DIAGHILEV’S BALLETS RUSSES, 1909–1929 – TWENTY YEARS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD OF ART
An exhibition of more than 200 original documents and art works in the Harvard Theatre Collection
Wednesday, April 15 – Friday, August 28, 2009 . Nathan Marsh Pusey Library, Harvard University Open to the public without charge.
This was an enterprise that appealed especially to privileged and cultured populations in the largest cities, but it was to exert an effect and influence on the future of ballet that extended beyond those metropolises and endured beyond the impressive immediate accomplishment of having presented some eighty individual ballets that were created and performed by many of the significant artists of the early years of the twentieth century.
Especially in its earlier years, the Ballets Russes was also grounded in Russian culture: amid many modernist, advanced works, Diaghilev brought out ballets based on traditional Russian themes, created by Russian-born artists, composers, and choreographers, and performed by dancers trained in the Russian style. Diaghilev also revived a number of represesentative ballets and operas from the nineteenth-century Russian tradition that is most closely identified with the choreographer Marius Petipa.
The Ballets Russes began on a small scale: its first season consisted only of a few weeks in Paris, with no immediate expectation of permanency; and the second season, limited to Paris and Monte Carlo, was nearly as brief. It was the third season, in 1911, that brought the Ballets Russes also to London, where it caught fire; and from that time, performing now under Diaghilev’s own name, the company was eagerly followed and enthusiastically reported as it grew in size, in repertory, and in prestige.
Serge Diaghilev was responsible for having brought together and given important opportunities to such emerging artists as Stravinsky, Poulenc, Prokofiev, Picasso, de Chirico, and Miro, as well as a number of leading Russian artists, such as Bakst, Benois, Roerich, and Goncharova. Many of the greatest Russian dancers danced for Diaghilev, including Nijinsky, Fokine, Karsavina, Kschessinska, and Pavlova, and he fostered the careers of many more who were nurtured under the auspices of the Ballets Russes. It was Diaghilev, perhaps more than any other figure, who was responsible both for raising the prominence of the male dancer and for seizing upon the sensual possibilities of ballet. He elevated management and administration to a creative art.
The year 2009 is the centenary year of the founding of the Ballets Russes. “The World of Art,” the phrase we have chosen to use within our title, is not only a broad declaration of the impact and influence of the Ballets Russes, but it is in fact a translation of the title of a periodical in support of modern art, “Mir Istkusstva,” which Diaghilev edited in St. Petersburg, and which first brought him recognition.
Both the exhibition, and the symposium planned in connection with the exhibition, pay tribute to Diaghilev as a genius among impresarios and entrepreneurs. We hope they will also bring to life the beauty and impact of the works that resulted from the historic collaborative enterprise of the Ballets Russes. The speakers and panelists in the symposium, coming from a number of fields of specialization, will bring many perspectives to the appreciation of the Ballets Russes that should prove to be informative to their colleagues from all areas of interest. Registration in the symposium is open to all, and all are cordially welcome to attend. Further details about the exhibition and symposium are given below.
The exhibition has been organized by Fredric Woodbridge Wilson, Curator of the Harvard Theatre Collection. Including more than 200 original documents and art works, the exhibition is drawn entirely from the holdings of the Harvard Theatre Collection, with the exception of a few items from other libraries of the Harvard College Library. The exhibition will be open to the public without charge. Pusey Library is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. (The library is closed in evenings and on weekends.) Pusey Library is located in Harvard Yard to the left side of Widener Library, as one faces the Widener front steps. The exhibition will be held in the Copeland Gallery and the Sheldon Exhibition Rooms on the main floor.
A three-day-long symposium, open to the public, will coincide with the opening of the Ballets Russes exhibition. Advance registration for the symposium is required, and registration is limited to the capacity of the meeting room. Tickets will be required for all sessions and events.
A registration fee of $125 will be charged to attendees, other than speakers. Registration will cover all symposium sessions, programs, and events, but not meals or accommodations. Registration fee concessions are available to Harvard staff and Harvard student attendees; contact the Outings & Innings office for details (harvie.harvard.edu/perks). Details regarding registration are found on the registration form, available from the Harvard Theatre Collection, or from the Houghton Library web site (hcl.harvard.edu/houghton). Registration for admission to specific sessions is not available. Arrangements for travel and accommodations are left to attendees. There is a wide range of accommodations available in the Cambridge and Boston area, including hotels and bed-andbreakfast inns, but they often fill up unless reservations are made well in advance. A block of rooms has been reserved at a local hotel for early symposium registrants. Further information will be provided to registrants as their registration forms are received. No meals are provided, other than continental breakfast and afternoon refreshments for each of the three days of the symposium. Harvard Square is well known for its many restaurants and shops.
The symposium sessions will be held at the New College Theatre (formerly the Hasty Pudding Club House). The New College Theatre is located at 10-12 Holyoke Street, close to Massachusetts Avenue.
Le Pavillon d’Armide (1909). Principal Characters. Costume design by Alexandre Benois (1870–1960), Paris, 1909. Gouache and pencil. Howard D. Rothschild Collection. Bequest, 1989. Harvard Theatre Collection, MS Thr 414.4.31.
DIAGHILEV SYMPOSIUM AT HARVARD
DIAGHILEV’S BALLETS RUSSES, 1909–1929
TWENTY YEARS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD OF ART
Wednesday, April 15 – Friday, April 17, 2009
Wednesday, April 15 – Friday, August 28, 2009
Organized and Sponsored by The Harvard Theatre Collection of Houghton Library in the Harvard College Library Co-sponsored by the Office for the Arts at Harvard and the Harvard Dance Program.
A cross-disciplinary conference of more than 20 speakers, panel discussions, special presentations and performances, including the exhibition opening
Wednesday, April 15 –- Friday, April 17, 2009
New College Theatre, Harvard University. Advance registration required
See web site for details.
The Harvard Theatre Collection
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Web Site hcl.harvard.edu/houghton and select Public Programs
Tamara Karsavina as Salomé in La Tragédie de Salomé (1913). Original drawing by George Barbier (1882–1932). Ink and watercolor. Published in Album Dédié a Tamar Karsavina, Paris, 1914. Purchased in 2002 with income from the Howard D. Rothschild Bequest. Harvard Theatre Collection, HTC 28,029.
Serge Lifar (1905–1986) in La Chatte (1927). Character portrait by Eileen Mayo (1906–1994). Pastel and crayon. Gift of Paul Stiga. From the Stravinsky-Diaghilev Foundation Collection. Gift, 1994. Harvard Theatre Collection, MS Thr 502. HTC 4,776.
en Danza Ballet
DIAGHILEV’S BALLETS RUSSES, 1909–1929
© 2006 – 2009 Danza Ballet