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15.8.04

History of Ballet Staging

A now-archived article (Les fastes du ballet au XXe siècle, August 5) by René Sirvin for Le Figaro examined an interesting exhibit at the Musée Yves Brayer, in the southern French town of Les Baux de Provence (my translation):

On the initiative of the very dynamic octogenarian Hermione Brayer, widow of the famous painter and vigilant guardian of the Musée Yves Brayer in Les Baux de Provence, a magnificent exhibit of about sixty models for costumes and sets, loaned by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Bibliothèque du Musée de l'Opéra), is a tribute to the innovative taste of one of the great directors and patrons of the Opéra de Paris (from 1910 to 1945): Jacques Rouché, who several times invited Serge Diaghilev and his Ballets russes to the Palais Garnier.
The list of works on display is tantalizing indeed: Valentine Hugo's sketches in deep blue for a production of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande; Alexandre Benois's two models for Le Coq d'Or (1927); Paul Colin's Cubist costumes symbolizing musical instruments for Serge Lifar's first avant-garde ballet, L'Orchestre en Liberté (1931); Maxime Dethomas's set design for the "forgotten ballet" Les Abeilles (1917), featuring a stunning beehive with thousands of golden cells; Yves Brayer's designs for Lifar's Juan de Zarissa (1942); the original painting that inspired Utrillo for his thrilling sets for Louise at the Opéra-Comique in 1950. Les Magiciens de la Scène: Opéra et Opéra Comique de Paris, 1917–1950 will be open to the public until October 17, but I haven't been able to find many pictures.

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