The Sochi Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies paid tribute to Russia's icons of literature, music, opera and ballet. This summer, Les Saisons Russes du XX1 siécle stages a season of legendary works at the London Coliseum honouring three of the greatest: Sergei Diaghilev, Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
The Diaghilev Festival is part of this Russian Season at the London Coliseum, Programme 1 includes:
Premiered in Paris in June 1911, Igor Stravinsky wrote the music and co-wrote the story for Petrushka with Alexandre Benois. A tale of three puppets, Petrushka, the Moor, and the Ballerina – brought to life during a St Petersburg Fair. Petrushka loves the Ballerina and is angry and hurt when she rejects him for the Moor. The Moor kills Petrushka with his scimitar. At nightfall the ghost of Petrushka rises above the puppet theatre only to collapse and die for a second time.
In 1909 Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinsky conquered Paris in the Romantic one-act ballet then entitled Les Sylphides. Consisting of four scenes to the music of a polonaise, nocturne, mazurka and tarantella by Frederic Chopin, orchestrated by A.Glazunov, the ballet has no plot, but conveys the mood of reverie and melancholy between dream and reality of a young poet in the world of the Sylphides.
The Polovtsian Dances, a ballet excerpt from Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor, was one of the highlights of the first Ballets Russes Paris season making its 1909 premiere at Theatre du Chatelet. A one-act ballet choreographed by Michel Fokine, slave-girls and warriors perform the celebratory dances of Khan Konchak’s nomadic tribe.