Serge Diaghilev was a true impresario. His visions brought together designers, artists, composers, choreographers and dancers in a collaborative manner not equaled since his death in 1929. There are many key design moments in the history of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. During its 20 year history, 1909-1929, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes’ costumes were designed by then artist friends of Serge’s, now iconic artists.
Le Pavillion d'Armide premiered on November 25, 1907 in St. Petersburg at the Maryinsky Theatre staring Pavlova, Gerdt, and Nijinsky. It is a ballet in one-act, choreographed by Mikhail Fokine, designs by Alexandre Benois and composed by Nikolai Tcherepnin.
Benois wrote the libretto of the ballet in 1903 and Tcherepin composed the music to suit the plot. The ballet was brought and presented to the Maryinsky but left unstaged until Fokine.
Sudeikin was a a Russian artist and set-designer associated with the Ballets Russes and the Metropolitan Opera. He designed the sets and costumes for Diaghilev's production of La tragédie de Salomé by Florent Schmitt in 1913, and assisted in the execution of Nicholas Roerich's designs for Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring the same year.
By the time of the October Revolution Sudeikin was among the foremost theatrical designers in Russia. In 1913 he had eloped to Paris with the dancer Vera de Bosset, whom he subsequently married, and who in the 1920s left him to become the mistress and ultimately second wife of Stravinsky.
In 1901, Aleksandr moved to the Saint Petersburg region from Moscow. It was here that he came into his own as a stage designer, combining symbolism and modernism on operatic and dramatic productions for Diaghilev, Meyerhold and others. After the Revolution of 1917, Golovin found work in theatre less and less often, and so delved into painting and graphic illustration.
Amongst his many deisigns, Aleksandr Golovin designed the image curtain for the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.
During Serge Diaghilev’s famous Russian Seasons in 1909, Roerich designed both the set, (photo left), and costume designs for “Polovets Dances” from Borodin’s Prince Igor, Pskovityanka by Rimsky-Korsakov. Nicholas Roerich also designed costumes for the ballet The Rite of Spring, set to Igor Stravinsky’s music.