Fine example of the special issue of the Comoedia Illustré dedicated to the second Russian season in Paris performed at the beautiful Grand Opéra.
The 1910 programme featured newly created pieces, such as Giselle, Les Orientales and Le Carnaval, and previously staged ballets like Le Festin, Les Sylphides and Cléopâtre. The star of the season was young Stravinsky’s Firebird, which was first performed on 25 June 1910 and became an instant success with both audience and critics. Another piece produced specially for the second season was Schéhérazade. Described by Alexander Benois as ‘a wonderful spectacle to which I can hardly find a parallel’, it was the first true creation of the Ballet Russes, because, except for the opera Prince Igor, all the other ballets in Diaghilev’s first Paris season were new versions of already existing works. For financial reasons Diaghilev could not include any opera in his 1910 season,
The cover of the 1910 issue features the famous colour photograph of Nijinsky and Karsavina in the ballet Les Sylphides. A four-page article titled La saison russe à l’Opéra presents the pieces scheduled for the season and shows pictures of some of the most famous Russian dancers – such as Fokina and Nijinsky – in their beautiful costumes designed by Leon Bakst.
Comoedia Illustré was a bimonthly artistic magazine published from 1908 to 1936 as a supplement to Comoedia. The latter was a French cultural periodical founded by Henri Desgrange, a French cyclist and sports journalist, who gained fame as the first organiser of the Tour de France.
Comoedia Illustré played a crucial role in popularising Russian ballet and making the programmes of Russian seasons available to a French public hungry for Russian exotics.
Folio (31.8 x 24.5 cm).  pp., illustrated throughout. Original colour printed wrappers.
Boris Kochno, Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes (Harper & Row, NY, 1970); The Russian Season in Paris : Sketches of the Scenery and Costumes 1908 – 1929 (Isskustvo Art Publishers, Moscow, 1988); Alexander Schouvaloff, The Art of Ballets Russes (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1997).
Stock ID: 91025