Diaghilev: and his Friends
by Joy Melville
Haus Publishing (London). 290 pages, £20.
THIS YEAR, the centennial of the founding of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, balletomanes have been treated to superb museum and art exhibits, film retrospectives, ballets, and panel discussions. Now comes a new biography of Diaghilev by a British journalist who has written extensively about British theatrical and cultural figures. This is a gorgeously illustrated book, with images in both black-and-white and full color, printed on high-quality paper. Included are numerous portraits of Diaghilev; photographs of friends, family, artists, nobility, and philanthropists; contemporary caricatures; drawings of Leon Bakst’s costumes (including his design for Nijinsky in the Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, the ballet that scandalized audiences); photos of Igor Stravinsky (who composed the music for The Firebird and Le Sacre du Printemps) and other famous dancers, both male and female.