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MS Thr 508

Lifar, Serge, 1905-1986. Serge Lifar letters to Serge Diaghilev, 1924-1929: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Thr 508
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Lifar, Serge, 1905-1986.
Title: Serge Lifar letters to Serge Diaghilev,
Date(s): 1924-1929.
Quantity: 1 collection (.3 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in Russian.
Abstract: Letters from Serge Lifar to Serge Diaghilev describing Lifar's dance lessons, his impressions of rehearsals of ballets and musical concerts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2007MT-61r. Purchased from Sotheby's (Firm), London, with the Parmenia Migel Ekstrom Memorial Fund; received: 2002 December.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Irina Klyagin

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Serge Lifar Letters to Serge Diaghilev, 1924-1929 (MS Thr 508). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

For related material see Serge Lifar Letters to Serge Diaghilev, 1942-1928, Dance Division. New York Public Library.

Biographical / Historical

Serge Lifar joined Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1923 where he quickly became Diaghilev's protégé. After taking classes with the famous ballet teacher Enrico Cecchetti arranged for him by Diaghilev, Lifar became leading dancer of Ballets Russes. After Diaghilev's death in 1929, Lifar joined Paris Opera as premier danseur and ballet master.


Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents

5 letters from Serge Lifar to Serge Diaghilev, including: a draft of letter about his lessons with Enrico Cechhetti in Turin (Italy) in 1924; letters from Milan (Italy) describing Lifar's impressions of rehearsals of Richard Strauss's La Legende de Joseph (possibly at Teatro alla Scala) and Arturo Toscanini's conducting concerts at Scala, and informing Diaghilev of the arrival of a book parcel from the Soviet Russia; and postcard from Ostend (Belgium) from 1929 where Lifar was on vacation.
In later years, Lifar made some corrections to the letters, crossing over words in the address lines and adding Diaghilev's initials instead, and stamping all letters with his personal ink stamp.

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