Prima Ballerinas


Adolf Bolm and Tamara Karsavina in the ballet Thamar. Photographer unknown, undated. Marchioness Constance Gladys of Ripon Scrapbooks. pf MS Thr 449 (B16v). Gift of Frederick R. Koch, 1984.


Thamar, though not so great a success as La Tragédie de Salomé, Schéhérazade, or Cléopâtre, was one of the strikingly sensual productions for which Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes was to become so well known. Tamara Karsavina, who was a paragon of technical perfection and classical decorum, also surprisingly excelled in dramatic and passionate roles. As the title character in this ballet, she portrays a cruel queen who seduces and then murders those who wander to her secluded castle.