[Ballets Russes] [Picasso, Pablo. (1881-1973)]

Original 1921 Program

Original program from a May 17, 1921 performance of the Ballets Russes at the Gaite Lyrique, Paris. The evening's program featured Stravinsky's L'Oiseau de Feu, the new ballet Chout (Le Bouffon) with music by Prokofiev and decor by Michel Larionov, a suite of traditional Spanish dances titled Cuadro Flamenco with decor and costumes by Picasso, and the company favorite Danses Polovtsiennes. The color cover features a group of female nudes by Picasso; the contents also include portraits of Stravinsky and Prokofiev by Picasso and Henri Matisse, as well as a two-page color spread of designs by Larionov for Chout, and portrait drawings by Juan Gris. [28] pp. Bound with staples and yellow cord. Some fading and wrinkling to the covers, with staples rusting and some internal smudging; overall in very good condition. 9.5 x 12.5 inches (24.5 x 32 cm).

"Two new ballets were premiered during the Ballets Russes’s May [1921] season at the Théâtre Gaîté-Lyrique, Paris: Chout and Cuadro Flamenco. Cuadro Flamenco was not performed by dancers from the Ballets Russes but by traditional Spanish dancers." (Library of Congress, "Timeline of Ballets Russes," www.loc.gov).

Chout, written in two versions between 1915 and 1921, was Prokofiev's first completed ballet score for Sergei Diaghilev. Diaghilev had first commissioned Ala and Lolli, but rejected the score submitted by Prokofiev. Although the composer recast some of the music as the Scythian Suite, the projected ballet never saw the light of day. Instead, Diaghilev now asked Prokofiev to write a ballet based on a folk tale recorded by Alexander Afanasyev. The story had been previously suggested to Diaghilev by Igor Stravinsky as a possible subject for a ballet, and Diaghilev and his choreographer Léonide Massine helped Prokofiev to shape this into a ballet scenario. (15012)

Program, unsigned