Picasso on Stage in Moscow

This major retrospective in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London will examine the origins, development and long term influence of the Ballets Russes, to celebrate their first seasons in Europe a hundred years ago. Diaghilev’s extraordinary company, which survived a twenty-year rollercoaster of phenomenal successes and crippling problems, revolutionised ballet. As importantly, Diaghilev’s use of avant-garde composers, such as Stravinsky and designers such as Bakst, Goncharova, Picasso and Matisse, made a major contribution to the introduction of Modernism. Picasso painted a picture of socialist-realist proportions for the Russian Ballet, to introdue the play ‘Le Train Blue’ (the blue train) from Jean Cocteau. The costumes were made by Coco Chanel. Between 1917 and 1962, Picasso was involved in creating the designs for nine ballets including Parade, Pulcinella and L’Apres-midi d’un Faune, incollaboration with such artists as Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Leonide Massine and Vaslav Nijinsky.