Diaghilev [Dyagilev], Sergey Pavlovich
- Paul Griffiths
(b Novgorod govt., 19/March 31, 1872; d Venice, Aug 19, 1929). Russian impresario. His career as a musical courier between Russia and the West began in 1907 with five concerts at the Paris Opéra. In the following year he presented Boris Godunov (with Chaliapin) in Paris, and in 1909 he returned to launch his Ballets Russes company. Their early productions – notably the Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor (1909) and Schéhérazade (1910, music by Rimsky-Korsakov) – met with enormous enthusiasm, as much for the exotic poster-colour costumes of Bakst and for Fokine’s powerful narrative choreography as for their brilliant scores. The first composition commissioned by Diaghilev, Stravinsky’s The Firebird (1910), was another glittering fantasy, and it began an association that continued with Petrushka (1911), The Rite of Spring (1913), The Nightingale (1914), Pulcinella (1920), Mavra...