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as members likely know, the original production of Stravinsky's LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS was designed by Nicholas Roerich, and to satisfy the scenario's calling for a Sage to perform the ritual "Kiss of the Earth," the painter imagined the look of the elder who performed the act.

this is a scan of Roerich's sketch for the character in question.


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to go off-topic a bit: i just checked, and to keep the topic on Farrell herself, i see that Ms F did dance in Bejart's leotard version of THE RITE OF SPRING - in a costume that would have been hard to sport on our first day of NYC's spring - and was amused to be reminded of SF's objection, which she took directly to M. Bejart himself, that the lead female role was NOT on pointe, but that she decided to take it on in the required soft slippers in any case, partly b/c it gave her further connection(s) to Stravinsky, whose music doubtless reminded her of G.B.

we know that G.B. considered Bejart's the best of the stagings of RITE, if one had to see it staged during his time; i don't suppose G.B. saw the perfs. that S.F. did.


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i can't say what Roerich was using as the guide for his 'look' of ancient, pre-christian, pagan Russians - as we know the 'primitive' aspects of the scenario, the designs and the choreography were inventions of Stravinsky, Roerich and Nijinsky. None was specifically a scholar of ancient Russ, etc.

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You introduce us to such interesting challenges, rg. :)

According to Stephen Walsh's biography of Stravinsky (pp. 173-74), , the composer, in July 1912, visited Princess Maria Tenisheva's Arts and Crafts community at Talashkino. Roerich was already there, working on the interior decoration of a church on the estate.

The estate included

a workshop for the design and manufacture of folk-art reproductions and a museum for the princess's growing collection of genuine peasant artifacts. Roerich was an old friend of hers, and his work and enthusiasms embodied many of the different aspects of the Talashkino enterprise: painter and ethnographer, archaeologist and mythologist, he summed up that curious mixture of practicality and mysticism, of functional design and high art, of sociology and religion, which motivated so many Arts and Crafts communities at the time. [ ... ]

Stravinsky recalled that Princess Tenisheva put him up in a guest house ... Within a few days they had worked out a scenario and the movement titles, and Roerich had sketched his neo-primitve backcloths and costumes based on actual peasant garments owned by the Princess.

I did not know that there was a Roerich Museum on West 107th Street in New York City. Their website reproduces sketches for Massine's production, dated 1944. If you click "Decor and Costumes" on the menu, you'll be led to a series of Roerich's works in this field. Scroll down to find the way The Sage looked in 1944:


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thanks, bart, tho' i've been the museum i've never thought to search the web for its 'presence' - i know Archer had a devil of a time, as the saying goes, trying to get the 1913 designs for SACRE in place for the hodson 'staging' - so many of the sketches that were thought to be from that production over the years turned out to be from the Massine version or from Snegourichka, rather than SACRE.

still they are nicely annotated on this site and clearly dated.

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