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betsuni

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Anniversary of the first performance of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring." Paris, May 29, 1913.



"The theatre seemed to be shaken by an earthquake. It seemed to shudder. People shouted insults, howled and whistled, drowning the music. There was clapping and even punching. Words are inadequate to describe such a scene. Calm was briefly restored when the order was suddenly given to put up the house lights. It amused me to see how certain boxes, whose occupants had been so noisy and vindictive in the dark quietened down when the lights went on. ... I saw Maurice Delage (the composer), beetroot-red with indignation, little Maurice Ravel truculent as a fighting-cock ... Diaghilev had ordained a pause between the two scenes, during this the lights were turned up and police were called in to eject the most violent demonstrators, but no sooner had the curtain risen on the trembling group of girls in Part II, with their in-pointed toes, their bent knees and their right fists supporting their sideways-bent heads, than a voice called out, 'Un docteur!', then another, 'Un dentiste!', followed by a third with 'Deux dentistes!' A lady slapped the face of a man in a neighboring box, gentlemen challenged each other to duels, Comtesse Rene de Portals declared that she was sixty years old and that nobody had dared to try to make a fool of her before."

Stravinsky: "After the performance we were excited, angry, disgusted, and ... happy. I went with Diaghilev and Nijinsky to a restaurant. So far from weeping and reciting Pushkin in the Bois de Boulonge as the legend is (spread by Cocteau), Diaghilev's only comment was: 'Exactly what I wanted.' He certainly looked contented. No one could have been quicker to understand the publicity value and he immediately understood the good thing that had happened in that respect. Quite probably he had already thought about the possibility of such a scandal when I first played him the score, months before, in the east room of the Grand Hotel in Venice."

From Richard Buckle's "Diaghilev"

Hilarious: A Moderate Democrat Confesses His Sins (Seth Meyers)


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