Saturday, December 05, 2009

Defining an impresario

1. “First, I'm a charlatan, although one with flair; second, I'm a great charmer; third, I've great nerve; fourth, I am a man with a great deal of logic and few principles...” -- Sergey Diaghilev

2. “In the theatre, there is a distinction to be made between an impresario and a producer. Sergey Diaghilev was both. He produced the work--that is to say, he raised the money, hired the artists and the craftsmen and ensured that the show opened on time--and he did all this superbly. But what has made him legendary is that he also created the conditions in which the work was initiated, he prepared the public for it, and he made sure that when it was done, it was the cynosure of the artistic world. This is the work of the impresario, who must be part huckster, part rallier of the troops, part goad and tormentor of his artists, part keeper of their artistic conscience, part networker. He needs to be absolutely in tune with the public and always ahead of it, and to create a perpetual excitement around the work. He must be a huge personality, but he is never the creator of the work itself.

“It seems an impossible job description, but Diaghilev was all of these things and more...”
-- Simon Callow in The Guardian

PLUS: Bolshoi Ballet celebrates the 100th anniversary of Diaghilev's legendary Ballets Russes--

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