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Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872 - 1929) - critic, theater and art figure, avant-garde entrepreneur, editor-in-chief and creator of the World of Art magazine, one of the founders of the World of Art group, organizer of Russian Seasons in Paris and the Russian Diaghilev's ballet ". Diaghilev focused all his energy and talent on promoting Russian ballet in Western Europe.
Diaghilev gave the world of art new names of talented choreographers: Fokine, Massine, Nijinska, Balanchine, dancers: Nijinsky, Viltzak, Voitsikhovsky, Dolina, Lifar, Pavlova, Karsavina, Rubinstein, Spesivtseva, Nemchinova, Danilova.
The centenary of the "Russian Seasons" was celebrated in 2009. In fact, everything is different. The first performance of the Russian Ballets troupe in Paris took place in 1909. The troupe consisted of dancers from the Mariinsky Theater. In 1906 an exhibition of Russian painting "Russian Seasons" was held in Paris. The year 1907 was very fruitful - five "Russian Historical Concerts" took place. The year 1908 was devoted to the shows of Russian operas, so according to the chronology, 1909 was already the fourth season. There is one more evidence of this, the program of the "Russian Ballets" of 1912, where the number of the season was indicated, namely: the seventh!
Sergei Diaghilev had a difficult character, which is why he constantly quarreled with people and created an atmosphere of scandals. Indeed, Diaghilev was naturally unrestrained, rude, explosive, and this suffered not only he alone, but also the people around him. (remember, at least, the noisy quarrel between Alexander Nikolaevich Benois and Lev Samoilovich Bakst over the scenery of "Petrushka"). Diaghilev had an uneasy relationship with Mikhail Mikhailovich Fokin, a famous Russian choreographer. Fokine made many claims to Diaghilev, both personal and financial. So Diaghilev is not the only one to blame for the constant quarrels and scandals.
Diaghilev was a homosexual. Yes it is. In 1890. during a trip to Italy, Diaghilev and his cousin Dmitry Filosofov became lovers. Their relationship lasted ten years. Thanks to his cousin, Diaghilev developed his own artistic tastes. In 1908. Diaghilev meets Vaslav Nijinsky. This meeting was somewhat fatal. She connected Diaghilev with ballet with extremely deep feelings. After five years of their joint activity, Nijinsky becomes a world famous dancer. Diaghilev's next lover was Leonid Myasin. He became a lover in the name of a career. And Massine's hopes were justified. In the last decade of his life, Diaghilev had affairs with handsome young people, whom he helped to make a brilliant career.
Diaghilev drove Vatslav Fomich Nijinsky to mental illness. The reason for the breakup was Nijinsky's wedding. It is not true, Nijinsky fell ill long before the wedding. And his illness was irreversible and was the result of many reasons. But the quarrel with Diaghilev did its bit. It was a very close love-creative relationship. Sergei Pavlovich expelled Nijinsky in 1913 from the troupe when he suddenly married Romola de Pulski. In addition, he expelled Leonid Fedorovich Massin after his marriage to Vera Savina in 1921. But the break with Nijinsky was temporary and Diaghilev soon returned him to the troupe.
The fate of his lovers after the break with Diaghilev was sad. Zinaida Gippius, having separated Dmitry Filosofov from Diaghilev, did not receive the expected happiness. Filosofov felt like a prisoner of "fatal feelings" and could not even touch her. Romola de Pulski had to take care of her husband Nijinsky all his life. Soon after the wedding, her husband's illness began to progress, he became insane and helpless like a child. The English dancer Vera Savina, who married Massine, was abandoned by him and withered into obscurity.
Diaghilev was inaccurate in financial matters and preferred not to pay rather than pay as soon as possible. Diaghilev always and with all employees drew up detailed contracts, where all rights and obligations were clearly spelled out. And until 1913 he was considered one of the most responsible impresario. But in 1914, due to the war, he was unable to fulfill a number of financial obligations. Deciding that everyone would understand the objectivity of the reasons, Diaghilev refused to pay for some contracts. But not everyone shared his opinion. For example, Fokin refused to further cooperate with him.
After the First World War, Diaghilev was so carried away by scandalous performances and public work that one can speak of the decline of the "Russian Seasons". Indeed, in 1913, the premiere of The Sacred Spring brought scandalous glory to Diaghilev (the audience booed the ballet because they did not like Stravinsky's music and did not pay any attention to the original and complex choreography of the production). The reason for the scandal in 1917 was the red flag that appeared on the scene. This caused outrage among the audience. Although Diaghilev was not interested in politics, he tried to keep up with the times. Male dancers began to have equal rights with women, everything began to undergo changes: music, scenery, choreography. Diaghilev has a special flair for people and the art of ballet, he invited "advanced" people to the troupe. Diaghilev is looking for new talents.
Picasso gained European fame thanks to Diaghilev's premiere of "Tricorne". Pablo Picasso gained fame after the scandalous premiere of the play "Parade", which took place in 1917, and not "Tricorne" (author's name - "Tricord").
Diaghilev was not interested in modernity. Until 1920, Diaghilev gave preference to folklore and fairy tales. But gradually, the trends of modern times began to penetrate into the libretto more and more often. In 1927, Diaghilev even planned a ballet on the theme of Soviet life. He tried many times to establish contacts with the USSR.
There were no performances by the Russian Ballets in Russia, because Diaghilev treated his own homeland with disdain. This is not entirely true. There was not a single Diaghilev performance in Russia, but Diaghilev dreamed of performing at home. But in 1911, when it seemed that the dream was given to come true, everything collapsed. The People's House burned down even before the tour began. And Vladimir Arkadyevich Telyakovsky, who worked in the directorate of the imperial theaters, refused to lease the Mikhailovsky theater. Even the famous ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya could not help Diaghilev. Therefore, he discussed projects with Vsevolod Emilievich Meyerhold (actor, director, teacher, one of the theater reformers) about a joint season in Paris. Offered cooperation to Kasyan Goleizovsky (choreographer, recognized master who created masterpieces of choreography, Honored Artist of the BSSR (1940), Honored Artist of the Lithuanian SSR (1954)), Alexander Yakovlevich Tairov (actor, great director, People's Artist of the RSFSR (1935)), but those refused. In Soviet times, the possibility of Diaghilev's return to his homeland was more hypothetical, although he repeatedly tried to visit the USSR. In 1925, in the sixth issue of the Zhizn iskusstva magazine there was even a note stating that the entry into the USSR of the director of the Russian ballet S.P. Diaghilev is undesirable. Diaghilev's visit was not welcomed, since he was an extraordinary person who did not fit into the framework of the notions of a respectable citizen accepted in Soviet society.
After Diaghilev's death, many regretted that they had never seen him perform. Diaghilev never performed on stage himself, never danced, he never did anything himself. Diaghilev was the most talented leader, organizer, and discoverer of talents.