Les Ballets Russes Vol. 9

'La Chatte', 'Le train bleu' and 'Les femmes de bonne humeur'

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For 20 years from 1909 to 1929, the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev and his Russian ballet staged one of the 20th century’s most incredible artistic adventures, redefining theatre, music and dance in every performance.

Milhaud’s Le train bleu (1924) was a trendy composition in every respect. The title, referring to the modern luxury express train from Paris to Deauville, was news of the day, with high society travelling down the Côte d’Azur. There, on the beach, the ballet plays out as the fine company takes time for summer sports such as tennis, swimming and golf.

In 1917 Vincenzo Tommasini had delivered his delicate orchestrations of sonatas by Scarlatti to Diaghilev, who was delighted. The ballet was adapted (very successfully) from the Venetian comedy by Carlo Goldoni. Les femmes de bonne humeur led the revival of 18th-century charm and was a great success.

Henri Sauguet’s La Chatte is one of the most important productions of the late Diaghilev era. The libretto was based on an adaptation of a fable by Aesop, while the music hardly conceals its neo-romantic sentiments.

Haenssler CLASSIC’s Ballets Russes series is unrivaled for completeness and includes many works never before recorded. Each booklet includes historic details of the works performance and artwork from the original productions. World-renowned choreographer John Neumeier has overseen the production of the entire series.

Available on CD and MP3 download, 1.14 hrs, 2013.