leonid17

Diaghilev Ballet Russe Centenary Celebration 2009

134 posts in this topic

Complementing the link to the current Monaco exhibition, the link below includes footage of the Edinburgh Diaghilev exhibition (1953/1954?) that marked the 25th anniversary of Diaghilev's death. Exhibition footage begins at 4 minutes, 20 seconds. Firebird is at 10 minutes, 15 seconds. Thanks to Leonid for links to British Pathe.

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=74893

Roy Strong describes and discusses the impact of the exhibition (London transfer) in his 2001 obituary of Richard Buckle, the exhibition's organiser.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/...4276346,00.html

Thank you CM for finding the Margot clip. I saw the film of her dancing the role in 1960's but I do not remember her characterisation being so intense. I have discovered a lot on Pathe but not that.

Again thank you for magicking it up for us.

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this from a recent email:

Subject: "Art of Gesture", a photo exhibit by Yuri Barykin

August 25, 2009

"Art of Gesture", from20Sergei Diaghilev to Angel Orensanz, a photo exhibit by Yuri Barykin (Moscow, Russia)

Angel Orensanz Center for the Arts, New York and Dr. Mikhail Michael Shvydkoy, Head of the Special Committee for International Cultural Cooperation of the President of the Russian Federation are proud to present an exhibition of acclaimed Russian contemporary photo-artist Yuri Barykin.

“Art of Gesture: Sergei Diaghilev’s Avant-garde Ballet Russe and Reflections of Angel Orensanz" is a collection of 41 large format (19,5X29,5) photographs by Yuri Barykin that capture the vibrancy and depth of energy of the ballets of Sergei Diaghilev at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Kirov Theater of St. Petersburg and at the Nancy Theater Festival in France in the movement of Maya Plisetskaya, Vladimir Vasiliev, Diana Vishneva and Nina Ananiashvili as well as the performances of sculptor Angel Orensanz himself with the depth and strength of his sculpture. These images of the Spanish American sculptor reflect the energy Angel Orensanz infuses his exhibitions and show him in action during his art installations in recent shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Space Museum of in Moscow.

This exhibition will travel, after its presentation at the Angel Orensanz Art Gallery this week in New York to the art galleries of the Russian Embassies of Washington and Paris.

The show is free and open to the public from 11 AM to 8 PM every day from August 28 through September 2. A video documentary will be shown later in September in New York by Time Warner Television, in the program “Arts from the Orensanz†that airs on Tuesdays at 7 PM on channel 67.

The exhibition was sponsored by Ballet Art Fund, in the name of Galina Shein and “Sodrugestvo , Moscow.

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The New York Times carries a correction to the article “Admiring the Man Who Made Ballet Modern”

By JULIE BLOOM

Published: August 21, 2009

It is as follows.

"This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 23, 2009

An article on Page 14 this weekend about the arts impresario Serge Diaghilev misspells, in some copies, part of the name of the company he founded in 1909. It is the Ballets Russes, not the Ballet Russes. The error also appears in an accompanying picture caption and in a capsule summary referring to additional images on nytimes.com of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’s exhibition “Diaghilev’s Theater of Marvels: The Ballets Russes and Its Aftermath.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 25, 2009

An article on Sunday about the arts impresario Serge Diaghilev misspelled, in some copies, part of the name of the company he founded in 1909. It is the Ballets Russes, not the Ballet Russes. The error also appeared in an accompanying picture caption and in a capsule summary referring to additional images on nytimes.com of “Diaghilev’s Theater of Marvels: the Ballets Russes and Its Aftermath.”

And a correction in this space on Saturday and on Page A3 on Sunday misstated the name of the institution that is displaying the exhibition. As the article correctly noted, it is the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; there is no “New York City Library.”

What a pity they still got it wrong.

The 1909 season of Russian Ballet at the Chatelet Theatre was was not called Ballets Russes it was called Saisons Russe. It was not until 1911 that the company was called Ballets Russes.

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the attached scan shows two stamps that arrived in the post today from a friend who was recently in Monaco, where this was issued as part of the principality's celebration of the Ballets Russes centenary.

post-848-1254255881_thumb.jpg

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The State Tretyakov Museum in Moscow is currently showing, VISION OF DANCE. Celebrating the 100 anniversary of "Russian ballets" of Serge Dyagilev in Paris

See: http://www.tretyakovgallery.ru/en/

PS

I have deferred to this sites spelling of Diaghilev

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Thank you, volcanohunter. This looks wonderful. The full-stage view of the set for Faun was stunning, and much more finely executed than I've see elswhere. I'd love to have the chance to see Le Riche's faun in its entirety.

Has anyone seen these performances? I don't think there are any posts yet.

P.S. The little, red Alfa MiTo in the brief commercial before the clip wasn't bad either. :thumbsup:

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Here's another clip from Petrushka.

http://culturebox.france3.fr/#/all/18091/L...oir_sur_France3

I'd love to have the chance to see Le Riche's faun in its entirety.
So would I!
Makes me want to up and fly to Paris....

The program will be broadcast on French television on New Year's Day, so perhaps a video release will follow. Not quite the same as being there, but some consolation.

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It's so interesting to watch them dancing Rite... their dancing so post-modern... so "just give me the counts and and I'll dance it"... I can't imagine the original dancers being able to manage such a detached rendition of the movement.

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I can't imagine the original dancers being able to manage such a detached rendition of the movement.

There are a number of accounts of the rehearsals of the original production and Diaghilev having met Marie Rambert a student of eurhythmics, at the Dalcroze School took her into his company initially to assist with figuring out Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with Nijinsky. Briefly, eurhythmics is a dance training method pioneered by Émile Jaques-Dalcroze which uses physical movements and musical rhythms to teach and establish musical concepts.

Having heard Dame Marie Rambert both talk and discuss the rehearsals of "The Rite of Spring", I personally have no doubt that the Diaghilev Company did assume what was required by Nijinsky after its reputed 100 rehearsals.

I have seen the Kirov production of this work staged by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer which was glorious in its designs and very well performed, but to my mind, lacked the weight in steps and movement which was once so visible in the character dancing of Russian ballet companies of the 1960's.

From all the descriptions and discussions of the original I have read and witnessed, I am happy to believe that Dame Marie Rambert was an effective teacher of rhythm and movement (she was also ballet trained) enabling the concept of the original production envisaged by Roerich, Stravinsky and Nijinsky.

Echoes of the first production difficulties in rehearsing this ballet can be found in an article by Kenneth Archer and Millicent Hodson at

http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_03/ju..._rite_diary.htm

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I like the clip they chose to use from Prodigal...

I would have liked to have seen the original Rite... perhaps the original dancers had more intent in the force of their movement, but who knows? Today's dancers are almost nonchalant about the musical challenge... the tension may have informed the movement of the originals differently... regardless of how well they knew it.

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"... perhaps the original dancers had more intent in the force of their movement, but who knows?"

I have a witness account as to the "...intent in the force of their movement,...", Dame Marie Rambert who coached them in the varying weights of the steps, the port de bras and the rhythmic content which she expressed in filmed interviews, lectures and few very short discussions.

"Today's dancers are almost nonchalant about the musical challenge... the tension may have informed the movement of the originals differently... regardless of how well they knew it.”

I think after more than 100 rehearsals it would be generous to accept that they would have known the choreography very well. They also had several advantages over some of today’s dancers. Firstly, notation was part of the Imperial Theatre School curriculum which gave them a particular skill and secondly the wide number of character styles they performed in both ballets and operas on a very regular basis.

I believe the crossover from the various rhythms of character dances to Nijinsky choreography whilst complex, was probably easier to attain than that of "Today’s dancers..."

I repeat your statement, "Today's dancers are almost nonchalant about the musical challenge... the tension may have informed the movement of the originals differently..." In this I think you are correct.

There is a divide between the appreciation and understanding of ballets of the past that comes from the period in which they were witnessed. For instance NYCB

does not dance the Balanchine repertoire in the same manner as when I saw them in the early 1960's not just because the dancers are different but the aesthetic has altered. Nor does the Royal Ballet dance Ashton's "The Dream" in the same way as it did in the 1960's.

This does mean however that the original conceptions can only be reasonably faithfully fully reproduced if there is a will. Dancers are instruments and co-creators of their performances. The companies that perform older ballets need to be able to cast effectively and fully prepare dancers in the choreographic mode of the original if they are to serve the choreographer who has provided the means of attracting audiences.

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I guess in the end what matters is if it still "works"... does the ballet still touch an audience even if the costumes have radically changed and the dancers' step shapes have radically changed (I'm thinking of Swan Lake in it's various evolutions here, not this reconstruction of Rite of Spring)... Does classical vocabulary stand up through changes in volume (does a choreographed arabesque still work to the same effect if it changes in height from 60 degrees to 180 degrees?) differently than other movement vocabulary? Can the Paris Opera perform Graham? You bring up an interesting idea... what would Rite of Spring look like reconstructed on a character dance company??

But what about Scheherezade for which the audience's lens has changed so dramatically... it's now so tame compared to what risqué might now be (do we even have a concept of risqué anymore?)

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I guess in the end what matters is if it still "works"... does the ballet still touch an audience even if the costumes have radically changed and the dancers' step shapes have radically changed (I'm thinking of Swan Lake in it's various evolutions here, not this reconstruction of Rite of Spring)... Does classical vocabulary stand up through changes in volume (does a choreographed arabesque still work to the same effect if it changes in height from 60 degrees to 180 degrees?) differently than other movement vocabulary? Can the Paris Opera perform Graham? You bring up an interesting idea... what would Rite of Spring look like reconstructed on a character dance company??

But what about Scheherezade for which the audience's lens has changed so dramatically... it's now so tame compared to what risqué might now be (do we even have a concept of risqué anymore?)

You have for me, raised some interesting questions especially when you talk about, “I guess in the end what matters is if it still "works"... does the ballet still touch an audience even if the costumes have radically changed and the dancers' step shapes have radically changed.”

I am not sure if you mean that fidelity to an accepted masterwork is passé and can be subjected to alteration even if it destroys the homogeneity of language and intended meanings. If so, it is no longer speaking with an authentic voice of its creator and its historic status as an art work is I believe part of its appeal.

You mention “Swan Lake” which concerns true love overcoming evil which is central to most Romantic and Academic Classical Ballets. This ballet with its soaring music in very good performances is for me an uplifting experience.

In overt unsympathetic changes to the production meanings get lost and the intended spiritual content may get muddied in the process

"Does classical vocabulary stand up through changes in volume (does a choreographed arabesque still work to the same effect if it changes in height from 60 degrees to 180 degrees?) differently than other movement vocabulary? "

Personally speaking, when one becomes aware of the physicality of a dancer in Romantic or Academic Classical Ballet (and in other forms) the dancer and the production has failed and when 180 degree poses in arabesque or ala seconde punctuate the air, in these genre of choreography I am ready to walk. If such a position is hit in neo-classical or modern ballet works I can take a different view.

We all know that ballets change a little or a lot over the years and attempts re-creations of original productions have in certain instances been admirable and reflect the position of other theatrical forms which have gone back in research and study to bring a bout realisations somewhat closer to the creator’s original versions.

The question to be asked is how important is a choreographic text compared with a musical score and how important is it to retain the stylistics of original productions?

“You bring up an interesting idea... what would Rite of Spring look like reconstructed on a character dance company?”

I am not sure what you mean by “…a character dance company.” Do you mean a “folk/ethnic” dance companies like, Cossack Dance companies or the Moiseyev Dance Company or the Georgian State Dance Company etc?

“But what about Scheherazade for which the audience's lens has changed so dramatically... it's now so tame compared to what risqué might now be (do we even have a concept of risqué anymore?)”

I have seen some risqué and some ridiculous attempts at risqué performances of Scheherazade. Because it is theatre, I have always taken the view of it being a picturesque drama with an inevitable outcome and I suspect this was the reaction of the social class that filled the theatre on June 4, 1910 in Paris, which was it appears less shockable than some cities in the UK or USA of that time.

As to it being “tame”, to go further for me, is to enter into the non-theatricality of overt sexual activity where obviousness replaces the more subtle theatrical suggestion and separates it from being an artistic expression.

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Today ends the 1909 centenary celebration year for Diaghilev’s Saison Russe but there are still more events scheduled to take place up until 2011, as loaned objects circulate the globe, as one exhibition closes and another opens.

This thread has been stimulatingly kept alive by 14 contributors and attracted more than 9000 hits shows that in the history of the Diaghlev's company still attracts

worldwide attention.

I received a PM from a distinguished fellow balletalker asking if I might write something about the Diaghilev revivals I have seen over nearly 50 years of ballet going. Regrettably it is a task too far and it is rather difficult to fully explain the very large gap that exists between the productions staged with assistance from original casts and Diaghilev’s co-workers to modern performances of revivals. Simply put, the heart is missing in most revivals I have seen in recent years.

My experience of the Diaghilev repertoire began when I started going to the Royal Ballet and London Festival Ballet where I saw productions which involved, Tamara Karsavina, Serge Grigoriev and Lubov Tchernicheva, Lydia Sokolova (also on stage in The Good Humoured Ladies)and Stanislav Idzikovsky , Dame Marie Rambert, Leonid Massine, Bronislava Nijinska, Dame Ninette de Valois and Dame Alicia Markova, Alicia Nikitina and Anton Dolin all of whom had appeared in Diaghilev’s original productions and here I was standing near to them in the crush bar or foyer. For a teenage balletomane this was heaven. Later(1965), seeing the person of Balanchine at the Royal Opera House was a real thrill.

To add to such luminaries, there was Arnold Haskell and Cyril Beaumont who had contributed studies on the performances of the Diaghilev Ballets they had witnessed both of whom were approachable.

Apart from the Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer reconstruction of Le Sacre du Printemps, which I admire, I have only seen clips of revivals as posted on youtube and form links listed here on balletalk. I have not really been convinced by any of the interpretations I have viewed as capturing the spirit of the original performances as I see them from my experience and studies.

For instance, the films of Spectre I have seen to me seem some distance away from the performance by Marius Liepa who visited Tamara Karsavina for advice on the role.

The Ballets Russe exhibitions and events across the world have given exciting opportunities to huge numbers of visitors and I am waiting in anticipation for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s contribution in London which opens in September 2010. Here is a link to the V&A website that gives details of the collection and exhibition.

http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/theatre_p...ilev/index.html

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Thanks, Leonid, for the appreciation. I am hoping, despite living far from ANYwhere, to go to the exhibit at the V&A. Your link to the V&A opens a wide new world!

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Last year I had the occasion to visit the Ballets Russes exhibitions in Stockholm, St Petersburg and Moscow. I believe all of these have presently completed their runs so perhaps some brief summaries might interest since I have seen few reviews in the Western press.

Tonight, the Dansmuseet in Stockholm.

Several museums possess an original Ballets Russes costume or two in in their wardrobe collections, if they maintain them. Here in Los Angeles the LACMA has one from Chant du Rossignol. Pity that so many are scattered about. Happily the Dansmuseet has some 130+ and just about all of them were on display and what a display it was! No exhibition of art designs, production photos, programs, newspaper reviews or filmed recreations has ever approached the visual and tactile immediacy of experiencing these costumes en masse. The conservation and presentation efforts of the Dansmuseet surpass anything I've seen elsewhere. Herewith a list of the goodies.

Le Pavillon d’Armide [bakst] 6 costumes

Danses polovtsiennes [Roerich] 5 costumes

Cléopâtre [bakst] 6 costumes

Schéhérazade [bakst] 13 costumes

Giselle [benois] 1 costume

L’Oiseau de feu [Golovin] 7 costumes + [Goncharova] 3 costumes

Narcisse [bakst] 5 costumes

Petrushka [benois] 1 costume

Le Dieu bleu [bakst] 6 costumes

Thamar [bakst] 9 costumes

Daphnis et Chloé [bakst] 7 costumes

Le Sacre du printemps [Roerich] 6 costumes [15 costumes in catalog]

Le Coq d’or [Gontcharova] 3 costumes

Sadko [Gontcharova] 5 costumes

La boutique fantasque [Derain] 2 costumes

Le Tricorne [Picasso] 2 costumes [in display: not in catalog]

Le Chant du Rossignol [Matisse] 2 costumes

Le Astuzie femminili/Cimarosiana [sert] 12 costumes

Chout [Larionov] 8 costumes

The Sleeping Princess [baskt] 14 costumes

Aurora’s Wedding [Gontcharova] 2 costumes

Les Noces [Goncharova] 2 costumes

Les Biches [Laurencin] 2 costumes [in catalog only: not on display]

La Pastorale [Pruna] 2 costumes

Ode [Tchelitchev] 2 costumes

Le Bal [de Chirico] 1 costume

There were also a handful of original designs:

Bakst: The Sleeping Princesse: Columbine

Benois: Le Pavillon d'Armide: A Chevalier, Favorite Slave, Marquis, King Hydraot

And a few film clips of recreations on monitors, though all seen before.

There is a catalog issued in conjuction with the exhibition:

Ballets Russes: The Stockholm Collection

edited by Erik Nåslund [the texts are in Swedish & English]

(Stockholm, 2009) xxxii & 354pp

These are the best photographic reproductions of Ballets Russes costumes I know of!

Many costumes from Diaghilev's company remain in private hands to this day. The Dansmuseet hope to acquire as many as opportunity and funds permit. I wish them every good fortune.

PHENBY

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Thank you phenby for posting such extensive information on the Danmuseet exhibition. I am astounded at the number of costumes being displayed and was pleased to read your impressions of the quality of the catalogue.

Although 1909 has been and gone, the exhibitions continue to enable different countries to see the various loans.

Later this year as earlier posted, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London will have a chance to mark the celebration. If they can in any way match the Dansmuseet

exhibition, it really will be something to look forward to.

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I checked the website for the Dansmuseet, to see if any of the costume images were online. Here is a link: Stockholm Dansmuseet . The exhibit is extended until April 25, 2010. They have a daily showing of Ballets Russes related films that would knock your socks off! There is a link to an essay about the exhibit and several "Thumbnail" photos of items they are showing.

Lucky anyone who can get there. The list of costumes is amazing.

(edited to correct)

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