Les Saisons ballet premiered on February 20, 1900. It was choreographed by Marius Petipa and composed by Alexander Glazunov. Les Saisons was performed by the Imperial Ballet in the Theatre of the Hermitage. Les Saisons is an allegorical ballet in one act, with four scenes.
In 1907, Nikolai Legat staged a revival of Les Saisons at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre. This production was performed on occasion by the Imperial Ballet after the Russian Revolution, being performed for the last time in 1927.
Les Saisons lived on in an abriged edition in the repertory of Anna Pavlova's touring company.
Christian Berard was also known as Bébé. He was a French artist, fashion illustrator and designer. Bérard and Boris Kochno, who directed the Ballets Russes, were also co-founders of the Ballet des Champs-Elysées.
Bérard was the son of the official architect of the city of Paris, André Bérard. Born in
From the start of his career he had an interest in theatrical scenery and costume designs, and played an important role in the development of theatrical design in the 1930s and 1940s. He also worked as a fashion illustrator for Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Nina Ricci.
In 1930, Bérard designed his first theater set, for Jean Cocteau’s La Voix Humaine at the Comédie-Française. In 1931, Bérard joined the company of the Ballet Russes in Monte Carlo, working with choreographer George Balanchine on the ballet Cotillon. Balanchine had taken over for ballet impresario and founder of the Ballet Russes, Sergei Diaghilev.Cocteau was a life-long friend. Bérard's most renowned achievement was probably his lustrous, magical designs for Jean Cocteau's 1946 film La Belle et la Bête.
Throughout his career, when he needed the income, Bérard continued to do illustrations for fashion and interior design magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Art et Style, Formes et Coleurs and Style en France. He had a great eye for fashion and style, and his work elevated the art of fashion illustration, updating a Watteau or Fragonard sensibility for women’s fashion to the styles of the 1930s and 40s. His work often inspired the couture collections of designers like Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli and Nina Ricci. Bérard also did some interior decoration and textile design—painting murals and decorative screens, designing rugs—as well as a line of scarves for Ascher Silks, London.
Christian Berard died in 1949, while at work on the costumes and sets for Les Fourberies de Scapin at the Théàtre Marigny, working with friends director Louis Jouvet and actors Jean-Louis Barrault and Madeleine Renaud. After giving some final instructions, Bérard stood up and said: “Well, that’s that,” and collapsed from a cerebral embolism.
Christian Bérard’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston and the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.
Felia Doubrovska was born in St. Petersburg,
Felia married acclaimed Russian dancer, Pierre Vladimiroff in 1921. They moved to the
Felia retired from performing and became a distinguished teacher at the
Serge Diaghilev brought Anna Pavlova to
She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 12, 1881 and entered the Imperial Ballet Academy at the age of ten. Upon her graduation in 1902, she joined the Maryinsky Theatre as second soloist and was promoted to first soloist the following year. With Cecchetti's help, Anna was promoted to ballerina in 1905, and prima ballerina in 1906, he was her favorite teacher, and mentor until her death. Mikhail Fokine choreographed "The Dying Swan" for her with music from Saint-Saen's "Carnival of the Animals." It became her signature solo.
Although she remained a member of the Maryinsky Theatre until 1913, she was rarely seen on stage in Russia. Pavlova's repertoire grew and was influenced by exposure to foreign cultures and by the innovations in classical technique and choreography being brought to the dance by Isadora Duncan and Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Anna however, remained a more conservative classicist. She kept several her ballet classics, such as Giselle and The Sleeping Beauty, in her company's repertoire; her own popular signature pieces were the Bacchanale, a duet attributed to Pavlova's former fellow-student Mikhail Fokine, and her eerily beautiful The Swan.
It was Pavlova's ability to accept her role as ambassador for her art, often with a kind of zeal and self-discipline, that brought vast audiences to her and eventually to the ballet itself. She was willing to let her art find its own level of appreciation, whether in the most discriminating theaters of Europe or, when the economic stresses of maintaining an ungainly touring company dictated, in London's music halls or even New York's gigantic home to vaudeville, the Hippodrome.
Pavlova's rare private days were spent at Ivy House in Hampstead,
Les Millions d'Arlequin (a.k.a. Harlequinade) is a ballet in two acts with libretto and choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Riccardo Drigo. First presented at the Imperial Theatre of the Hermitage by the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 10, 1900. The ballet was given a second premiere on the stage of the stage of the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre with the same cast on February 26th.
The Ballet Master Fyodor Lopukhov later restaged the ballet as Harlequinade in a one act version for the Ballet of the Maly Theatre of Leningrad. The production premiered on 13 June 1933. Audiences outside of Russia are perhaps most familiar with George Balanchine's revival, which the Ballet Master staged as Harlequinade for the New York City Ballet. This production that premiered at the New York State Theater in New York City on February 4, 1965.
The original cast for both performances was Mathilde Kschessinskaya as Columbine, Georgi Kiaksht as Harlequin, Olga Preobrajenska as Pierrette, Sergei Lukianov as Pierrot, Enrico Cecchetti as Casandré, and Anna Urakhova as the Good Fairy. Included at the first performance were Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorvna.
Nathalia Krassovska was born Natasha Leslie in Petrograd (Lennigrad), Russia in 1918. Her grandmother was a soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet, and her mother, Lydia Krassovska, was a dancer with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. She began her ballet training with Diaghilev dancer Olga Preobrajenska and dancer/choreographer Bronislava Nijinska.
Nathalia danced with Ida Rubinstein's Company at the Paris Opera, Nijinska's Ballet Russe in 1932 and Les Ballets 1933. After Les Ballets, Krassovska partnered with Serge Lifar on a tour in
Nathalia Krassovska danced with the London Festival Ballet from 1950 to 1960, and later moved the
Lydia Sokolova was Diaghilev’s first English ballerina. Born Hilda Munnings, she trained at
Her last performance was in 1962 when she danced in the Covent Garden Royal Ballet performance of Massine's The Good-Humoured Ladies.
Olga was probably the best loved ballerina of the Russian Imperial Ballet. Olga was born in Saint Petersburg. In 1879, she joined the Imperial Ballet School, where her teachers were Nicholas Legat, Enrico Cecchetti, and Christian Johansson. After 10 years of intensive training, she moved to the Mariinsky Theatre, where she would work for the next quarter a century. In 1900, she earned the title prima ballerina.
After the Russian Revolution, Olga Preobrajenska dedicated her life to teaching new generations of dancers, first in Petrograd, then in Paris from 1918. Every major mid-20th-century Western dancer visited Olga Preobrajenska for lessons. Tamara Toumanova, Margot Fonteyn, Irina Baronova, Gillian Lynne and Vladimir Dokoudovsky were among the many dancers she coached, and through her students, the Preobrajenska method was soon disseminated in some of the top ballet academies of Europe and New York. The Preobrajenska Method emphasized purity and elegance of movement.
Olga Preobrajenska died in France on December 27, 1962 and was interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris.
Le Sacre du Printemps was written for the 1913 Paris season of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky and stage designs and costumes by artist Nicholas Roerich. When the ballet was first performed the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a near-riot in the audience. The music later became recognised as one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century. Théâtre des Champs-Élysées opened on April 2, 1913. The Ballets Russes programme for May 29, 1913 included Les Sylphides, Le Spectre de la Rose, Polovtsian Dances and the premiere of Rite of Spring. The concept behind The Rite, developed by Roerich from Stravinsky's outline idea, is suggested by its subtitle, "Pictures of Pagan Russia"; in the scenario, after various primitive rituals celebrating the advent of spring, a young girl is chosen as a sacrificial victim and dances herself to death.
The role of the sacrificial victim was to have been danced by Nijinsky's sister, Bronislava Nijinska; when she became pregnant during rehearsals she was replaced by the then relatively unknown Maria Piltz. After the premiere, there were five further performances of The Rite of Spring in Paris, the last on June 13. The composer Puccini, who attended the second performance on June 2nd, described the choreography as “ridiculous and the music cacophonous—the work of a madman.” Stravinsky, was confined to his bed with typhoid fever and did not join the company in London for its performances at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. London The Times critic was impressed how different elements of the work came together, but was less enthusiastic about the music, "If Stravinsky had wished to be really primitive, he would have been wise to ... score his ballet for nothing but drums". Ballet historian Cyril Beaumont commented on the "slow, uncouth movements" of the dancers, finding these "in complete opposition to the traditions of classical ballet".
On September 19, 1913 Nijinsky married Romola de Pulszky while the Ballets Russes was on tour without Diaghilev in South America. When Diaghilev found out he was furious and dismissed Nijinsky. Diaghilev re-hired Fokine, who had resigned in 1912 because Nijinsky had been asked to choreograph Faune. Fokine’s condition of re-employment was that none of Nijinsky's choreography would be performed.
World War I broke out in August of 1914 disrupting the Ballets Russes’ tour schedule, which included countries now on opposing sides. And a number of dancers, including Fokine, were forced to return to their own countries. Diaghilev was forced to rehire Nijinsky as both a dancer and a choreographer, but Nijinsky had been placed under house arrest in Hungary as an enemy Russian citizen. Not until 1916 did Diaghilev obtain Nijinsky’s release in a prisoner exchange with the United States. The release was for a U.S. tour, but Nijinsky’s mental health steadily declined and he took no further part in professional ballet after 1917. In 1920, when Diaghilev decided to revive The Rite of Spring, he found that no one remembered the choreography.
The 1920's version included choreographed by Leonide Massine, replaced Nijinsky's original. In the 1980s, Nijinsky's original choreography, long believed lost, was reconstructed by the Joffrey Ballet in Los Angeles.