The Firebird is a 1910, neoclassical ballet with music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by Michel Fokine. The ballet is based on Russian folk tales of the magical glowing bird of the same name that is both a blessing and a curse to its captor.
The music premiered as a ballet by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris on June 25, 1910 conducted by Gabriel Pierné. It was the first of their productions with music specially composed for them. Originally the music was to have been written by Russian composer Anatol Liadov but when he was slow in starting to compose the work, Diaghilev transferred the commission to the 28-year old Stravinsky. The ballet has historic significance not only as Stravinsky's 'breakthrough piece, but also as the beginning of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky. They would later produce Petrushka and The Rite of Spring.
Enrico Cecchetti was an Italian ballet dancer, and founder of the Cecchetti method of ballet. He was the son of two dancers from Civitanova Marche. He was born on June 21, 1850 in the dressing room of the Teatro Tordinona in Rome. After an illustrious career as a dancer in Europe, he went to dance for the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia. Cecchetti was praised for his agility and strength in his performances as well as his technical abilities. By 1888, he was widely accepted as the greatest ballet virtuoso in the world.
Cecchetti originated such roles as both the Bluebird and Carabosse in Petipa's masterpiece, The Sleeping Beauty. By performing in these two contrasting roles, Cecchetti showed Russian audiences that men could perform all the ballet steps that were usually reserved for women. In 1919, Cecchetti performed at the inaugural performance of the ballet La Boutique Fantasque in London, appearing in the role of the shopkeeper. Cecchetti restaged many ballets, including Petipa's definitive version of Coppélia in 1894, from which nearly all modern versions of the work are based.
Cecchetti turned to teaching. He taught at the Imperial School in St. Petersburg from 1887 — 1902, and then the Warsaw State School in Poland from 1902 — 1905. Returning to St. Petersburg in 1905, he established a school there. From 1907-1909, he coached Anna Pavlova exclusively until dancers from the Maryinsky pleaded with him to open his classes to them again. When Diaghilev's Ballets Russes was scheduled to tour, the dancers refused because they would miss their daily classes with Cecchetti. In 1910, Diaghilev hired Cecchetti as both Ballet Master and mime. Cecchetti performed many mime roles which were created expressly for him by choreographers of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.
Cecchetti's presence in Diaghilev's Ballets Russes was very important. He was the link between the past and the present, contributing to the birth of modern classical ballet. He also maintained the technical level of the dancers by enabling them to cope with the physical and dramatic challenges of the company's demanding choreographers.
Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes toured through Europe, the United States, South America, and Australia. Eventually having had enough of life on the road, Cecchetti settled in London, England where he opened a dance school in 1918. Considered the technical marvel of the ballet world, it was said that no one could become a finished ballet dancer without passing through Cecchetti's hands. In 1923, he returned to Italy to retire but was invited by Arturo Toscanini to resume his teaching career at La Scala, his lifelong dream. While teaching a class, Cecchetti collapsed and was taken home, where he died the following day, November 13, 1928.
Petrouchka premiered in Paris at the Chatelet Theatre on June 13, 1911. The work was created for Diaghilev's Ballet Russe and the opening night featured Vaslav Nijinsky as Petrouchka, Tamara Karsarvina as the Ballerina, Alexandre Orlov as the Blackamoor and Enrico Cecchetti as the Showman. It was danced to a score by Igor Stravinsky, its choreography was by Michel Fokine and it was designed by Alexandre Benois. Stravinsky and Benois were responsible for the libretto.
The first performance of Petrouchka in Australia was produced by Louise Lightfoot for the First Australian Ballet. Lightfoot choreographed her version (called Petrouschka on the program) without ever having seen the Fokine original or any other version. It featured Trafford Whitelock as Petrouchka, Moya Beaver as the Ballerina and Mischa Burlakov as the Blackamoor. It was presented on 18 and 20 July 1936 at the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney.
A few months afterwards, on 14 November 1936, the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet, on tour in Australia, opened its production of Petrouchka in Melbourne. Helene Kirsova starred as the Ballerina, Leon Woizikowsky as Petrouchka and Thadee Slavinsky as the Blackamoor. Between 1936 and 1940, the work was performed over 70 times in Australia by three touring Russian Ballet companies, the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet, the Covent Garden Russian Ballet and the Original Ballet Russe.
Daphnis et Chloe is a choreographic symphony in one act and three scenes, by Michel Fokine and Maurice Ravel. The décor and costumes were done by Leon Bakst. Daphnis et Chloe premiered at Theatre de Chatelet in Paris on June 8, 1912.
Maurice Ravel accepted a commission from Diaghilev to write Daphnis et Chloe, in 1909. He was slow to deliver, so Diaghilev sent him to St. Petersburg to work with Fokine and Bakst. The three men got along so well that it just extended the creative process and Ravel did not finish Daphnis et Chloe until 1912.
The idea itself for adapting the Longus pastoral tale for the stage was Fokine’s. His friend Isadora Duncan had influenced his interest in ancient Greece. The ballet was originally scheduled for the 1911 repertoire, but Narcisse was substituted when Daphnis et Chloe was not yet finished. When rehearsals for Daphnis et Chloe finally began in 1911, Diaghilev was completely distracted by Nijinsky’s L’Apres-Midi and Diaghilev’s lack of interest in Daphnis et Chloe was said to be the main reason for Fokine leaving the Ballets Russes Company in June of 1912, right after its premiere.
A few years later, in 1919, Ravel was commissioned again by Diaghilev to do La Valse, but they disagreed on the scenic concept, that topped with Massine’s departure led Diaghilev to abandon the ballet’s production. Ravel was so stunned by Diaghilev’s behavior that years later they ran into one another in the lobby of the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, and Ravel would not shake hands with Diaghilev.
Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova was born in Nagaevo village near Tula, Russia on June 4, 1881. Her great-aunt was Natalia Pushkina, wife of the poet Alexander Pushkin. Natalia studied sculpture at the Moscow Academy of Art, but turned to painting in 1904. She was deeply inspired by the primitive aspects of Russian folk art and attempted to emulate it in her own work while incorporating elements of fauvism and cubism. Together with her husband Mikhail Larionov she first developed Rayonism.
They organized the pre-Revolution Russian avant-garde Donkey's Tail exhibition of 1912. The Donkey's Tail was conceived as an intentional break from European art influence and the establishment of an independent Russian school of modern art.
As leaders of the Moscow Futurists, they organized provocative lecture evenings. Natalia Goncharova was also involved with graphic design - writing and illustrating a book in Futurist style. Goncharova was a member of the Der Blaue Reiter avant-garde group from its founding in 1911.
In 1915, she began to design ballet costumes and sets in Geneva. Her designs for the ballet Liturgy: Six Winged Seraph,Angel, St. Andrew, St. Mark, Nativity etc. were started in 1915. The Liturgy was commissioned by Diaghilev with Goncharova, Léonide Massine and Igor Stravinsky. She moved to Paris in 1921 where she designed a number of stage sets of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. She became a French citizen in 1939, and she died in Paris on October 17th in 1962.
On June 18, 2007, Goncharova's 1909 painting Picking Apples was auctioned at Christie's for $9.8 million, setting a record for any female artist. A year later, Goncharova's 1912 still-life The Flowers sold for $10.8 million.
Scheherazade premiered on June 4, 1910 in Paris with Ida Rubenstein, Cecchetti and Nijinsky. Rimsky-Korsakov was the composer of Scheherazade. The ballet is one act,
and was choreographed by Fokine with decor and costumes by Leon Bakst. It premiered in the Theatre National de l'Opera, Paris. Scheherazade was the first true creation of the Ballets Russes because except for the dances from the opera Prince Igor, the Fokine choreographed for the company in 1909, all other ballets by Diaghilev's first Paris season were fresh works of already existing ballets.
In the autumn of 1910, Diaghilev ordered a proscenium curtain for the ballet from Valentin Serov, who had designed the Ballets Russes poster. It ws inspired by Persian miniatures and was completed by Serov in Paris in 1911. it graces the stage for Scheherazade until 1914, when sadly, a warehouse fire destroyed it and other Ballets Russes props.
The mime, or acting of Ida and Nijinsky were so strong and unusual for a dance performance, that word of it got to famed actress Sarah Bernhardt. She came to see the ballet and became so overwrought she exclaimed, "Let's get out of here! Quickly! I'm afraid, they are all mutes!" She did not know that there was no talking in ballet.
Frederic Franklin was born in
Freddie later joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as premier danseur at the request of Leonide Massine in 1938. While with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo,
Nathalie Krassovska was born Natasha Leslie in Petrograd/Lennigrad on June 1 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 Olga Preobrajenska and choreographer Bronislava Nijinska.
She 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
Irina Baronova was one of the original, three famous "Baby Ballerinas" along with Tatiana Riabouchinska and Tamara Toumanova. Irina was born in Petrograd in 1919 and moved to
She created roles in Leonide Massine's Les Présages, Jeux d'enfants, Beau Danube, and Bronislava Nijinska's Les Cent Baisers. In 1940, she joined Ballet Theatre, now ABT in
In 1946, Irina met the theatrical agent Cecil Tennant, in England. They fell in love and Irina retired from ballet. In 1949, Irina appeared as Irina in Train of Events. Irina married Cecil Tennant in 1949. The couple had three children: Victoria Tennant, Robert Tennant and Irina Tennant. In 1951, Baronova starred as Yolanda Petrova in Toast to Love. Her husband, Cecil Tennant died in a car accident in 1967. Irina resumed her relationship with her first husband, German Sevastianov.
In 1980, Irina appeared as a ballet mistress in Nijinsky. In 1986, Baronova staged Fokine's Les Sylphides for The Australian Ballet.
The ballet Les Orientales premiered June 25, 1910 at the Theatre National de l'Opera in Paris. During the second season of the Ballets Russes, Diaghilev replaced Le Festin with a new suite of dances, Les Orientales.
Nijinsky appeared in two of the danced he choreographed by himself - - La Danse Siamoise to music by Sinding and Variation to music by Grieg that Stravinsky orchestrated.
Derain was a French painter and co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse. André Derain was born on June 10th in 1880 in Île-de-France, just outside
In 1919 Andre designed the ballet La Boutique Fantasque for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. A major success, it would lead to his creating many ballet designs. He died in Hauts-de-Seine,