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This is a fascinating article about the premiere of the Ballet Russes production in 1913 Paris of Igor Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring'. Although we think of spring as welcoming in the gentle beginnings of summer - all blossoms and baby birds, Stravinsky's inspiration was the violent Russian spring that seemed to "begin in an hour and was like the whole Earth cracking." A Viennese orchestra had already reacted in horror to the piece, rehearsing reluctantly and often in outright rebellion. Still, impressario Serge Pavolovich Diaghilev welcomed the controversial piece. He had already changed ballet - previously considered an art form to show off the female form - by creating the first male ballet star in Nijinsky. Now, he was to unleash a modern ballet, unlike no other ever seen and breaking every rule. On the opening night, in Paris, Diaghilev instructed the dancers to keep going, the orchestra to keep playing, "even if the audience starting 'acting up'". Within moments the audience were whistling and hissing, the evening soon descended into a free for all. Although this is a short piece, it is a brilliant account of that momentous evening and it's aftermath.
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