The Lisbon theatre was huge and resembled a circus. It was even called a Colosseum. Diaghilev avidly disliked it. But it was our only option, as the former royal theatre had closed down. See more
The day following our arrival, Diaghilev and I left our hotel and headed towards the Colosseum, but the moment we were about to enter the theatre, we heard gunfire. People started running around, chased by police on horseback. People in the theatre told us, that a revolution had begun, and suggested we return to the hotel.
We reached the hotel, and the administrative staff advised us to get mattresses and to shield ourselves with them so that we don't get hurt by shattered glass. Noone knew what would come next. We were leading a strange and inconvenient life the following week. We had to sleep fully dressed on the floor or the stairs; there was very little food, as the hotel's stocked supplies were running out quickly; and we grew tired of it fairly soon. For Diaghilev, such inactivity was pure torture. At the same time, we heard the news about the Bolshevik revolt in Russia and Diaghilev started blaming all revolutionaries at once. Diaghilev believed that the October revolution would have horrible consequences for Russia, and was extremely distressed. Having distanced himself from politics, he took to heart everything happening in his homeland.
As for Portugal, the order in Lisbon was restored just as quickly as it was shattered: the victorious general pronounced himself President, and life resumed its natural course. Diaghilev even managed to stage two performances in the royal theatre San Carlos, and we succeeded in doing our best.
Despite all these worries, which fell upon BarocchiRandolfo Barocci is the administrator of the Russian ballet troupe, the husband of the ballerina Lydia Lopukhova. and me as from a cornucopia, our season in Buenos Aires was most successful. As time went on, the company enormously improved and the ensembles became quite excellent. Lopokova and Tchernicheva were extremely popular and so was Gavrilov, who alternated in the same parts with Nijinsky - to compete with whom was a feat in itself. See more
As for myself, I was kept perpetually busy with rehearsals and the patching-up of scenery damaged in the fire, and my responsibilities began to weigh upon me so heavily that I longed for the day of our return to Europe. But when this at length arrived and we found ourselves once more on board a ship, I was met with a final unpleasant surprise. An hour before we were due to sail I was informed that the shipping company had declined to load our materials, since their transport to Europe had not been paid for. Da Rosa had thus contrived to swindle us after all. We were accordingly forced to meet this charge out of our own pockets and were faced with the anxious task of ensuring at the eleventh hour that all our possessions were safely on board.
In Buenos Aires, where we had been booked again at the Teatro Colon, Mocci was no longer to be our impresario. He has been replaced by the Portuguese Da Rosa. Our tour began on 11 September and turned out to be among the most difficult I have ever had to direct.
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.