Our Notes & References
A two-page letter, beautifully signed, where Diaghilev is chasing a significant amount of money due by the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
38,524 francs is the amount Diaghilev is expecting following a charity gala, where his Ballets Russes performed “absolutely outside the usual cycle of [our] performances given in your theatre”. He emphasizes the fact that both accounts, for the gala and for the regular performances, are “absolutely different [and] can’t be mixed up”.
The theatre mentioned is the celebrated Théâtre des Champs Elysées, where Diaghilev produced his most famous ballets before the World War in the 1910s. The gifted Jacques Hébertot became its director in 1920 (at the age of 34, 14 years younger than Diaghilev), and developed there the Ballets Suédois, a new competition for the Russians. It is however during this gala event on June 20, 1924, that the Ballets Russes created “Le Train Bleu”, by Jean Cocteau and Darius Milhaud, with a choregraphy by Nijinski.
Diaghilev’s polite but clear insistence makes of this letter a fine witness of his financial difficulties and efforts to capitalise on the popularity of the Ballets Russes.
Diaghilev’s signatures are scarcely found.