Diaghilev, Serge (Pavlovich)

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Diaghilev, Serge (Pavlovich) [ Dyagilev, Sergey] (b Selistchev, Novgorod, 1872; d Venice, 1929). Russ. impresario. Art. adviser to Mariinsky Theatre 1899–1901. In 1908 organized Paris concerts of Russ. mus. and prod. Boris Godunov with Chaliapin. In 1909 he was invited to present a season of Russ. opera and ballet in Paris, scoring a major triumph with the ballet, for which he engaged the dancer Nijinsky, choreog. Fokine, and the painters Bakst and Benois. From this season the sensational Ballets Russes developed, transforming the ballet world. Diaghilev directed the co. until his death, surviving financial crises and personal quarrels which threatened to tear it apart. Over the years he called on an astonishing range of talents, not only among dancers (Nijinsky, Karsavina, Massine, Sokolova, Dolin, etc.) but choreographers (Fokine, Nijinsky, Massine, Nijinskaya, Balanchine), designers (Bakst, Benois, Matisse, Picasso, Utrillo, Derain) and composers (scores commissioned from Ravel, Stravinsky, Falla, Debussy, Prokofiev, Milhaud, Satie, Strauss, Poulenc, Auric, Lambert, and Berners). See Ballet.