Apr 26, 2019  
Evening Division Fall 2018 
Evening Division Fall 2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

EVDOL 075 — Diaghilev and Les Ballet Russes

Ricardo Llorca
Serge Diaghilev, an impresario who encouraged collaboration in the arts, was an influential artistic figure of the 20th century. He gathered the geniuses of his time and was the patron of one of the most daring and innovative groups in the history of the arts: the Ballet Russes. Its first season in Paris in 1909 was a triumph. Audiences were stunned by the music, the quality of the dancing, the spectacular sets, and the exotic atmosphere of the ballets. Diaghilev’s earlier productions exhibited the influences of Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and Rimsky-Korsakov. As he progressed, he added Eastern and stylized Russian elements to his ballets, along with rhythms and music that he alone understood and commissioned. In his later years, his productions adopted an almost neoclassical stance, informed by influences as diverse as Baroque contrapuntal techniques, French music, and American jazz. The company Diaghilev assembled comprised some of the ballet’s greatest dancers and choreographers—Fokine, Pavlova, Karsavina, Nijinsky, Massine, and Balanchine—who were given scores by such great composers as Richard Strauss, Ravel, Satie, de Falla, Milhaud, and Poulenc. Stravinsky’s work graced every season of the Ballet Russes, from its sensational debut in 1909 through to the final 1929 season, which ended just prior to Diaghilev’s death. Along the way, Stravinsky and Diaghilev created masterpieces of music and choreography: The Firebird, Petrushka, Le Sacre du Printemps, L’Histoire du Soldat, Pulcinella,  Les Noces, and Apollon Musagete. Costumes and scenery were designed by painters like Matisse, Léon Bakst, Alexandre Benois, Picasso, De Chirico, and Robert Delaunay. With such a startling concentration of talent, it is hardly surprising that the Ballet Russes made such a lasting impact.

5 weeks
Thursday 5:45 – 7:15 pm
October 18 – November 15