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Project 1917 is a series of events that took place a hundred years ago as described by those involved. It is composed only of diaries, letters, memoirs, newspapers and other documents

What happiness it is to create in the most picturesque ruins on earth, surrounded by young, genius artists.

Red wine intoxicates us, and Palini invites us to a thousand banquets. Diaghilev relates to Rome like Kandavl to his wife – with love and pride. His house is open to guests, he feeds all with tomato purée and pirozhki. See more

Rome is a provincial city. All capitals save for Paris are provincial. They talk shop right in the middle of the street. Everyone gets together in one single café. See more

At the end of December, I want to give a fundraising concert at the Paris Opera for the Italian Red Cross. I would like to ask you to make a sketch of the set design for Scarlatti. Prepare the sketch. I will be in Paris in 10 days. My address is Russian Consulate in Madrid.

One time I was frightened, too, by Diaghilev but not any more - I am working very hard and am making great progress. But this progress is very different from that Diaghilev makes. I am different from Diaghilev, I have a heart - and I work with my heart and soul and hope to develop my spirit. I am no longer Nijinsky of the Russian Ballet - I am Vijinsky of God - I love Him and God loves me.

Diaghilev left with the troupe to Spain - and there he did not immediately succeed, as he expected, with the money. For me and Natalia Sergeevna there was a delay.

I am absolutely broke!! I would be most grateful if you could see your way to sending me those 300 francs you still owe me. See more

In our favorite cafe, “Novedades,” we noticed a small, dark, young dancer, who stood out with his elegant movement and irresistible power. When he finished his dance, Diaghilev asked him to come to our table. He introduced himself as Felix Fernandez Garcia, and as we were talking I felt in him a quivering sensibility of a person who has original talent. See more

My dear Diaghilev, I tried to spot you as I left the performance of the ballet, to no avail. I called you on the phone in Chatelet, but I think it would’ve been easier to reach God.

I have heard the roar of a bayonet attack in Flanders, but it was nothing compared to what was happening in Théâtre du Châtelet! On the night of "Parade's" premier I was surprised at Diaghilev. This brave man listened to the roar of the hall, all white in the face as if a dead man. He was afraid—and he had reasons to be afraid. See more

The premiere of the ballet "Parade."

Before the war I have seen one of Diaghilev’s ballets that caused a scandal—Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” But I have never seen anything like what happened at the “Parade.” People, sitting in the orchestra, rushed towards the stage, and angrily screamed, “Curtain!” See more

Diaghilev announced that he’d decided to alter the final scene of the ballet so as to make it more consistent with the spirit of the age. Instead of being handed a crown and sceptre, the Tsarevich would now be given a Phrygian cap and a red banner. This was to serve as a tribute to the “liberal” February Tevolution in Russia ... See more

After the premiere of the Russian ballet several people wrote to me, asking what is the meaning of the red flag at the end of 'The Firebird'. In contemporary Russia the red flag is an emblem of those who believe that the prosperity of the entire world depends on the freedom of its peoples, achieved only through a victorious struggle.

Dear Gertrude!

I've been working for days on my decorations and costumes and also on two paintings, which were started here. I want to finish them before the dearture. Decorations will be finished right here. Here I have 60 ballerinas. I go to sleep late. I know every girl in Rome. See more

We have been on a few excursions to Pompeii and Herculaneum. Picasso was very struck by the magnificence of the ruins, and each time we turned around we would find him on the top of some ancient column trying to get the best view of the various fragments of Roman sculpture which attracted his eye. Diaghilev was less excited. It was not the first time he had seen these wonders, and the hot sun exhausted him. See more

Age: 45
Job: Editor in chief of the magazine Mir iskusstva, founder of the Ballets Russes
Interests: Theater, opera, ballet


in Petrograd
in Moscow