With its exotic and colorful décor and cast of harem wives and slaves, Schéhérazade was considered the epitome of Diaghilev’s Orientalism. It became one of the most popular ballets produced by the Ballets Russes and was performed more than five hundred times between 1910 and 1929. The original cast of Schéhérazade included Ida Rubinstein, Vaslav Nijinsky, Enrico Cecchetti, and Bronislava Nijinska. (Schéhérazade: music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; libretto by Léon Bakst, Alexandre Benois, and Michel Fokine, after the first tale of The Thousand and One Nights; sets and costumes by Léon Bakst; choreography by Michel Fokine; premiere on June 4, 1910, Théâtre National de l’Opéra, Paris.)
Tag Archives: Leon Bakst
Russian scenery and costume designer, Léon Bakst was one of the principal members of Diaghilev’s original circle of artists, writers, and musicians. After the first performance of the Ballets Russes in 1909, Bakst continued to be one of Diaghilev’s primary collaborators. He created the costumes or scenery for nineteen Ballets Russes productions—more than any other artist—including Le Festin, Le Carnaval, Le Spectre de la Rose, L’Après-Midi d’un Faune, Jeux, and The Sleeping Princess.
After completing his secondary school studies in Perm, Russia, Serge Diaghilev traveled throughout Europe and developed his interest in visual arts. With artists Léon Bakst (1866–1924) and Alexandre Benois (1870–1960), he cofounded the journal Mir iskusstva (The World of Art) in 1898. In 1906, Diaghilev arranged an exhibition of Russian art in Paris and organized a festival of Russian music at the Théâtre National de l’Opéra the next year. In 1908, Diaghilev returned to Paris to present six performances of Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov—the opera’s first performance outside Russia.