excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 3-8 June 1913' pp. 428-429 (296 words)

excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 3-8 June 1913' pp. 428-429 (296 words)

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Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 3-8 June 1913

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The same evening Nikolay Vasilievich [Andreyev] presented us with two seats for Khovanshchina at the Théâtre Astruc. The Diaghilev Company's productions of the Russian repertoire were having a colossal success: Chaliapin's name was on everyone's lips, the Russian chorus was everywhere admired, the Russian ballet outdid the French in refined perfection, and the operatic subjects from the era of Ivan the Terrible were stunning in their representation of the life of those times.

Our visit to the theatre was of absorbing interest. Apart from anything else I was interested by the external aspects of Parisian chic: one is not admitted to the stalls except in full evening dress; during the interval the men wear top hats. I did not have onem so Nikolay Vasilievich lent me his; tomorrow I shall have to buy a claque. I was much taken with this notion, as this fashionable headgear is not much worn in Russia and it had not occurred to me that I might have to wear one. The theatre audience was a great source of fascination, the women all in the latest Paris modes, and not least the theatre itself, which had only recently been completed. It was most elegant, finished in salmon and gold with grey marble, the women dressed in the height of fashion and their escorts in tail coats and top hats. The effect Chaliapin makes is tremendous: I consider him a performer of genius and an interpreter of incontestable authority. All the singers were excellent, Andreyev very good in his minor role. In a word, the performance was quite glorious, and even impressed Mama, who is always extremely hard to please. The only weakness was the conclusion of the opera, but that is a matter for the conscience of Rimsky-Korsakov and Musorgsky.

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