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Vermont Summer Book Fair 2024
Swann Galleries
Leslie Hindman Auctineers
40th Annual Rocky Mountain Book & Paper Fair
Biblio
PRB&M/SessaBks at The Arsenal
Booksellers’ Gulch
Freeman
Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair
Potter Auctions
Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers

Doings at the Morgan...

The Morgan Library & Museum is pleased to present Crafting the Ballets Russes: The Robert Owen Lehman Collection, on view June 28 through September 22, 2024. The Robert Owen Lehman Collection, which has been on deposit at the Morgan for half a century, is the finest private collection of autograph manuscripts of Western music in the world. Among its many splendid works are deep holdings of early twentieth-century ballet materials, which will be shown together for the first time in this exhibition.

Crafting the Ballets Russes highlights the rise of women in leading creative roles in the creation of these seminal ballets, including the choreographer Bronislava Nijinska and the dancer/producer Ida Rubinstein. Organized around a series of ballets, the exhibition features sketches, drafts, and choreographic notations to show how composers, choreographers, and designers together created works of astonishing originality and lasting influence. On view are over 100 objects including rare music and dance manuscripts, photographs, and costume designs by artists Léon Bakst, Alexandre Benois, and Natalia Goncharova.

The exhibition opens with the dramatic arrival of Serge Diaghilev’s troupe of Russian dancers, the Ballets Russes, in Paris in 1909. Focused on Stravinsky’s prominent ballets Firebird (1910) and Petrouchka (1911), this section establishes the founding of the Ballets Russes with choreographer Michel Fokine, and Diaghilev’s discovery of Igor Stravinsky. With Stravinsky, the Ballets Russes brought music, choreography, and stage design together to the highest level for the first time, elevating the status of the composer. Music became the guiding art within the trinity of music, dance, and design.

The second section of the exhibition explores ballet modernism, primarily through Debussy’s The Afternoon of a Faun (1912) and Stravinsky’s Les Noces (1923). This section highlights the creative partnership between the dancers and choreographers Vaslav Nijinsky and his sister, Bronislava Nijinska. A significant series of Nijinska’s drafts and notes from the Library of Congress are on view, showing how she repurposed classical techniques and developed her own unique and impactful style.

The exhibition closes with Les Ballets de Madame Ida Rubinstein, the company founded in 1928 by Rubinstein, a producer and former star dancer of the Ballets Russes. Her company included other Ballets Russes alumni, among them Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel, Alexandre Benois, and Bronislava Nijinska. Centered around Ravel’s iconic Boléro (1928) and La Valse (1920), the section highlights the significant contributions by women to which these pieces owe their lasting impact. Although Rubinstein produced important stage works and rivaled Diaghilev as a patron of new music, her legacy has been neglected. This section brings her contributions to light, along with the central roles that women, including Nijinska, played in her company.

Additional highlights from Crafting the Ballets Russes: The Robert Owen Lehman Collection include an early working manuscript of Firebird, created while Stravinsky was still relatively unknown. In the draft, one can see the edits that Stravinsky made to follow the choreographer Fokine’s ideas; later, Stravinsky’s music would take the lead. Also on view is an autograph manuscript of Boléro, showing the unfolding mechanical process that underlies the piece, inspired by the factory production lines of the time. “We are pleased to celebrate our centennial year with a presentation from the Robert Owen Lehman Collection, one of our most significant and cherished holdings at the Morgan,” said Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “We are immensely grateful to have the collection on deposit, where it can be shared with scholars, students, and visitors alike. This exhibition, combining music manuscripts with loans relating to choreography and design, brings some of the most pioneering and enduring early twentieth-century classical music to life." For more information call: (212) 590-0311.