Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => Imperial Russian Antiques => Topic started by: Lisa on August 04, 2004, 01:11:30 PM

Title: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 04, 2004, 01:11:30 PM
The first season took place in 1909 in Paris. The Compagny was created by Serge Diaghilev in Saint-Petersburg.
Diaghilev was not an artist, but an "amateur éclairé" and a real good regissor...


The Polovtsians Dances from the Prince Igor by Borodin.
Choregraphy:M. Fokin,
Setting & costumes:   Nicolas Roerikh

with Shaliapin (Khan Konchak)

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/10-big.jpg)

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/62-big.jpg)

The Sylphides
by Chopin, orchestration Stravinsky
Choregraphy:M. Fokin
Setting & costumes: Alexander Benois

with: Pavlova, Karsavina, Nijinsky

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/57bis-big.jpg)
Title: Re: Les Ballets Russes
Post by: Lisa on August 04, 2004, 01:18:51 PM
1911

Sheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov

Choregraphy:Fokin
Setting & costumes:Bakst (actually Benois)
with Ida Rubinstein, Nijinsky

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/12bis-big.jpg)

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/58-big.jpg)

Firebird by Stravinsky
Choregraphy:Fokin
Setting Alexandre Golovine
costumes Bakst

with Tamara Karsavina, Firebird
Véra Fokina, Tsarevna
Michel Fokine, Ivan, Tsarévitch
Alexeï Boulgakov, Kostcheï

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/13bis-big.jpg)

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/13-big.jpg)

(http://www.tigtail.org/TIG/TVM/B/European/a.%20pre%20WW%20I/Russian/bakst/S_OK/bakst_loiseau-de-feu_the-firebird.1910.jpg)
Title: Re: Les Ballets Russes
Post by: Lisa on August 04, 2004, 01:22:47 PM
1911

Le Spectre de la Rose by Carl Maria von Weber , after a poem of Théophile Gautier

Chorégraphy Michel Fokine
Setting & costume: Bakst
with Tamara Karsavina, Vaslav Nijinsky,

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/64.jpg)

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/14-big.jpg)
Title: Re: Les Ballets Russes
Post by: Belochka on August 04, 2004, 11:45:53 PM
lisa,

Thanks for these delightful images. Have you come across Richard Buckle's book Diaghilev?  It contains quite a few illustrations and B/W photographs of which I liked the one with Vaslav Nijinsky dressed as Petroushka the best. The expression on his face was so sad.  :-/


Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 06:18:00 AM
No, I don't know this boo... I just find this wonderful site, but there is no English version...

http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/accueil.htm

1911

Petrouchka by Stravinsky

Choregraphy Michel Fokine
Setting & costumes  Alexandre Benois

with Tamara Karsavina, ballerine
Vaslav Nijinsky, Pétrouchka
Alexandre Orlov, the Maure
Enrico Cecchetti

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/15-big.jpg)

Serge Lifar as musisian in tge street
(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/52bis-big.jpg)

Stravinsky & Nijinsky
(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/41-big.jpg)

Petrouchka by Benois
(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/66-big.jpg)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 06:22:14 AM
1912
L'après-midi d'un Faune by Claude Debussy

Choregraphy  Vaslav Nijinski
Setting & costumes Léon Bakst
with Lydia Nelidova, the nymph
Vaslav Nijinsky, the fauna

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/16-big.jpg)


(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/56-big.jpg)

Setting
(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/16bis-big.jpg)


Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 06:26:58 AM
1913

Le Sacre du Printemps by Stravinsky

Choregraphy Vaslav Nijinsky
Setting & costumes Nicolas Roerich
with Lydia Sokolova

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/17ter-big.jpg)

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/17bis-big.jpg)

(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/77-big.jpg)

Stravinsky playing The Sacre by Jean Cocteau
(http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/illust/17-big.jpg)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 06:35:33 AM
Le Sacre du Printemps by Roerikh

(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/roerich/roerikh_kiss_of_the_earth.jpg)

(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/roerich/roerikh_kiss_ofthe_earth_a.jpg)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 06:41:20 AM
Sheherazada by Bakst

(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_decor_for_sheherazada.jpg)

The Red Sultana
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_red_sultana_scheherazade.jpg)

The Silver Negro (Nijinsky)
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_silver_negro_scheheraz.jpg)

The Chief Eunuch
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_chief_eunuch_scheherazade.jpg)

The Odalisque
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_odalisque_b_scheherazade.jpg)

The Odalisque
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_odalisque_scheherazade.jpg)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 06:44:37 AM
L'Après-midi d'un Faune by Bakst

(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_decor_poludenny_otdykh_favna.jpg)

(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_faun_l'apre_midi_faun.jpg)

Nymph
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_nimfy_poslepoludennyj_otdyh.jpg)

(http://www.tigtail.org/TIG/TVM/B/European/a.%20pre%20WW%20I/Russian/bakst/S_OK/bakst_lapres-midi_d_un_faune_another-nymph.1912.jpg)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 06:48:46 AM
The Firebird bu Bakst

The Firebird (Karsavina)
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_of_firebird.jpg)

Tzarevich Ivan (Fokin)
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_of_tzarevich_ivan_firebird.jpg)

Tzarevna (Fokina)
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/baxt/baxt_cost_of_tzarevna_firebird.jpg)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 06:56:05 AM
Petrushka by Alexander Benois

The Fair
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/benois/benois_petrouchka_the_fair.jpg)

St.Petersburg Show-Booths
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/benois/benois_decor_petrushka.jpg)

The Blackmoor's Room
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/benois/benois_petrouchka_blackmoor_b.jpg)

Conjuror.
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/benois/benois_cost_conjuror_petrushka.jpg)

A Goat with a Fiddle
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/benois/benois_cost_goat_petrushka.jpg)

Ballerina (Karsavina)
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/benois/benois_cost_ballerina_petrushka.jpg)

The Princess's Grandson and Granddaughter
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/benois/benois_cost_grandson_petrushka.jpg)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 07:03:43 AM
Petrushka by Benois

The Moor( Orlov)
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/benois/benois_cost_moor_petrushka.jpg)

The Bear
(http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/benois/benois_cost_bear_petrushka.jpg)

Petrushka(Nijinsky)
(http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/r-negin/petrubenois.jpeg)
(http://www.nypl.org/research/lpa/nijinsky/full/2053V.jpg)
(http://www.nypl.org/research/lpa/nijinsky/full/2045V.jpg)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Lisa on August 05, 2004, 07:10:35 AM


Tamara Karsavina in The Sylphides by Savely Sorin
(http://www.jssgallery.org/Other_Artists/Savely-Sorin/Tamara_Karsavina_Les_sylphides1910.jpg)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Belochka on August 05, 2004, 08:24:09 PM
Thanks Lisa, I enjoyed viewing all these images. ;D

Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Louise on August 05, 2004, 09:19:24 PM
Stunning pictures, just simply stunning. Thank you for posting them.

Louise
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: KayTanaka on August 29, 2004, 10:07:03 PM
Thank you for posting these beautiful memories. Soon the Mariinsky dancers will be coming for the historic premiere of Onegin on the Santa Fe Opera stage and we will see if anyone possesses a part of this magic which might have been passed on to them. Certainly it is evident even in one of our retired ballerinas and her students here--the legacy of Madame Baldina which has graced so many lives. Many Blessings, Kay.
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: NAAOTMA on September 03, 2004, 05:30:42 PM
I have enjoyed this thread so much---thank you for posting the wonderful pictures and illustrations! Thanks again, Melissa K.
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: KayTanaka on September 05, 2004, 02:14:58 AM
The second and final night of the ballet, Onegin, at the Santa Fe Opera. Yes, some of the old magic lives on. I know not from whom or where, but it was there. Many Blessings, Kay.
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Elisabeth on September 25, 2004, 11:37:07 AM
I have a souvenir programme from the first American tour of Les Ballets Russes (identified as such on the last page). I don't know what year that was -?  It is quite beautiful, although not in mint condition, and I am wondering if anyone here knows what its value might be? I have thought of selling it, if only because it is so old and I have no idea how to take care of it properly.

The title page says, "Souvenir Serge de Diaghileff's Ballet Russe. With Originals by Leon Bakst and Others. Metropolitan Ballet Company, Inc." The programme is made up of a series of textual descriptions of the various ballets performed by the company, with gorgeous color prints (mainly of Bakst's famous designs) on the facing pages. Overall the quality of the programme is pretty good, although there have been ink transfers in a few places (fortunately not over the pictures). The cover is, however, disintegrating around the edges.

Does anyone have a similar programme or any information about such items?
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Sergio on September 25, 2004, 01:42:03 PM
At the websites

http://www.cndp.fr/balletrusse/thema/the_chore.htm
http://www.dmu.ac.uk/~jafowler/russes2.html
http://www.danceworksonline.co.uk/sidesteps/companies/balletrusses_massine.htm

you can read that the American tour of Les Ballets Russes was in 1916! The first tour was from 17 January to 29 April 1916, in New York. The second tour was latter that same year.
;)
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Elisabeth on September 25, 2004, 02:27:27 PM
Thank you, Sergio! This programme could be from 1916, I suppose, but I'm wondering if there was a difference between Les Ballets Russes and the Ballet Russe? I think it's peculiar that there are no pictures in this programme of any of the actual dancers in the company. (There is a frontispiece of Diaghilev himself.) I should read up on this and study those links you gave me... Thanks again!
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Sergio on September 25, 2004, 04:27:03 PM
The ballet company established by the impresario Serge Diaghilev in 1909 was called Ballets Russes, which ran until his death in 1929. After Diaghilev's death the company's property was claimed by creditors, and the dancers were scattered.
In the subsequent years, the company (in name only) was revived as the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (with which the names of George Balanchine and Tamara Toumanova are associated) and as the Original Ballet Russe.

Maybe is just a question of language!

Please, go to the following website: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=2367&item=3838650689&rd=1.
What a surprise!   :) :D ;D ;)

Is it the same as you have?
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Elisabeth on September 25, 2004, 05:01:51 PM
Nooooo, you were right the first time -- this programme is from 1916!!!

I finally found the copyright date on one of the inside pages, underneath the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Opera Company. I don't see how I could have missed this before... also, there ARE photographs of such stars as Leonid Massin, Lydia Sokolova and even Enrico Cecchetti.

I'm not sure I would want to sell this now, although I do wonder how best to keep it preserved.
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Terentieva on July 04, 2007, 02:40:33 PM
i do not mean to be rude or a pain  ::)but is it only me that can not see the beautiful pictures that you are talking about? i would love to see them!
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Naslednik Norvezhskiy on November 06, 2010, 08:09:39 PM
I found it interesting that Nijinsky is credited with giving ballet a more (homosexual) pornographic direction, as both classical and modern ballet have a strong element of high-brow softcore porn, as I was surprised to find out after watching it for the first times. You easily understand why it was the preferred art form of cultured, but lecherous grand dukes, because the unashamed spectacle of supple, fit, fleet, young bodies in tight-fitting, fetishistically cute costumes in various stages of acrobatic, frolicking foreplay can only be called romantic softcore porn. It's just like a peep show, just much classier, romantic and natural.

With all the strange fetishes out there, I am surprised that the "ballet fetish" seems yet to be undiagnosticized. I suppose it is a rather wholesome fetish, but the whole fairytale, prince/princess, traditional gender roles of pursuer vs. pursued, cute folkloric costumes, clean-shaven cute innocent look and courtship/foreplay frolicking thing is as escapist as any fetish!
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Elisabeth on March 17, 2011, 03:48:10 PM
I found it interesting that Nijinsky is credited with giving ballet a more (homosexual) pornographic direction, as both classical and modern ballet have a strong element of high-brow softcore porn, as I was surprised to find out after watching it for the first times. You easily understand why it was the preferred art form of cultured, but lecherous grand dukes, because the unashamed spectacle of supple, fit, fleet, young bodies in tight-fitting, fetishistically cute costumes in various stages of acrobatic, frolicking foreplay can only be called romantic softcore porn. It's just like a peep show, just much classier, romantic and natural.

With all the strange fetishes out there, I am surprised that the "ballet fetish" seems yet to be undiagnosticized. I suppose it is a rather wholesome fetish, but the whole fairytale, prince/princess, traditional gender roles of pursuer vs. pursued, cute folkloric costumes, clean-shaven cute innocent look and courtship/foreplay frolicking thing is as escapist as any fetish!

We were talking about the revolutionary Ballets Russes, however, and not the very traditional (prince and enchanted princess plotted) imperial Russian ballet. I can't see exactly how ballets like "Rite of Spring" fit into your pornographic fetish scenario. Even "Afternoon of the Faun" is not strictly speaking pornographic, unless you regard everything overtly erotic as essentially pornographic. Your argument seems unnecessarily reductionist -- I must say, even for the imperial ballet, which had its "ordinary" aficionados who were not even remotely related to lascivious grand dukes.

Ballet is an under-appreciated art form these days, so it doesn't surprise me that a self-professed Freudian like yourself is now attacking it. Of course, ballet detractors have their points -- ballet is very bad for the dancers themselves, it leads to radical weight loss, not to mention loss of cartilage in the joints (hip and knee replacements), plus an unhealthy preoccupation with one's mirrored image. So okay, fine, let's just ban it. Because anything preternaturally beautiful and bad for you must strictly speaking be banned in our brave new puritanical, wholesome, and dare I say it, ugly world. 
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Elisabeth on March 17, 2011, 05:19:05 PM
N.B. This is obviously an afterthought. But ballet is key to understanding Russian culture. It is my impression that Russians don't have anything nearly approaching this Western Catholic/Protestant contempt for the physical body and physicality, they don't necessarily associate the physical or the sensual with "naughtiness," "vice," much less "pornography." Read this passage from Pushkin's groundbreaking novel-in-verse Eugene Onegin, about the ballerina Istomina, who was an actual historical figure of the early nineteenth century, and a famous one. I would hesitate to say that there was anything even remotely pornographic about these lines, although there's certainly an erotic (as well as a supernal) subtext:

The house is packed out: scintillating,
the boxes: boiling, pit and stalls:
the gallery claps--it's bored with waiting--
and up the rustling curtain crawls.
Then with a half-ethereal splendour,
bound where the magic bow will send her,
Istomina, thronged all around
by Naiads, one foot on the ground,
twirls the other slowly as she pleases,
then suddenly she's off, and there
she's up and flying through the air
like fluff before Aeolian breezes;
she'll spin this way and that, and beat
against each other swift, small feet.

-- Aleksandr Pushkin, Eugene Onegin, Chapter XX, trans. by Sir Charles Johnston, p. 43 (Penguin Books, 1979 paperback).

What's interesting to me here is that the physical and supernal are not perceived as divorced but on the contrary, as indivisible. This passage is, I think, very expressive of the traditional Russian love of ballet -- not because ballet is "bad," but because, on the contrary, it expresses the sheer beauty of the human body -- and its eternal qualities -- better than any other art form.
Title: Re: "Les Ballets Russes"
Post by: Naslednik Norvezhskiy on March 18, 2011, 08:34:24 AM
Oh, I didn't mean to attack ballet, Elisabeth. I am just curious and a little confused about this nowadays rather obscure art form.

I think it's not so much western Catholicism and Protestanism per se which are hostile to ballet, but rather the bourgeois or middle-class sensibilities that are rather disengaged from the body: The working classes work with their bodies, the aristocrats play with the body and the middle classes try to suppress the body.

I also think crude 20th century pornography and stripping have made us separate the romantic from the erotic in a way that makes it harder for us to appreciate the whole package of a ballet.

Returning to my mentioning of a "ballet fetish" I think it's funny that the first ballet with typical Freudian fetishisation (Nijinsky's faun's use of the scarf) was the first? male-centred ballet. As we know, men are much more prone to fetishizing certain objects and behaviours than women, who are better at seeing the whole picture.

I agree that "The Rite of Spring" is far from pornographic. I can clearly see how these two modern ballets shocked somebody like the Dowager Empress, considering that she must have been brought up on Bournonville ballets, which really are the cutest thing ever.