Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes – Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

 

When Art Dances with Music. The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

During the summer season, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is inviting the public to tour the enchanting fantasy realm of the Ballets Russes!

Drawn for the most part from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and initially shown there, the exhibition will tour to venues around the world, including the La Caixa cultural centres in Madrid and Barcelona.

This legendary troupe, founded by Sergei Diaghilev in 1909, revolutionized the world of dance in just twenty years. Bringing together top talents such as Nijinsky, Stravinsky, Debussy, Bakst, Larionov, Goncharova, Picasso, Matisse and Coco Chanel, the Ballets Russes became a point of convergence for dance, music and the visual arts. In their determination to fuse different disciplines in a single art form – the ballet – Diaghilev and his collaborators were pursuing the dream of "total art."

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes: When Art Dances with Music showcases some 200 objects, including about fifty original wardrobe creations and set designs for The Firebird, Petrouchka, The Rite of Spring and other masterworks. Performance footage and clips of Ballets Russes signature music accompany the costumes, props and posters, ensuring a unique total art experience for visitors.

Drawn for the most part from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and initially shown there, the exhibition will tour to venues around the world, including the La Caixa cultural centres in Madrid and Barcelona.

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is especially proud to present, until 5 September 2011, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes:
 

When Art Dances with Music. This exhibition was organised by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.
 

Vera Willoughby, Lubov Tchernicheva in Shéhérazade. Watercolour and/or gouache on card. © V&A Images / Victoria and Albert Museum, Londres.
 

Enter the fascinating world of this famous dance company created in 1909 by Serge Diaghilev, who revolutionised the dance world by bringing together firstrate artists and creators such as Nijinsky, Stravinsky, Debussy, Bakst, Larionov, Fokine, de Chirico, Goncharova, Picasso, Matisse and Coco Chanel. An exceptional journey to the heart of artistic creation awaits you. Through their unique approach, the Ballets Russes were able to create a symbiosis between music, choreography, costume and set design, transforming ballet into a total work of art. This mythical troupe, famous for the quality of its many collaborators, still inspires those working in art, theatre and dance to this day. Musical scores by Stravinsky and De Falla continue to resound in concert halls around the world, and more than 200 versions of the ballet The Rite of Spring have been staged since 1913.

This exhibition, in an exclusive engagement at the MNBAQ, highlights the work of Diaghilev (1872-1929), the brilliant impresario who led the Ballets Russes through the production of some sixty works, more than half of which are represented in the exhibition by drawings, photographs, paintings and other objects. There are 229 objects all told, including 56 costumes from the V&A. Among the most anticipated are the famous sylph costume worn by the dancer Lydia Lopokova and designed by Alexandre Benois, the costume for the character Albert worn by Nijinsky in Giselle, also designed by Benois, Henri Matisse’s mandarin costume for Le Chant du rossignol, the costume of the Chinese conjuror created by Picasso for Parade and the Gigolo’s costume in Le Train bleu designed by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.

Preparatory sketches by Léon Bakst, Natalia Gonchorova and Mikhail Larionov are some of the other essential works included in the exhibition. Several objects—lithographs, photographs, period programs and magazines—have been lent by the Vincent Warren Bibliothèque de la danse of the École Supérieure de ballet du Québec to round out the exhibition.

Museum staff have prepared a sparkling design for the exhibition, ensuring a colourful visit in the three principal galleries of the Gérard Morisset pavilion. The exhibition focuses on 24 of the most famous ballets by the Ballets Russes, including The Sleeping Princess, Giselle, Narcisse, Sadko, The Right of Spring and The Firebird. Nine themes evoke in fine fashion the history of these legendary ballets and paint a portrait of the principal artists who led the troupe to the highest heights. These themes include Diaghilev and His Troupe, Tradition and Classical Ballet, Inspired by Antiquity, Russian Folkore and Fairytales, Igor Stravinsky and The Final Ballets. Finally, to make the experience truly memorable and multi-sensory, a sound track with musical excerpts taken from various ballets accompanies the profusely-illustrated fifty-page exhibition guide throughout the visit. “This summer, the Musée is putting on a show! A must-see for lovers of visual art and design but also for those of music and dance”, remarks Line Ouellet, interim director of the Musée national des beauxarts du Québec. So come and join the dance!

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is a government corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec.
 

Léon Bakst, (Conception), Costume pour une jeune Grecque dans Narcisse, 1911. Coton peint.
© V&A Images / Victoria and Albert Museum, Londres.
 

Théodore Fedorovski, Programme souvenir Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Mai / June 1913. 39 x 29,5 cm. © V&A Images / Victoria and Albert Museum, Londres.

  © 2005 – 2011 Danza Ballet

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