On October 9th, cultural historian Anna Winestein led us on an exploration of the “gorgeous calamity” that was Bakst’s last production for the Ballets Russes. “Leon Bakst’s Grand Finale: The Ballets Russes’ Sleeping Princess Production of 1921″ was presented as a part of the Russian History Museum’s Second Saturday lecture series.

Throughout the lecture, Winestein described and analyzed the moving parts and pieces within Leon Bakst’s last production for Sergei Diaghilev. While some viewed this 1921 London staging of Petipa’s 1890 classic ballet as outstanding, others saw the staging as a colossal failure. Winestein’s presentation considered the costuming from many Ballets Russes productions as it outlined the arc of not only the Bakst/Diaghilev production, but also impacts on the members of the troupe’s community, imperial Russian emigre experience, and other settings guided by the sumptuous art of Bakst.

This dazzling display of costumes, setting, and figures concluded with a live question and answer session.

About the Speaker

Anna Winestein is a cultural historian, arts entrepreneur, curator and artist, born in St. Petersburg, Russia and educated in Boston, MA and Oxford, UK. She holds separate undergraduate degrees in Art History and Painting, and graduate degrees in Economics and Modern History. At Oxford, she wrote her dissertation about institutions and social networks among Russian artists in Paris 1870-1917. Ms. Winestein is the co-founder and Executive Director of Ballets Russes Arts Initiative, a Boston-based arts non-profit that connects the US with Eastern Europe through the visual and performing arts, presenting exhibitions, concerts, film screening series, dance and theater performances and more since 2009. In her wide-ranging career, she has previously served as Creative Director of the Hermitage Museum Foundation and Cultural Envoy for the State Department, as well as advising museums, collectors, auction houses and art galleries. She has authored or contributed to numerous books, exhibition catalogues, essays and articles across varied topics in the art and performance history of the Russian and Soviet empires and their contacts with Europe and the US. She is an Associate of the Davis Center at Harvard University.