The centenary of a sacred scandal: Introduction

Le sacre du printemps is not only a work of art that has fascinated me for the last couple of years, it has also changed my life. This was the first piece written by Igor Stravinsky that I listened to -propelling an obsession to know of his music and his life. This masterpiece also originated in me an academic interest in ballet.

After studying Stravinsky and his oeuvre, I felt a strong curiosity to know more about the legendary choreographer George Balanchine, his most important creative partner, and with whom the composer would create some of the most influential ballets of all time. Inevitably, after reading about Stravinsky and Balanchine’s magnificent alliance, I started to get interested in the company that made it all happen: Les Ballets Russes.

Les Ballets Russes is the most important ballet company of the first half of the twentieth century. Directed by the cosmopolitan, aesthete and astute impresario Sergei Diaghilev, the company produced amazing works for the stage, combining some of the greatest artistic talents of the era and changing the meaning of dance ever since.

The creative and collective ethos of Les Ballets Russes made possible the creation of legendary works of art like Le sacre du printemps. Composed by Stravinsky and choreographed by wunderkind Vaslav Nijisnky, the production was premiered on May 29, 1913 at the Theatre des Champs Elysées, and this event remains, to this day, the most notorious balletic scandal.

This historic joint venture crafted by a couple of geniuses offers one of the most interesting and exciting objects of study among the history of the performing arts. To celebrate this centenary, I have decided to dedicate the entire month of May of my blog to this landmark event. I will write articles based on the perspective of its creators: Diaghilev, Nijinsky and Stravinsky.

The original choreography was thought lost for a long time until a group of researchers brought it back to life. That version has been staged recently and can be seen on DVD. However, I believe the best way to experience this work is by listening to its magnificent score. That is why I will also write another article in which I will discuss the best recordings of Stravinsky’s piece.

I invite you all to join me in the celebration of a masterpiece that has become an important part of my life, a celebration that will turn, throughout this month, into a heartfelt tribute.


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