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Leon Bakst’s Grand Finale: The Ballets Russes’ Sleeping Princess Production of 1921

An online lecture by Anna Winestein

Leon Bakst is unquestionably the iconic scenographer of the Ballets Russes, having designed more productions than anyone else, and contributed critically to the company’s early success and enduring legacy. His last production for Sergei Diaghilev, the 1921 London staging of Petipa’s 1890 classic ballet, was both the grandest (described as ‘outsplendouring splendour’) and the most catastrophic (a ‘gorgeous calamity’ that plunged the company into crippling debt and ruined the designer’s relationship with the impresario). This talk tells the story of a remarkable theatrical endeavor whose legacy continues to be re-evaluated to this day.

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.

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Connecting With Zoom

This virtual lecture is presented live via Zoom. Registered users will be emailed a link to join this Zoom program. To get started, please download Zoom on your chosen device and explore the Frequently Asked Questions.

This program will be recorded.

Exhibition at MWPAI

This program was inspired by an upcoming exhibition at our neighbor museum, the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper will feature paper historic costumes meticulously recreated in paper, including pieces inspired by Leon Bakst and the Ballets Russes. The exhibition is on view from October 17, 2021 to January 9, 2022.


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