The Fokine Era


Léon Bakst (1866-1924). Le Carnaval, Scene design, ca. 1910. Watercolor and charcoal. Pauline Billings Taylor Collection. Gift, 1980.

Le Carnaval

Le Carnaval was one of the great successes of the early years of the Ballets Russes. It was first presented in Berlin in May 1910, the only one of Diaghilev’s ballets to have had its premiere in Germany. The principal dancers were Vaslav Nijinsky as Harlequin and Tamara Karsavina as Colombine. Its score consisted of music of Schumann, orchestrated by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

This scene design is of particular interest in that it was not made for Diaghilev’s production but for the original version of the ballet as first produced in St. Petersburg in 1910, for a single charity performance at Pavlov Hall, which was sponsored by the journal Satyricon.