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Diaghilev, Serghei (1872-1929)

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Serghei Diaghilev, Russian ballet impresario and art critic. He came to St. Petersburg, graduated St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music and later, in 1899, became co-founder of the progressive art magazine Mir Iskusstva (The World of Art).

The same year he was appointed artistic adviser of the Mariinsky Theatre. He resigned this post in1901 and when the magazine stopped publishing in 1904, he concentrated on organising exhibitions of Russian art in St. Petersburg and Paris. In 1908 he brought a production of "Boris Godunov" to Paris, with the famous singer, Feodor Shalyapin.

In 1909 he brought to Paris a season of opera and ballet and, with the assistance of the painters L. N. Bakst and Alexander Benois and the choreographer Michel Fokine, founded Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, a troupe that was to revolutionise the world of dance and which he directed until his death in 1929.

An imposing personality, he was associated with dancers of the first rank, such as Vaslav Nijinsky, Tamara Karsavina, Anna Pavlova, Alicia Markova, and Anton Dolin; Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Dukas, Falla, Milhaud, and Richard Strauss wrote music that was first performed by his company, and Picasso and Derain often worked with him as scene designers.

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