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René Blum and the Ballets RussesIn Search of a Lost Life$
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Judith Chazin-Bennahum

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195399332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195399332.001.0001

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René Blum and the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo (1924–1931)

René Blum and the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo (1924–1931)

(p.72) Chapter 5 René Blum and the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo (1924–1931)
René Blum and the Ballets Russes

Judith Chazin-Bennahum

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys Blum’s progress as an innovator in programming for Monte Carlo’s chic and audacious audiences. He especially favored high comedy, almost always with music, and evenings of film with orchestra as entertainment. The chapter reviews the many productions that Blum brought to the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo, including operettas, serious drama, and touring dance companies. Beginning with a brief look at the history and ambience of Monte Carlo, the chapter examines Blum’s friendship with Serge Diaghilev when the Ballets Russes came to Monte Carlo. It tells of the deep respect with which playwrights regarded Blum, as he produced, from 1924 to 1935, some 140 divergent and often challenging plays, including those by Pirandello, Coolus, Dumas, Bernstein, Hoffmanstal, and Tristan Bernard, with 40 new works in English, several by George Bernard Shaw. The chapter cites the choreographers whom Blum promoted, such as the Sakaroffs, Loie Fuller, Ida Rubenstein, and Boris Kniaseff. He also helped to organize an international exposition that brought the decorative arts to Paris from all over world. The chapter looks at Blum’s hiring of the Paris Opéra ballet company for a season, and recounts the way in which Blum brought back the Ballets Russes to Monte Carlo after Serge Diaghilev’s death, hiring many of its dancers and the ballet master Serge Grigoriev, and his partnership with Colonel de Basil.

Keywords:   Monte Carlo, Theatre director, film, comedy, operetta, proponent of Shaw, Diaghilev, Loie Fuller, modernist dancers, Serge Grigoriev, Colonel de Basil

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