Prince Igor), Les Sylphides, and Cléopâtre. The season also included Le Festin, a pastiche set by several choreographers (including Fokine) to music by several Russian composers. Principal productions[edit] See also: Category: Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
productions. The principal productions are shown in the table below.

Year Title Composer(s) Choreographer(s) Sets and costumes

1909 Le Pavillon d'Armide Nikolai Tcherepnin Michel Fokine Alexandre Benois

Prince Igor Alexander Borodin Michel Fokine Nicholas Roerich

Le Festin Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
(march from Le Coq d'Or used for processional entry)

Konstantin Korovin
Konstantin Korovin
(sets and costumes) Léon Bakst
Léon Bakst
(costumes) Alexandre Benois (costumes) Ivan Bilibin
Ivan Bilibin
(costumes)

Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Glinka
("Lezginka" from Ruslan and Ludmilla) Michel Fokine, Marius Petipa

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
("L'Oiseau d'Or" from The Sleeping Beauty) Marius Petipa

Alexander Glazunov
Alexander Glazunov
("Czardas" from Raymonda) Alexander Gorsky

Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Mussorgsky
("Hopak" from The Fair at Sorochyntsi) Michel Fokine

Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Glinka
("Mazurka" from A Life for the Tsar) Nicolai Goltz, Felix Kchessinsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
("Trepak" from The Nutcracker) Michel Fokine

Alexander Glazunov
Alexander Glazunov
("Grand Pas Classique Hongrois" from Raymonda) Marius Petipa

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
("Finale" of the Second Symphony) Michel Fokine

Les Sylphides Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin
(orch. Glazunov, Igor Stravinsky, Alexander Taneyev) Michel Fokine Alexandre Benois

Cléopâtre Anton Arensky
Anton Arensky
(additional music by Glazunov, Glinka, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergei Taneyev, Nikolai Tcherepnin) Michel Fokine Léon Bakst

1910 Carnaval Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
(orch. Arensky, Glazunov, Anatol Liadov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tcherepnin) Michel Fokine Léon Bakst

Schéhérazade Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Michel Fokine Léon Bakst

Giselle Adolphe Adam Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa
(revival), Michel Fokine (revisions) Alexandre Benois

Les Orientales Christian Sinding
Christian Sinding
(Rondoletto giocoso, op.32/5) (orch. Igor Stravinsky for "Danse Siamoise") Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
(Småtroll, op.71/3, from Lyric Pieces, Book
Book
X) (orch. Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
for "Variation")

Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav Nijinsky
("Danse Siamoise" and "Variation") Michel Fokine

Konstantin Korovin
Konstantin Korovin
(sets and costumes) Léon Bakst
Léon Bakst
(costumes)

L'Oiseau de feu Igor Stravinsky Michel Fokine Alexander Golovine (sets and costumes) Léon Bakst
Léon Bakst
(costumes)

1911 Le Spectre de la rose Carl Maria von Weber Michel Fokine Léon Bakst

Narcisse Nikolai Tcherepnin Michel Fokine Léon Bakst

Petrushka Igor Stravinsky Michel Fokine Alexandre Benois

Swan Lake Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, Michel Fokine
Michel Fokine
(revisions) Konstantin Korovin
Konstantin Korovin
(sets) Alexander Golovin (sets and costumes)

1912 L'après-midi d'un faune Claude Debussy Vaslav Nijinsky Léon Bakst

Daphnis et Chloé Maurice Ravel Michel Fokine Léon Bakst

Le Dieu bleu Reynaldo Hahn Michel Fokine Léon Bakst

Thamar Mily Balakirev Michel Fokine Léon Bakst

1913 Jeux Claude Debussy Vaslav Nijinsky Léon Bakst

Le sacre du printemps Igor Stravinsky Vaslav Nijinsky Nicholas Roerich

Tragédie de Salomé Florent Schmitt Boris Romanov Sergey Sudeykin

1914 La légende de Joseph Richard Strauss Michel Fokine Léon Bakst

Le coq d'or Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Michel Fokine Natalia Goncharova

Josephslegende Richard Strauss Vaslav Nijinsky Josep Maria Sert
Josep Maria Sert
(sets) Léon Bakst
Léon Bakst
and Alexandre Benois (costumes)

1915 Soleil de Nuit Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Léonide Massine Mikhail Larionov

1916 Las Meninas Louis Aubert, Gabriel Fauré (Pavane), Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel
(Alborada del gracioso), Emmanuel Chabrier (Menuet pompeux) Léonide Massine Josep Maria Sert
Josep Maria Sert
(costumes)

1917 Parade Erik Satie Léonide Massine Pablo Picasso

1919 La Boutique fantasque Gioachino Rossini
Gioachino Rossini
(arr. Ottorino Respighi) Léonide Massine André Derain

El sombrero de tres picos Manuel de Falla Léonide Massine Pablo Picasso

Les jardins d'Aranjuez (new version of Las Meninas) Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Ravel, Emmanuel Chabrier, Aubert Léonide Massine Josep Maria Sert
Josep Maria Sert
(costumes)

1920 Le chant du rossignol Igor Stravinsky Léonide Massine Henri Matisse

Pulcinella Igor Stravinsky Léonide Massine Pablo Picasso

Ballet
Ballet
de l'astuce féminine or Cimarosiana Domenico Cimarosa Léonide Massine Josep Maria Sert

1921 Chout Sergei Prokofiev Léonide Massine Mikhail Larionov

The Sleeping Beauty Pyotr Tchaikovsky Marius Petipa Léon Bakst

1922 Renard Igor Stravinsky Bronislava Nijinska Mikhail Larionov

1923 Les noces Igor Stravinsky Bronislava Nijinska Natalia Goncharova

1924 Les biches Francis Poulenc Bronislava Nijinska Marie Laurencin

Les Fâcheux Georges Auric Bronislava Nijinska Georges Braque

Le train bleu Darius Milhaud Bronislava Nijinska Henri Laurens
Henri Laurens
(sets) Gabrielle Chanel
Gabrielle Chanel
(costumes) Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
(sets)

1925 Les matelots Georges Auric Léonide Massine Pere Pruna

Zephyr et Flore Vernon Duke Léonide Massine Georges Braque

1926 Jack in the Box Erik Satie
Erik Satie
(orch. Milhaud) George Balanchine André Derain

Pastorale Georges Auric George Balanchine Pere Pruna

Roméo et Juliette Constant Lambert

Max Ernst
Max Ernst
(curtain) Joan Miró
Joan Miró
(sets and costumes)

1927 La chatte Henri Sauguet George Balanchine Naum Gabo

Mercure Erik Satie Léonide Massine Pablo Picasso

Le pas d'acier Sergei Prokofiev Léonide Massine Georges Jacoulov

1928 Apollon musagète
Apollon musagète
(Apollo) Igor Stravinsky George Balanchine André Bauschant (scene) Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel
(costumes)

1929 Le fils prodigue Sergei Prokofiev George Balanchine Georges Rouault

Successors[edit] Further information: Original Ballet
Ballet
Russe and Ballet
Ballet
Russe de Monte Carlo

Dimitri Rostoff as Malatesta in Francesca da Rimini, Original Ballet Russe, 1940

When Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Diaghilev
died of diabetes in Venice on 19 August 1929, the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
was left with substantial debts. As the Great Depression began, its property was claimed by its creditors and the company of dancers dispersed. In 1931, Colonel Wassily de Basil (a Russian émigré entrepreneur from Paris) and René Blum (ballet director at the Monte Carlo Opera) founded the Ballet
Ballet
Russe de Monte Carlo, giving its first performances there in 1932.[9] Diaghilev alumni Léonide Massine
Léonide Massine
and George Balanchine worked as choreographers with the company and Tamara Toumanova was a principal dancer. Artistic differences led to a split between Blum and de Basil,[10] after which de Basil renamed his company initially " Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
de Colonel W. de Basil".[11] Blum retained the name " Ballet
Ballet
Russe de Monte Carlo", while de Basil created a new company. In 1938, he called it "The Covent Garden Russian Ballet"[11] and then renamed it the "Original Ballet
Ballet
Russe" in 1939.[11][12] After World War II
World War II
began, the Ballet
Ballet
Russe de Monte Carlo left Europe and toured extensively in the United States and South America. As dancers retired and left the company, they often founded dance studios in the United States or South America or taught at other former company dancers' studios. With Balanchine's founding of the School of American Ballet, and later the New York City Ballet, many outstanding former Ballet
Ballet
Russe de Monte Carlo dancers went to New York to teach in his school. When they toured the United States, Cyd Charisse, the film actress and dancer, was taken into the cast. The Original Ballet
Ballet
Russe toured mostly in Europe. Its alumni were influential in teaching classical Russian ballet
Russian ballet
technique in European schools. The three companies were the subject of the 2005 documentary film Ballets Russes. The dancers[edit]

Scene from Apollon musagète, 1928. Dancers: Serge Lifar, Danilova, Chernysheva, Dubrovska, Petrova

The Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
was noted for the high standard of its dancers, most of whom had been classically trained at the great Imperial schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Their high technical standards contributed a great deal to the company's success in Paris, where dance technique had declined markedly since the 1830s. Principal female dancers included: Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Olga Spessivtseva, Mathilde Kschessinska, Ida Rubinstein, Bronislava Nijinska, Lydia Lopokova, Diana Gould and Alicia Markova, among others; many earned international renown with the company. The Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
was even more remarkable for raising the status of the male dancer, largely ignored by choreographers and ballet audiences since the early 19th century. Among the male dancers were Michel Fokine, Serge Lifar, Léonide Massine, Anton Dolin, George Balanchine, Valentin Zeglovsky, Theodore Kosloff, Adolph Bolm, and the legendary Vaslav Nijinsky, considered the most popular and talented dancer in the company's history. After the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution
of 1917, in later years, younger dancers were taken from those trained in Paris by former Imperial dancers, within the large community of Russian exiles. Recruits were even accepted from America and included a young Ruth Page who joined the troupe in Monte Carlo during 1925.[13][14][15] The choreographers[edit] The company featured and premiered now-famous (and sometimes notorious) works by the great choreographers Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa
and Michel Fokine, as well as new works by Vaslav Nijinsky, Bronislava Nijinska, Léonide Massine, and the young George Balanchine
George Balanchine
at the start of his career. Michel Fokine[edit] The choreography of Michel Fokine
Michel Fokine
was of paramount importance in the initial success of the Ballets Russes. Fokine had graduated from the Imperial Ballet
Ballet
School in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
in 1898, and eventually become First Soloist at the Mariinsky Theater. In 1907, Fokine choreographed his first work for the Imperial Russian Ballet, Le Pavillon d'Armide. In the same year, he created Chopiniana to piano music by the composer Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin
as orchestrated by Alexander Glazunov. This was an early example of creating choreography to an existing score rather than to music specifically written for the ballet, a departure from the normal practice at the time. Fokine established an international reputation with his works choreographed during the first four seasons (1909–1912) of the Ballets Russes. These included the Polovtsian Dances
Polovtsian Dances
(from Prince Igor), Le Pavillon d'Armide
Le Pavillon d'Armide
(a revival of his 1907 production for the Imperial Russian Ballet), Les Sylphides
Les Sylphides
(a reworking of his earlier Chopiniana), The Firebird, Le Spectre de la Rose, Petrushka, and Daphnis and Chloé
Daphnis and Chloé
. After a longstanding tumultuous relationship with Diaghilev, Fokine left the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
at the end of the 1912 season.[16] Vaslav Nijinsky[edit]

Nijinsky in Le Festin, a suite of classic dances performed on the opening night in Paris, May 1909

Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav Nijinsky
had attended the Imperial Ballet
Ballet
School, St. Petersburg since the age of eight. He graduated in 1907 and joined the Imperial Ballet
Ballet
where he immediately began to take starring roles. Diaghilev invited him to join the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
for its first Paris season. In 1912, Diaghilev gave Nijinsky his first opportunity as a choreographer, for his production of L'Après-midi d'un faune to Claude Debussy's symphonic poem Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. Featuring Nijinsky himself as the Faun, the ballet's frankly erotic nature caused a sensation.[citation needed] The following year, Nijinsky choreographed a new work by Debussy composed expressly for the Ballets Russes, Jeux. Indifferently received by the public, Jeux was eclipsed two weeks later by the premiere of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du printemps), also choreographed by Nijinsky. Because of mental illness, Nijinsky eventually retired from dance; he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Léonide Massine[edit] Léonide Massine
Léonide Massine
was born in Moscow,[17] where he studied both acting and dancing at the Imperial School. On the verge of becoming an actor, Massine was invited by Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Diaghilev
to join the Ballets Russes, as he was seeking a replacement for Vaslav Nijinsky. Diaghilev encouraged Massine's creativity and his entry into choreography. Massine's most famous creations for the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
were Parade, El sombrero de tres picos, and Pulcinella. In all three of these works, he collaborated with Pablo Picasso, who designed the sets and costumes. Massine extended Fokine's choreographic innovations, especially those relating to narrative and character. His ballets incorporated both folk dance and demi-charactère dance, a style using classical technique to perform character dance. Massine created contrasts in his choreography, such as synchronized yet individual movement, or small-group dance patterns within the corps de ballet. Bronislava Nijinska[edit]

Bronislava Nijinska
Bronislava Nijinska
in Petrushka, Ballets Russes, 1913

Bronislava Nijinska
Bronislava Nijinska
was the younger sister of Vaslav Nijinsky. She trained at the Imperial Ballet
Ballet
School in St. Petersburg, joining the Imperial Ballet
Ballet
company in 1908. From 1909, she (like her brother) was a member of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. In 1915, Nijinska and her husband fled to Kiev to escape World War I. There, she founded the École de movement, where she trained Ukrainian artists in modern dance. Her most prominent pupil was Serge Lifar
Serge Lifar
(who later joined the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
in 1923). Following the Russian Revolution, Nijinska fled again to Poland, and then, in 1921, re-joined the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
in Paris. In 1923, Diaghilev assigned her the choreography of Stravinsky's Les Noces. The result combines elements of her brother's choreography for The Rite of Spring with more traditional aspects of ballet, such as dancing en pointe. The following year, she choreographed three new works for the company: Les biches, Les Fâcheux, and Le Train bleu. George Balanchine[edit] Born Giorgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, George Balanchine was trained at the Imperial School of Ballet. His education there was interrupted by the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution
of 1917. Balanchine graduated in 1921, after the school reopened. He subsequently studied music theory, composition, and advanced piano at the Petrograd Conservatory, graduating in 1923. During this time, he worked with the corps de ballet of the Mariinsky Theater. In 1924, Balanchine (and his first wife, ballerina Tamara Geva) fled to Paris while on tour of Germany with the Soviet State Dancers. He was invited by Sergei Diaghilev to join the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
as a choreographer.[18] The designers[edit]

Costume design by Léon Bakst
Léon Bakst
for principal female dancer in The Firebird, 1910

Diaghilev invited the collaboration of contemporary fine artists in the design of sets and costumes. These included Alexandre Benois, Léon Bakst, Nicholas Roerich, Georges Braque, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Joan Miró, Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dalí, Ivan Bilibin, Pavel Tchelitchev, Maurice Utrillo, and Georges Rouault. Their designs contributed to the groundbreaking excitement of the company's productions. The scandal caused by the premiere performance in Paris of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring
The Rite of Spring
has been partly attributed to the provocative aesthetic of the costumes of the Ballets Russes.[19] Alexandre Benois[edit] Alexandre Benois had been the most influential member of The Nevsky Pickwickians and was one of the original founders (with Bakst and Diaghilev) of Mir iskusstva. His particular interest in ballet as an art form strongly influenced Diaghilev and was seminal in the formation of the Ballets Russes. In addition, Benois contributed scenic and costume designs to several of the company's earlier productions: Le Pavillon d'Armide, portions of Le Festin, and Giselle. Benois also participated with Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
and Michel Fokine
Michel Fokine
in the creation of Petrushka, to which he contributed much of the scenario as well as the stage sets and costumes. Léon Bakst[edit] Léon Bakst
Léon Bakst
was also an original member of both The Nevsky Pickwickians and Mir iskusstva. He participated as designer in productions of the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
from its beginning in 1909 until 1921, creating sets and costumes for Scheherazade, The Firebird, Les Orientales, Le Spectre de la rose, L'Après-midi d'une faune, and Daphnis et Chloé, among other productions.

Costume designed by Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
representing skyscrapers and boulevards for the ballet Parade (1917)

Pablo Picasso[edit] Main article: Picasso and the Ballets Russes In 1917, Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
designed sets and costumes in the Cubist
Cubist
style for three Diaghilev ballets, all with choreography by Léonide Massine: Parade, El sombrero de tres picos, and Pulcinella. Natalia Goncharova[edit] Natalia Goncharova
Natalia Goncharova
was born in 1881 near Tula, Russia. Her art was inspired by Russian folk art, Fauvism, and cubism. She began designing for the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
in 1921. Although the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
firmly established the 20th-century tradition of fine art theatre design, the company was not unique in its employment of fine artists. For instance, Savva Mamontov's Private Opera Company had made a policy of employing fine artists, such as Konstantin Korovin
Konstantin Korovin
and Golovin, who went on to work for the Ballets Russes. The composers and conductors[edit] For his new productions, Diaghilev commissioned the foremost composers of the 20th century, including: Debussy, Milhaud, Poulenc, Prokofiev, Ravel, Satie, Respighi, Stravinsky, de Falla, and Strauss. He was also responsible for commissioning the first two significant British-composed ballets: Romeo and Juliet (composed in 1925 by nineteen-year-old Constant Lambert) and The Triumph of Neptune (composed in 1926 by Lord Berners). The impresario also engaged conductors who were or became eminent in their field during the 20th century, including Pierre Monteux (1911–16 and 1924), Ernest Ansermet
Ernest Ansermet
(1915–23), Edward Clark (1919–20) and Roger Désormière (1925–29).[20] Igor Stravinsky[edit] Diaghilev hired the young Stravinsky at a time when he was virtually unknown to compose the music for The Firebird, after the composer Anatoly Lyadov
Anatoly Lyadov
proved unreliable, and this was instrumental in launching Stravinsky's career in Europe and the United States of America. Stravinsky's early ballet scores were the subject of much discussion. The Firebird
The Firebird
(1910) was seen as an astonishingly accomplished work for such a young artist (Debussy is said to have remarked drily: "Well, you've got to start somewhere!"). Many contemporary audiences found Petrushka
Petrushka
(1911) to be almost unbearably dissonant and confused. The Rite of Spring (1913) nearly caused an audience riot. It stunned people because of its willful rhythms and aggressive dynamics. The audience's negative reaction to it is now regarded as a theatrical scandal as notorious as the failed runs of Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser at Paris in 1861 and Jean-Georges Noverre's Les Fêtes Chinoises in London on the eve of the Seven Years' War. However, Stravinsky's early ballet scores are now widely considered masterpieces of the genre.[21] Summary of contribution[edit]

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The male dancer returns. Expressiveness: work was not just solely about technique or divertissements as found in classical ballet Movement vocabulary freed Individuals were important rather than a corps de ballet of classical form Unified theme: pieces were often one act, and always sought to express a single theme throughout the piece Collaboration: Choreographers and dancers collaborated with set designers and musicians in order to create pieces Reflection of Russian taste, themes (idea of developing Russian art, rather than importing western art and influence)

Film of a performance[edit] Diaghilev always maintained that no camera could ever do justice to the artistry of his dancers, and it was long believed there was no film legacy of the Ballets Russes. However, in 2011 a 30-second newsreel film of a performance in Montreux, Switzerland, in June 1928 came to light. The ballet was Les Sylphides
Les Sylphides
and the lead dancer was identified as Serge Lifar.[22] Centennial exhibitions and celebrations[edit]

Russian stamp: Sergei Diaghilev

Paris, 2008: In September 2008, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Ballets Russes, Sotheby's
Sotheby's
announced the staging of an exceptional exhibition of works lent mainly by French, British and Russian private collectors, museums and foundations. Some 150 paintings, designs, costumes, theatre decors, drawings, sculptures, photographs, manuscripts, and programs were exhibited in Paris, retracing the key moments in the history of the Ballets Russes. On display were costumes designed by André Derain
André Derain
(La Boutique fantasque, 1919) and Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
(Le chant du rossignol, 1920), and Léon Bakst. Posters recalling the surge of creativity that surrounded the Ballets Russes included Pablo Picasso's iconic image of the Chinese Conjuror for the audacious production of Parade and Jean Cocteau's poster for Le Spectre de la rose. Costumes and stage designs presented included works by Alexander Benois, for Le Pavillon d'Armide
Le Pavillon d'Armide
and Petrushka; Léon Bakst, for La Péri and Le Dieu bleu; Mikhail Larionov, for Le Soleil à Minuit; and Natalia Goncharova, for The Firebird
The Firebird
(1925 version). The exhibition also included important contemporary artists, whose works reflected the visual heritage of the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
– notably an installation made of colorfully painted paper by the renowned Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave, and items from the Imperial Porcelain Factory
Imperial Porcelain Factory
in St. Petersburg.[23] Monte-Carlo, 2009: In May, in Monaco, two postage stamps "Centenary of Ballets Russians of Diaghilev" went out, created by Georgy Shishkin. London, 2010–11: London's Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
presented a special exhibition entitled Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929 at the V&A South Kensington between 5 September 2010 and 9 January 2011. Canberra, 2010–11: An exhibition of the company's costumes held by the National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Australia
was held from 10 December 2010 – 1 May 2011 at the Gallery in Canberra. Entitled Ballets Russes: The Art of Costume, it included 150 costumes and accessories from 34 productions from 1909 to 1939; one third of the costumes had not been seen since they were last worn on stage. Along with costumes by Natalia Goncharova, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Georges Braque, André Masson
André Masson
and Giorgio de Chirico, the exhibition also featured photographs, film, music and artists’ drawings.[24] Washington, DC, 2013: Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music. National Gallery of Art, East Building Mezzanine. 12 May— 2 September 2013. Organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art, Washington.[1] Stockholm, 2014–2015: Sleeping Beauties – Dreams and Costumes. The Dance Museum in Stockholm owns about 250 original costumes from the Ballets Russes, in this exhibition about fifty of them are shown. (www.dansmuseet.se) References[edit]

Notes

^ Garafola (1998), p. vii. ^ "Diaghilev's Golden Age of the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
dazzles London with V&A display". Culture24. 2011-01-09. Retrieved 2013-05-08.  ^ Garofala (1998), p. 150 ^ Garofala (1998), p. 150. ^ Garofala (1998), p. 438, n. 7. ^ Garofala (1998), p. 151. ^ Morrison, Simon. "The 'World of Art' and Music," in [Mir Iskusstva]: Russia's Age of Elegance. Palace Editions. Omaha, Minneapolis, and Princeton, 2005. p. 38. ^ Guroff, Greg. "Introduction" in [Mir Iskusstva]: Russia's Age of Elegance. Palace Editions. Omaha, Minneapolis, and Princeton, 2005. p. 14. ^ Amanda. "Ballets Russes", The Age
The Age
(17 July 2005) ^ Homans, Jennifer. "René Blum: Life of a Dance Master," New York Times (July 8, 2011). ^ a b c "Les Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
de Monte Carlo". The Oxford Dictionary of Dance. 2004. Retrieved 2010-03-28.  ^ Tennant, Victoria (2014). Irina Baronova and the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
de Monte Carlo. University of Chicago Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-226-16716-9. Retrieved 14 June 2016.  ^ Ruth Page - Early Architect of the American Ballet
Ballet
a biographical essay by Joellen A. Meglin on www.danceheritage.org ^ Ruth Page's Obituary in The New York Times 9 April 1991 on www.nytimes.com ^ New York Public Library Archives - Ruth Page Collection 1918-70 at the New York Public Library for the Perfroming Arts - Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York City, USA on archives.nypl.org ^ Walsh (2000), p. 180. ^ "Leonide Massine". American Ballet
Ballet
Theatre. Archived from the original on 13 December 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011.  ^ Horowitz, Joseph. Artists in Exile: How Refugees from Twentieth-Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts, New York: Harper Collins, 2008. ^ Albert, Jane (2010-12-11). "Inside the dress circle". The Sydney Morning Herald, "Spectrum" section. p. 2.  ^ Buckle, Richard. Diaghilev. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1979. ^ Thomas Kelly (1999). "Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring"". Washington D.C.: National Public Radio.  ^ Maev Kennedy, " Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
brought back to life on film", The Guardian, 1 February 2011.Retrieved 10 January 2014 ^ "Dancing into Glory: The Golden Age of the Ballets Russes". Ballets-Russes.com. Retrieved 26 February 2011.  ^ Bell, Robert, ed. (2010). Ballets Russes: the art of costume. Thames & Hudson UK and University of Washington Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-642-54157-4. 

Bibliography

Gosudarstvennyĭ russkiĭ muzeĭ; Foundation for International Arts and Education; Joslyn Art Museum; Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum; Princeton University Art Museum
Princeton University Art Museum
(2005). Mir iskusstva: Russia's Age of Elegance. St. Petersburg, Russia; Omaha, NE; Minneapolis, MN; Princeton, NJ: Palace Editions. ISBN 9780967845135. OCLC 60593691.  Anderson, Jack (1992). Ballet
Ballet
and Modern Dance: A Concise History. New Jersey: Princeton Book
Book
Company.  Garafola, Lynn (1999). The Ballet
Ballet
Russe and its World. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.  Garafola, Lynn (1998). Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. New York: Da Capo Press.  Purvis, Alston (2009). The Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
and the Art of Design. New York: The Monacelli Press. 

Further reading[edit]

"The Art of the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
Captured: Reconstructed Ballet Performances on Video" by Eftychia Papanikolaou; Music Library Association Notes 64/3 (March 2008): 564-585 Anderson, Margot, et al. Creative Australia and the Ballets Russes. Published in conjunction with the Exhibition, Arts Centre, Melbourne 2009. ISBN 978 0 9802958 1 8 Christofis, Lee (June 2009). "The Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
in Australia 1936–1940" (PDF). The National Library Magazine. 1 (2): 21–23. Retrieved 17 January 2011.  Berggruen, Olivier. The Writing of Art (London: Pushkin Press, 2011)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ballets Russes.

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