London’s Coliseum satisfies a Sergei in demand with 2011 Diaghilev festival: Les Saisons Russes du XXI Siecle

Billed as “Les Saisons Russes du XXI Siecle” (Russian Seasons of the 21st Century), this new festival at the London Coliseum, due to take place from 12th to 17th April, continues the capital’s trend of productions paying homage to the founder of the Ballet Russes, impresario Sergei Diaghilev.

The innovative director’s works and visions have recently been played out at the Rosemary Branch Theatre (“Ballet Russes – The Musical”) and Sadler’s Wells (“In the Spirit of Diaghilev”), but this series of performances has specific work commissioned by the man himself during his tenure as the Ballet Russes curator, many of which have gone on to be major influences in the art of dance, not just ballet.

The short season will feature three programmes, each of which contains at least two works and with each programme being presented for two nights only. Some of the biggest names in Russian ballet will be appearing (e.g. Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Ilze Liepa, Maria Alexandrova) during the six day season, with ticket prices starting from just £10 for balcony seats.

Programme 1 (12th and 13th April) will include Scriabin’s “The Blue God” making its UK debut and Stravinsky’s powerful folk-tale, “Firebird”, Programme 2 (14th and 15th April) will feature Balakirev’s symphonic “Thamar” (inspired by the Russian poet Lermontov) and Rimsky-Korsakov’s familiar take on the Arabian Nights tales, “Scheherazade” and finally, Programme 3 (16th and 17th April) is set to feature a trio of Diaghilev favourites including Tcherepnin’s “Le Pavillion d’Armide”, Debussy’s sensual “L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune” and the very familiar and sensational Ravel piece, “Bolero”.

Paul Pledger

allgigs.co.uk