Following the Bolshevik Revolution he emigrated to Poland.
The son of feminist and philanthropist Anna Filosofova, Dmitry Filosofov was educated first in the private Karl May School (where he first met Alexandre Benois and Konstantin Somov), then in the Saint Petersburg University, studying law. After a couple of years spent abroad, he started working as a journalist, writing for Severny Vestnik and Obrazovanye. With the inception of Mir Iskusstva magazine, Filosofov became the editor - first of literary, then of literary criticism sections. It was at this time that his close friendship with Dmitry Merezhkovsky and Zinaida Gippius begun; soon he joined them to form "Troyebratstvo", a quasi-religious group which some saw as a domestic sect, claiming to aim at renovating the Christian values along the new, modernist lines.
Along with Merezhkovskys he was one of the initiators and practical organizers of - first the Religious-Philosophical Society, then the Novy Put magazine, which he edited in 1904, the last year of its existence. Years 1906-1908 he spent with Merezhkovskys in Paris; when back in Russia he continued writing, contributing to Slovo and Russkaya Mysl among others.
Sharing Merezhlovskys' hostility towards Bolshevist Russia, in December 1919 he fled the country but refused to follow the couple down to Paris. Instead, along with Boris Savinkov, the notorious terrorist-turned-novelist he struck friendship with, Filosofov chose to stay in Warsaw to begin working on the reformation of the White Army on the territory of Poland. He was a coordinator of Russian Political Committee, one of the leaders of the People's Union for the Defence of Motherland and Freedom, and Józef Piłsudski's counsellor. Choosing to stay in Poland, but visiting Paris occasionally, Filosofov edited numerous Russian immigrant newspapers, including Svoboda (Freedom, 1920–1921), Za Svobodu (1921–1932), Molva (People's Talk, 1932–1934), co-edited Paris-Warsaw magazine Myech (Sword, 1934–1939).
Dmitry Filosofov died in Otwock near Warsaw August 4, 1940 and is buried at the Orthodox Cemetery in Warsaw.
Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev (Sergei Pavlovich Dyagilev, 31 March [O.S. 19 March] 1872 – 19 August 1929), usually referred to outside of Russia as Serge, was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise.
Sergei Diaghilev was born to a wealthy and cultured family in Selischi (Novgorod Governorate), Russia; his father, Pavel Pavlovich, was a cavalry colonel, but the family's money came mainly from vodka distilleries. After the death of Sergei's mother, his father married Elena Valerianovna Panaeva, an artistic young woman who was on very affectionate terms with her stepson and was a strong influence on him. The family lived in Perm but had an apartment in Saint Petersburg and a country estate in Bikbarda (near Perm).
In 1890, Sergei's parents went bankrupt, having for a long time lived beyond their means, and from that time Sergei (who had a small income inherited from his mother) had to support the family. After graduating from Perm gymnasium in 1890, he went to the capital to study law at St. Petersburg University, but ended up also taking classes at the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music, where he studied singing and music (a love of which he had picked up from his stepmother). After graduating in 1892 he abandoned his dreams of composition (his professor, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, told him he had no talent for music). He had already entered an influential circle of artists who called themselves the Mir iskusstva: Alexandre Benois, Walter Nouvel, Konstantin Somov, Dmitry Filosofov, and Léon Bakst. Although not instantly received into the group, Diaghilev was aided by Benois in developing his knowledge of Russian and Western art. In two years, he had voraciously absorbed this new obsession (even travelling abroad to further his studies) and came to be respected as one of the most learned of the group.
From left to right, Sergei Diaghilev, Vaslav Nijinsky and Igor Stravinsky, 1911 Library of Congress
In 1909 Vaslav Nijinsky joined the Ballets Russes, a new ballet company started by Sergei Diaghilev which planned to show Russian ballets in Paris, where such quality productions simply did not exist. The marriage in 1913 of Nijinsky with Romola de Pulszky caused an immediate break with Diaghilev, who dismissed Nijinsky from the company. Nijinsky was interned in Hungary during WWI, finally being allowed to leave after intervention by Diaghilev, who wanted him to perform in an American tour.
©Leo Bakst (1866-1924)/State Russian Museum. Serge Diaghilev and His Nanny, 1906 (©4)
Jean Cocteau & Sergey Diaghilev
With financial backing from Savva Mamontov (the director of the Russian Private Opera Company) and Princess Maria Tenisheva, the group founded the journal Mir iskusstva (World of Art). In 1899, Diaghilev became special assistant to Prince Sergei Mikhaylovich Volkonsky, who had recently taken over directorship of all Imperial theaters. Diaghilev was soon responsible for the production of the Annual of the Imperial Theaters in 1900, and promptly offered assignments to his close friends: Léon Bakst would design costumes for the French play Le Coeur de la Marquise, while Benois was given the opportunity to produce Sergei Taneyev's opera Cupid's Revenge.
In 1900–1901 Volkonsky entrusted Diaghilev with the staging of Léo Delibes' ballet Sylvia, a favorite of Benois. The two collaborators concocted an elaborate production plan that startled the established personnel of the Imperial Theatres. After several increasingly antagonistic differences of opinion, Diaghilev in his demonstrative manner refused to go on editing the "Annual of the Imperial Theatres" and was discharged by Volkonsky in 1901 and left disgraced in the eyes of the nobility. At the same time, some of Diaghilev's researchers hinted at his homosexuality as the main cause for this conflict. However, his homosexuality had been well known long before he was invited into the Imperial Theatres and so it could not be the real reason for his being discharged.
Diaghilev's friends stayed true, following him and helping to put on exhibitions, mounted in the name of Mir iskusstva. In 1905 he mounted a huge exhibition of Russian portrait painting in St Petersburg, having travelled widely through Russia for a year discovering many previously unknown masterpieces of Russian portrait art. In the following year he took a major exhibition of Russian art to the Petit Palais in Paris. It was the beginning of a long involvement with France. In 1907 he presented five concerts of Russian music in Paris, and in 1908 mounted a production of Boris Godunov, starring Feodor Chaliapin, at the Paris Opera.
This led to an invitation to return the following year with ballet as well as opera, and thus to the launching of his famous Ballets Russes. The company included the best young Russian dancers, among them Anna Pavlova, Adolph Bolm, Vaslav Nijinsky, Tamara Karsavina and Vera Karalli, and their first night on 19 May 1909 was a sensation.
During these years Diaghilev's stagings included several compositions by the late Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, such as the operas The Maid of Pskov, May Night, and The Golden Cockerel. His balletic adaptation of the orchestral suite Sheherazade, staged in 1910, drew the ire of the composer's widow, Nadezhda Rimskaya-Korsakova, who protested in open letters to Diaghilev published in the periodical Rech. Diaghilev commissioned ballet music from composers such as Nikolai Tcherepnin (Narcisse et Echo, 1911), Claude Debussy (Jeux, 1913), Maurice Ravel (Daphnis et Chloé, 1912), Erik Satie (Parade, 1917), Manuel de Falla (El Sombrero de Tres Picos, 1917), Richard Strauss (Josephslegende, 1914), Sergei Prokofiev (Ala and Lolly, rejected by Diaghilev and turned into the Scythian Suite; Chout, 1915 revised 1920; Le pas d'acier, 1926; and The Prodigal Son, 1929), Ottorino Respighi (La Boutique fantasque, 1918), Francis Poulenc (Les biches, 1923) and others. His choreographer Michel Fokine often adapted the music for ballet. Diaghilev also worked with dancer and ballet master Léonide Massine.
The artistic director for the Ballets Russes was Léon Bakst. Together they developed a more complicated form of ballet with show-elements intended to appeal to the general public, rather than solely the aristocracy. The exotic appeal of the Ballets Russes had an effect on Fauvist painters and the nascent Art Deco style.
Perhaps Diaghilev's most notable composer-collaborator, however, was Igor Stravinsky. Diaghilev heard Stravinsky's early orchestral works Fireworks and Scherzo fantastique, and was impressed enough to ask Stravinsky to arrange some pieces by Chopin for the Ballets Russes. In 1910, he commissioned his first score from Stravinsky, The Firebird. Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913) followed shortly afterwards, and the two also worked together on Pulcinella (1920) and Les noces (1923).
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Diaghilev stayed abroad. The new Soviet regime, once it became obvious that he could not be lured back, condemned him in perpetuity as an especially insidious example of bourgeois decadence. Soviet art historians wrote him out of the picture for more than 60 years.
Diaghilev staged Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty in London in 1921; it was a production of remarkable magnificence both in settings and costumes but, despite being well received by the public, it was a financial disaster for Diaghilev and Oswald Stoll, the theatre-owner who had backed it. The first cast included the legendary ballerina Olga Spessivtseva and Lubov Egorova in the role of Aurora. Diaghilev insisted on calling the ballet The Sleeping Princess. When asked why, he quipped, "Because I have no beauties!" The later years of the Ballets Russes were often considered too "intellectual", too "stylish" and seldom had the unconditional success of the first few seasons, although younger choreographers like George Balanchine hit their stride with the Ballet Russes.
The end of the 19th century brought a development in the handling of tonality, harmony, rhythm and meter towards more freedom. Until that time, rigid harmonic schemes had forced rhythmic patterns to stay fairly uncomplicated. Around the turn of the century, however, harmonic and metric devices became either more rigid, or much more unpredictable, and each approach had a liberating effect on rhythm, which also affected ballet. Diaghilev was a pioneer in adapting these new musical styles to modern ballet. When Ravel used a 5/4 time in the final part of his ballet Daphnis and Chloe (1912), dancers of the Ballets Russes sang Ser-ge-dia-ghi-lev during rehearsals to keep the correct rhythm.
Members of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes later went on to found ballet traditions in the United States (George Balanchine) and England (Ninette de Valois and Marie Rambert). Ballet master Serge Lifar went on a technical revival at the Paris Opera Ballet, enhanced by Claude Bessy and Rudolf Nureyev in the 1980s. Lifar is credited for saving many Jewish and other minority dancers from the Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
Nijinsky's later bitter comments about Diaghilev inspired a mention in W. H. Auden's poem "September 1, 1939": "The windiest militant trash/ Important Persons shout/ Is not so crude as our wish:/ What mad Nijinsky wrote/ About Diaghilev/ Is true of the normal heart;/ For the error bred in the bone/ Of each woman and each man/ Craves what it cannot have, Not universal love/ But to be loved alone."
Diaghilev was known as a hard, demanding, even frightening taskmaster. Ninette de Valois, no shrinking violet, said she was too afraid to ever look him in the face. George Balanchine said he carried around a cane during rehearsals, and banged it angrily when he was displeased. Other dancers said he would shoot them down with one look, or a cold comment. On the other hand, he was capable of great kindness, and when stranded with his bankrupt company in Spain during the 1914-18 war, gave his last bit of cash to Lydia Sokolova to buy medical care for her daughter. Alicia Markova was very young when she joined the Ballet Russes and would later say that she had called Diaghilev "Sergypops" and he'd said he would take care of her like a daughter.
Diaghilev dismissed Nijinsky summarily from the Ballets Russes after the dancer's marriage in 1913. Nijinsky appeared again with the company, but the old relationship between the men was never re-established; moreover, Nijinsky's magic as a dancer was much diminished by incipient madness. Their last meeting was after Nijinsky's mind had given way, and he appeared not to recognise his former lover. Dancers such as Alicia Markova, Tamara Karsavina, Serge Lifar, and Lydia Sokolova remembered Diaghilev fondly, as a stern but kind father-figure who put the needs of his dancers and company above his own. He lived from paycheck to paycheck to finance his company, and though he spent considerable amounts of money on a splendid collection of rare books at the end of his life, many people noticed that his impeccably cut suits had frayed cuffs and trouser-ends. The film The Red Shoes is a thinly disguised dramatization of the Ballet Russes.
Throughout his life, Diaghilev was severely afraid of dying in water, and avoided traveling by boat. He died of diabetes in Venice on 19 August 1929, and is buried on the nearby island of San Michele.
The Ekstrom Collection of the Diaghilev and Stravinsky Foundation is held by the Department of Theatre and Performance of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Burial: Isola di San Michele, Orthodox section, Venice, Italy.
Vaslav (or Vatslav) Nijinsky (March 12, 1889/1890 – April 8, 1950) was a Russian danseur and choreographer of Polish descent, cited as the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century. He grew to be celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterizations. He could perform en pointe, a rare skill among male dancers at the time and his ability to perform seemingly gravity-defying leaps was legendary. (P: Vaslav Nijinsky at Krasnoe Selo, 1907 (©4))
Nijinsky was introduced to dance by his parents, who were senior dancers with the travelling Setov opera company and his early childhood was spent touring with the company. Aged 9 he joined the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg, the pre-eminent ballet school in the world. In 1907 he graduated and became a member of the Imperial ballet starting at the rank of coryphée instead of in the corps de ballet, already taking starring roles. The choreographer and dancer Bronislava Nijinska was his sister and worked with him much of his career.
In 1909 he joined the Ballets Russes, a new ballet company started by Sergei Diaghilev which planned to show Russian ballets in Paris, where productions of the quality staged by the Imperial ballet simply did not exist. Nijinsky became the company's star male dancer, causing an enormous stir amongst audiences whenever he performed, although in ordinary life he appeared unremarkable and even boring to meet. Diaghilev and Nijinsky became lovers, and although Nijinsky had unparalleled ability, it was the publicity and opportunity provided by Diaghilev's company which made him internationally famous. In 1912 Nijinsky began choreographing his own ballets, including L'après-midi d'un faune (1912), Jeux (1913), and Till Eulenspiegel (1916). At the premier of Le Sacre du Printemps (1913) fights broke out in the audience between those who loved and hated a totally new style of ballet. Faune frequently caused controversy because of its sexually suggestive final scene. Jeux was originally conceived as a flirtatious interaction between three males, although Diaghilev insisted it be danced by one male and two females.
In 1913 Nijinsky married Hungarian Romola de Pulszky while on tour with the company in South America. She had seen the Ballets Russes perform in 1912 and thereafter 'stalked' the company and Nijinsky. Nonetheless, no one was more surprised than she was when Nijinsky asked her to marry him, in broken French since neither was fluent in the same language. The marriage caused an immediate break with Diaghilev, who dismissed Nijinsky from the company. With no alternative employer available, he attempted to form his own company but this was not a success. He was interned in Hungary during World War I under house arrest until 1916, finally being allowed to leave after intervention by Diaghilev, who wanted him to perform in an American tour, and supported by calls for his release from many powerful world figures.
Nijinsky became increasingly mentally unstable with the stresses of having to manage tours himself and deprived of opportunities to dance, which had always been his total obsession. After a tour of South America in 1917, and due to travel difficulties imposed by the war, the family settled in Switzerland, where his mental condition continued to deteriorate. The rest of his life was spent suffering from mental illness which incapacitated him beyond the ability to dance again in public.
Nijinsky's daughter Kyra married the Ukrainian conductor Igor Markevitch, and they had a son named Vaslav. The marriage ended in divorce.
Nijinsky's Diary was written during the six weeks he spent in Switzerland before being committed to the asylum, combining elements of autobiography with appeals for compassion toward the less fortunate, and for vegetarianism and animal rights. Nijinsky writes of the importance of feeling, as opposed to reliance on reason and logic alone, and he denounces the practice of art criticism as being nothing more than a way for those who practice it to indulge their own egos rather than focusing on what the artist was trying to say. The diary also contains bitter and conflicted thoughts regarding his relationship with Diaghilev.
As a dancer, Nijinsky was extraordinary for his time. He is responsible for changing audiences' perspective of the male dancer. He was a sensual performer and although he wore revealing costumes, he looked androgynous.
Nijinsky is immortalized in numerous still photographs, many of which were made by E.O. Hoppé, who extensively photographed the Ballets Russes London seasons between 1909 and 1921. However, no film exists of Nijinsky dancing; Diaghilev never allowed the Ballets Russes to be filmed because he felt that the quality of film at the time could never capture the artistry of his dancers, and that the reputation of the company would suffer if people saw it in only short jerky films.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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