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Joy Melville: Diaghilev and Friends

Joy Melville: Diaghilev and Friends

UK 2009, 290 pp., hardbound, € 29.95
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At the beginning of the 20th century Sergei Diaghilev stormed Paris with an operatic production that sounded the trumpets of the coming of the Russian artistic avantgarde. Not much later he created the magical and now legendary »Ballets Russes«. In Paris and London Diaghilev drew together a talented group of like-minded artists such as Picasso, Bakst and Fokine, the dancers Nijinsky, Lifar and Karsavina, and the composers Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev. The Bloomsbury group, the Sitwells, John Gielgud and H.G. Wells were all captivated by the force of his personality. The biographer explores Diaghilev's tempestuous and destructive affair with his protégé Vaclav Nijinsky, who descended into schizophrenia, his friendship with Jean Cocteau, and his circle up until Serge Lifar's heartbroken leap into Diaghilev's grave. Diaghilev lived his life by his own rules.
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