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Sergei Diaghilev

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Sergei Diaghilev was born March 31, 1892. Diaghilev spent majority of his youth in Perm. Unlike many men during this time who were dedicated to the Tsar and the army, Diaghilev was dedicated to the world of beauty and figuring out ways to show such beauty. As a law student, he went to St. Petersburg, Russia and became co-founder of the art magazine, Mir Iskusstva (The World of Art), in 1899. In the years of 1897-1906, he incorporated European and Russian contemporary art into his exhibitions and reawakened eighteenth Russian art to the community .The same year he was selected to be the artistic consultant of the Maryinsky Theatre. He retired from this post in 1901 and when the magazine ceased publishing in 1904, he focused on organizing galleries of Russian art in St. Petersburg and Paris. In 1908, he took a production of "Boris Godunov" to Paris, with renowned singer, Feodor Chaliapin. In 1909, Diaghilev took with him to Paris a season of opera and ballet, and with the greatest dancers of the Maryinsky behind him, he had a great victory. Constant visits helped him form his own company, Ballet Russes, in 1911. This company was not connected to any opera, it was a lone company. Diaghilev directed this company until his death on August 19, 1929. The company never performed in Russia. Diaghilev didn’t have the money to keep his project up in Paris. By the time he finished his first season in Paris, he was doing this during the dancers yearly time off. Diaghilev worked with many composers, artists, and dancers like Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, and Vaslav Nijinsky. It was after the World War I, when Diaghilev was banned from Russia. After his death in 1929, the Ballet Russes disbanded. Four years later, another company got the financial support and leadership to start up the company again. The company used many of the same dancers from the Ballet Russes. Diaghilev was active in Russia as a critic, art historian, show organizer, and publisher. Some believe that one of his best known ballets was The Rite of Spring, which appeared in Paris of 1913. When word of Diaghilev’s death got out, Russia had considered him a has-been and foe. But in Europe and North America, his death was on the front pages of newspapers and many reminisced on this great loss and how wonderful his works were.

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