Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

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This Blog is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history and memories of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, its legendary ballet dancers, choreographers, scenery artists, musicians and composers.

Friday, February 19, 2010

100th Anniversary of Carnaval: Ballet by Fokine

Carnaval is a ballet based on the music of Robert Schumann's, Carnaval, for piano. It was orchestrated by Aleksandr Glazunov, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Anatole Liadov, Alexander Tcherepnin. Carnaval was choreographed by Ballets Russes’ Mikhail Fokine, with the costumes designed by Léon Bakst. Fokine created Carnaval for a benefit given in St. Petersburg, Russia and it premiered on February 20, 1910.

Some of the leading dancers of the Imperial Ballet were cast in Carnaval: Tamara Karsavina (Columbine), Leonid Leontiev (Harlequin), Vera Fokina (Charina), Ludmila Schollar (Estrella), Bronislava Nijinska (Papillon), Vsevolod Meyerhold (Pierrot), Vasily Kiselev (Florestan), Aleksandr Shiryaev (Eusebius).

Carnaval did not become world-famous until after it was performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes at the Teater des Westens, in Berlin on May 20, 1910. Lydia Lopokova performed as Columbine and Vaslav Nijinsky as Harlequin.

The image above (top of page)is the cover of The Impressions of the Russian Ballet, Carnaval, written in 1918 by C.W.Beaumont, with illustrations by A.P. Allinson. The remainder of the images in this Blog are also from the booklet.

Diaghilev told a story that occurred during a performance of Carnaval. Enrico Cecchetti was miming the role of Pantalon, an elderly dandy of the Romantic period, when he mixed up the order of the program one evening and entered the stage in Carnaval dressed in his costume for the Chief Eunuch in Scheherazade!

On 14 September 1933, the ballet was revived in London by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, staged by Leon Woizikowski, with Alexandra Danilova performing as Columbine.

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