Diaghilev, Serge, 1872-1929

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1872-03-31
Death 1929-08-19
Gender:
Male
Russians
English, Russian, French

Biographical notes:

Serge Diaghilev was a Russian ballet impresario, the founder, producer and artistic director of Ballets Russes. In his late years he turned to book and manuscript collecting. He built up a collection of rare Russian printed books, manuscripts and scores.

From the description of Correspondence relating to book collecting, 1925-1938 (inclusive), 1925-1929 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80095680

From the guide to the Correspondence relating to book collecting, 1925-1938 (inclusive), 1925-1929 (bulk) ., (Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes from which many famous dancers and choreographers would later arise. Born March 31, 1872 in Gruzino, Novgorod province, Russia, he studied law at St. Petersburg University and singing and composition at St. Petersburg Conservatory. In the late 1890s he joined a circle of writers and painters led by the Russian painters Léon Bakst and Alexandre Benois, then founded and edited the progressive art journal Mir Iskusstva (The World of Art, 1899-1904). In 1899 he became artistic adviser to the Imperial Theaters in Moscow and produced several operas and ballets. From 1904 to 1908 he organized a number of foreign exhibitions of Russian art. In 1906 he settled in Paris, France, where, for his 1908 production of the opera Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky, he brought the celebrated bass Feodor Chaliapin. In 1909, in collaboration with the Russian dancer and choreographer Mikhail Fokine and a group of Russian dancers that included Vaclav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Mordkin, Tamara Karsavina, and Adolph Bolm, Diaghilev established the Ballets Russes. Scenic designers for Ballets Russes, besides Bakst and Benois, included the French artists Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, and Maurice Utrillo, as well as the poet-designer Jean Cocteau (who also wrote ballet scenarios for Diaghilev) and Pablo Picasso. Diaghilev commissioned many musical scores from the Russian-born composer I. Stravinsky, including The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), The Rite of Spring (1913), Les Noces (1923), and Apollon musagète (1928). He also commissioned Daphnis et Chloé (1912), by M. Ravel, The Three Cornered Hat (1919), by the M. de Falla, and works by D. Milhaud and E. Satie. Major choreographers of the 20th century who passed through his company were Russian-born George Balanchine, Léonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska, and Sergei Lifar. S. DIaghilev died August 19, 1929 in Venice.

Born in 1905, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Serge Lifar was introduced to dance in 1920 by Bronislava Nijinska, under whom he began to study. Brought to France to join Sergey Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Lifar studied with the eminent teacher Enrico Cecchetti and became premier danseur of the company. He created the title roles in a number of G. Balanchine's early ballets, including The Prodigal Son. After Diaghilev's death in 1929 Lifar joined the Paris Opera Ballet as premier danseur and ballet master. In 1932 he was awarded the title of professeur de danse and began reforms of the Opera's school to enable its dancers to perform the more modern ballets, particularly his own. From 1929 until 1959, excluding 1944-1946 seasons, apart from revivals of classical ballets, Lifar staged more than fifty works for the Opera. A noted experimenter, he produced his first ballet without music, Icare (1935), and published the same year the controversial Le Manifeste du choréographe. He developed the importance of the male dancer in his Prometheus (1929) and Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev, 1955). Lifar died in 1986.

From the description of Serge Diaghilev/Serge Lifar collection, 1750-1950 (bulk 1890-1929). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71129930

Biographical Note

  • 1872, Mar. 31: Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev is born in Novgorod province, Russia, the only child of Pavel Pavlovich Diaghilev and Evgeniia Nikolaevna Essipova; Diaghilev's mother died as a result of the birth. Both of his parents were from old gentry landowner families. Pavel Pavlovich, a soldier in the Chevaliers Gardes in the service of the tsar, is transferred to St. Petersburg shortly afterwards
  • 1874: Pavel Pavlovich Diaghilev marries Elena Valerianovna Panaeva, of whom Serge Diaghilev was very fond. Elena was from a musical family and was distantly related to Pëtr Il'ich Tchaikovsky. Through these family connections, Diaghilev is afforded the opportunity as a youth to meet many musicians and composers, among them Tchaikovsky (whom the young Diaghilev referred to as "Uncle Petia") and Modest Musorgsky
  • 1882: Pavel Pavlovich is transferred to the provincial Russian town of Perm. They move into the family estate at nearby Bikbarda, which soon becomes an unofficial town cultural center
  • 1890: Serge Diaghilev enters the university at St. Petersburg to study law, for which he has little enthusiasm. His interest and effort seem to be channeled into music, for he soon begins lessons in singing and composition. After a short period of study with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who advises him to reconsider a career in composition, Diaghilev begins to turn his attention more and more to art history and criticism
  • 1891: Serge Diaghilev's first European trip takes him to Berlin, Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence and Vienna. The cultural life which he encounters in these cities has a profound effect on his developing artistic sensibility
  • 1895 - 1896 : During subsequent trips Diaghilev begins to purchase paintings which form the basis of a noteworthy collection. His first articles about contemporary art and painters are published. After six years at the university (in a customarily four-year program), Diaghilev completes his law degree
  • 1899: Establishment of a series of ambitious art exhibitions, which meet with tremendous acclaim. Establishment of the review Mir Iskusstva (The World of Art), which includes writings on art, music and literature, as well as highly original graphics material. Appointed assistant to the Director of the Imperial Theaters; he resigns after a dispute with management in 1901
  • 1903: The World of Art ceases publication due to disagreements and dissatisfaction on the part of contributors to the magazine
  • 1905: "The Exhibition of Historical Russian Portraits," comprising over three thousand works, was organized by Diaghilev; the project takes three years and innumerable trips throughout Russia to complete. The Exhibition is held at the Tauride (Tavri-chevskiĭ) Palace in St. Petersburg and meets with an immense success. Similar exhibitions were organized the following year in Paris, Berlin and Venice. Serge Lifar is born in Kiev
  • 1907: First series of Russian music concerts organized in Paris
  • 1908: Concerts are expanded to include opera and ballet; opera productions include the first performances outside Russia of Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko and Musorgsky's Boris Godunov, the latter achieving almost instantaneous worldwide popularity, and having a significant musical influence on French composers, including Debussy and Ravel
  • 1909, May 19: First appearance of the Ballet Russe in Paris. Its immense success led to a resurgence of the ballet as an art form, especially in France and in Russia, as well as to the development of the field of ballet criticism
  • 1910, June 25: Première of Stravinsky's ballet The Firebird, commissioned by Diaghilev for the Ballet Russe; this was the first of twelve works resulting from the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky
  • 1911: The Ballet Russe is established at Monte Carlo
  • 1912: Non-Russian artists become more frequently involved in the Ballet Russe productions: commissions are given to artists such as Debussy, Ravel, Hahn and Cocteau
  • 1913, May 29: Première of the groundbreaking Le Sacre de printemps of Stravinsky (choreo-graphed by Nijinsky) which causes an unprecedented and legendary scandal
  • 1917: Collaboration with Pablo Picasso, who designs sets and costumes for Satie's Parade
  • 1923: Meeting with Serge Lifar at Monte Carlo, who, upon the recommendation of his teacher Bronislava Nijinska, was contracted to enter the Ballet Russe. By commissioning Stravinsky's Pulcinella, based on works of the eighteenth century masters Cimarosa, Scarlatti and Pergolesi, Serge Diaghilev influences the rise of neoclassicism in twentieth-century music
  • 1925: Lifar has a principal role in the Ballet Russe production of Dukelsky's Zéphyr et Flore
  • 1929, Aug. 19: Serge Diaghilev dies in Venice from complications resulting from diabetes. Lifar assumes the management of the Paris Opéra Ballet, a position which he holds (excluding the years 1944 through 1946, when he directs the Nouveau Ballet de Monte-Carlo) until 1959. During his tenure there he creates many new ballets, writes several books (including a biography of Diaghilev) and establishes new dance institutions. For his contributions to the art of ballet he is awarded the French Légion d'Honneur
  • 1986: Serge Lifar dies

From the guide to the Serge Diaghilev/Serge Lifar Collection, 1750-1950, (bulk 1890-1929), (Music Division Library of Congress)

Sergei Pavlovich Dyagilev was born in the province of Novgorod on March 31, 1872. In 1890 he came to St. Petersburg as a law student and soon became a member of the circle of young musicians, painters, and writers assembled around Alexander Benois and Léon Bakst. In the same year of 1899 in which he co-founded the progressive art magazine “Mir Iskoustva” (“The World of Art”), Dyagilev was appointed artistic advisor of the Maryinsky Theatre, where he was in charge of the publication of the theatre annual and of the highly successful productions of “Sadko” and “Sylvia.” He resigned from his post in 1901, and after the magazine stopped appearing in 1904, he concentrated on organizing exhibitions of Russian art in St. Petersburg and Paris.

In 1908 Dyagilev brought a production of “Boris Godunov” to Paris with Chaliapin and was then invited to present a Paris season of Russian opera and ballet in 1909. With some of the best dancers from St. Petersburg and Moscow he scored a unique triumph in May and June 1909 in Paris. Repeat visits during the following years led to the gradual formation of his Ballets Russes, which became an independent private company when Vaslav Nijinsky resigned from the Maryinsky Theatre. He directed les Ballets Russes until his death on August 19, 1929, in Venice. His company, financed solely by the European aristocracy, was often on the verge of bankruptcy and never returned to Russia after the October Revolution (nor did it ever perform there).

From the guide to the Serge Diaghilev papers, 1910-1929, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)

Sergeˇi Pavlovich Dyagilev was born in the province of Novgorod on March 31, 1872. In 1890 he came to St. Petersburg as a law student and soon became a member of the circle of young musicians, painters, and writers assembled around Alexander Benois and Léon Bakst. In the same year of 1899 in which he co-founded the progressive art magazine “Mir Iskoustva” (“The World of Art”), Dyagilev was appointed artistic advisor of the Maryinsky Theatre, where he was in charge of the publication of the theatre annual and of the highly successful productions of “Sadko” and “Sylvia.” He resigned from his post in 1901, and after the magazine stopped appearing in 1904, he concentrated on organizing exhibitions of Russian art in St. Petersburg and Paris.

In 1908 Dyagilev brought a production of “Boris Godunov” to Paris with Chaliapin and was then invited to present a Paris season of Russian opera and ballet in 1909. With some of the best dancers from St. Petersburg and Moscow he scored a unique triumph in May and June 1909 in Paris. Repeat visits during the following years led to the gradual formation of his Ballets Russes, which became an independent private company when Vaslav Nijinsky resigned from the Maryinsky Theatre. He directed les Ballets Russes until his death on August 19, 1929, in Venice. His company, financed solely by the European aristocracy, was often on the verge of bankruptcy and never returned to Russia after the October Revolution (nor did it ever perform there).

From the guide to the Serge Diaghilev correspondence, 1918?-1929, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w67p90mc
Ark ID:
w67p90mc
SNAC ID:
75934868

Subjects:

  • Ballet--Costume
  • Private libraries
  • Ballet companies
  • Ballet dancers
  • Ballet
  • Operas--Librettos
  • Ballet--Soviet Union
  • Manuscripts--Collections
  • Dance--Production and direction
  • Opera--Scores
  • Manuscripts (Letters)
  • Impresarios--Correspondence
  • Ballet--Stage-setting and scenery
  • Antiquarian booksellers
  • Book collecting
  • Ballerinas
  • Book collectors
  • Composers--Correspondence
  • Impressarios--Correspondence
  • Choreographers
  • Ballet--Europe

Occupations:

  • Collector
  • Impresarios

Places:

  • Russia (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • Soviet Union (as recorded)
  • Russia (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)