Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Diaghilev: A Life” as Want to Read:
Diaghilev: A Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Diaghilev: A Life

by
4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  128 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Featuring an eight-page gallery of full-color illustrations, here is a major new biography of Serge Diaghilev, founder and impresario of the Ballets Russes, who revolutionized ballet by bringing together composers such as Stravinsky and Prokofiev, dancers and choreographers such as Nijinsky and Karsavina, Fokine and Balanchine, and artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Bakst, ...more
Hardcover, 552 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published December 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Diaghilev, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Diaghilev

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Joanne
Feb 09, 2012 Joanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first came across the Ballet Russes when reading Bloomsbury Ballerina by Judith Mackrell, a biography of the dancer Lydia Lopkova. I know nothing about ballet, but was captivated by the world described in the book. So when I saw this biography of the founder of the Ballet Russes I jumped at the chance to extend my knowledge.

Sergei Diaghilev was a man of immense talent and vision and energy. He lived life at breakneck speed, he lived for art and music and beauty. He loved and feuded with equal
...more
Carol
Oct 05, 2010 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was bothered by the fact that the writing in this book was stilted and stuffy, until I realized that it was in translation. And, in actuality, the kind of circles that Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev ran in were, in many respects, nineteenth century creations. I was expecting bold splashes of modernism from a story of the man who brought the world Le Sacre du Printemps, but really, Diaghilev was an artistic gambler who tried to cause sensations and make money, not a committed modernist. Tol ...more
Billis
Jan 01, 2016 Billis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and deeply fielded, wonderful insight on the world of Ballet Russes.
Andrew Roth
Jun 06, 2017 Andrew Roth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic detail about Diaghilev's early life and a fine sense of place in the cultural milieu in which he grew up. For me, the real payoff in this book comes in the first half, with the descriptions of his artistic circle, the gay cosmopolitan life of St. Petersburg and Europe in the early 20th century, up until Rite of Spring in 1913. It turns into something of a laundry list after that, and the last 150 pages were a slog.
Julia Astakhova
Jun 21, 2015 Julia Astakhova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Эта книга - огромный труд по выискиванию деталей жизни автора “русских сезонов”, постановки балетов и опер, переписки и сопоставлению фактов из разных источников. Очень любопытно, что этим занялся голландский искусствовед, я ему чрезвычайно благодарна, так как книга вышла изумительная, не только по содержанию, но и по оформлению. Еще только получив ее, я с благоговением листала красивейшие иллюстрации. Это и фотографии Дягилева и приближенных к нему людей, актеров, декораций, эскизов, примеры тв ...more
Siobhan Burns
Really more a three and a half rating -- I love the radical artists and artistes of the early 20th century, somehow tossing aside the fussiness of the 19th century and creating an international Modernism through sheer will and vision. I wanted this book to be more dynamic and exciting, and to do a better job showing Diaghilev's extraordinary interest. On a more minor note, I do think any account of Diaghilev that doesn't even mention The Red Shoes (inspired by Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes) i ...more
Asya
Tedious but informative. This was my complaint with the Colette biography - poor editing. Some details are simply not worth telling. Exhaustiveness is not the main criterion of a good bio. And my other complaint - where is the history in this? War, revolution, social unrest, all are so dimly in the background it's hard to know if this is representative of Diaghilev's purview of the author's. In short, a disappointment, but not without its pedagogical merits.
Ton
Sep 09, 2014 Ton rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Vond het niet zo interessant boek. Ik had het wellicht leuker gevonden als het wat boeiender was geschreven.
G.
May 07, 2013 G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating man. Book is well researched and flows well for. Translation.
Anna
Sep 22, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meesterlijke, goed gedocumenteerde biografie over de legendarische oprichter van Ballets Russes (waarin o.a. Vaslav Nijinsky danste) in 1909. Brijant geschreven; wel erg dikke pil!
Ruth
Dec 16, 2010 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned so much! Diaghilev led a fascinating life, and this biography captures the emotional highs and lows very well.
Lorelei
Lorelei rated it it was amazing
Dec 02, 2016
Matthew Mills
Matthew Mills rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2016
Froukje Pitstra
Froukje Pitstra rated it it was amazing
Sep 27, 2013
Nola
Nola rated it really liked it
Mar 14, 2015
Natalia
Natalia rated it it was amazing
Jun 12, 2012
Jeff Carpenter
Jeff Carpenter rated it it was amazing
Dec 20, 2015
Ingrid Ligthart
Ingrid Ligthart rated it it was amazing
Sep 12, 2012
Ekaterina Okuneva
Ekaterina Okuneva rated it it was amazing
Nov 19, 2016
Jessica
Jessica rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2012
Mariana Kramer
Mariana Kramer rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2013
Thomas
Thomas rated it really liked it
Apr 24, 2012
Nanny Schrijvers
Nanny Schrijvers rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2014
Mickey Anthony
Mickey Anthony rated it really liked it
Dec 05, 2016
Olga Golubeva
Olga Golubeva rated it it was amazing
Apr 08, 2013
A.E.
A.E. rated it liked it
Nov 01, 2013
Jose
Jose rated it it was amazing
Apr 01, 2013
SAltena
SAltena rated it it was amazing
Apr 15, 2016
Patty
Patty rated it it was ok
Dec 07, 2014
Anya Pak
Anya Pak rated it it was amazing
Nov 19, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Lina and Serge: The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev
  • Mozart: A Life in Letters
  • Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary Relationship Between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator
  • The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky
  • Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett
  • A Boneca De Kokoschka
  • Testimony: The Memoirs
  • Bernhard: een verborgen geschiedenis
  • Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream
  • Orpheus: The Song of Life
  • Praeterita: The Autobiography Of John Ruskin
  • Turner
  • Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music
  • Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime
  • Leningrad: Siege and Symphony: The Story of the Great City Terrorized by Stalin, Starved by Hitler, Immortalized by Shostakovich
  • Take Care of Yourself
  • Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist
  • Conversations with Beethoven (NYRB Classics)

Share This Book