L’Après-midi d’un faune and Le spectre de la rose

The 1911–1912 seasons of the Ballets Russes saw the premiers of two of the twentieth century’s greatest scores — Stravinsky’s Petroushka and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé. But, while Petroushka was a great success and (for non-musical reasons) the Ravel considerably less so, it was two smaller works that seemed most to capture the public imagination in […]

Firebird

The ‘phenomenal success’ of the Ballets Russes‘ 1909 season was purely artistic; in financial terms it was a disaster, leaving Diaghilev and his backers with a gargantuan debt of 85,000 francs (some things never change!). Lesser men would have simply given up at this point, but the indomitable impresario immediately began pressing ahead with plans for […]