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.