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
Yesterday evening we walked around the circus. There is a red hall, but it is a sad sight. Misia walked on the tightrope. Diaghilev fell asleep, but gave a start and woke up when the elephant went down on its knees.
We’re waiting for Bakst!
I’m not writing because of work. We still have to erect the tuned mechanism. Massine is falling pray to the typical error of youth: he is confusing originality and unnecessary complication. Got to be on one’s guard without a break.
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
The Coliseum is sublime. We saw it at night. It’s impossible to add anything to these ruins, in and of themselves an architectural masterpiece, an enormous repository of centuries past, now surrounded by crowds of onlookers, fauvists and cocaine dealers.
I really like Massine. Our work is progressing apace. You know that my greatest joy is to create, to give form to dreams. Serge is an ogre. He eats and drinks non-stop. This morning he bundled us into the car. All in all, I’m fond of Rome and the hustle and bustle amidst its ruins. No war. Night lights. Trams and cinemas.
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.
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
What horrors in Russia! Can there really be no end to the intrigues of the German-socialists and to the rest of this shit?
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
Soon we understood that he was not happy with his current life, and even though he found it relatively amusing dancing in a cafe, he did not find it worthwhile. Diaghilev invited Felix to the performances of “Sheherezade” and “Tamara”—they were a true revelation for him, for he has never seen classical ballet before. He expressed his desire to join our company, Diaghilev immediately signed a contract with him, and Felix, who was at the time about twenty-one, became a member of the Russian Ballet troupe.
During the short season in Barcelona, Felix began teaching me the intricate movements of feet and legs in flamenco. And even though he obviously lacked our classical training, he was a naturally gifted dancer and a very patient teacher. When he sensed my strong desire to learn his national dances, he introduced me to his elderly teacher, who in turn, agreed to teach me the zapateadoSpanish folk dance style characterised by a lively rhythm punctuated by the striking of the dancer's shoes. technique.
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
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
While at the same time a horse with a cubist muzzle came on stage and began to perform circus tricks—went on its knees, danced, bowed. The spectators, it seemed, thought that the artists were making fun of them and have completely lost their heads, screaming, “Death to the Russians! Picasso—Boche! Russians—Boches!”
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
The red banner would symbolise the triumph of the forces of light over the forces of darkness. Such a gambit seemed inappropriate to all of us, but, in his obstinacy, Diaghilev was loath to listen to anyone.
But when this innovation met with an extremely cold response from the audience, he realised that he’d been given a bad piece of advice and restored the scene to its original form.
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.
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
Cocteau was delighted with it all. He bought a camera and photographed us, leaning on statues and clambering on marble slabs to get the best angle.