Famous painter Marc Chagall grew up in Vitebsk, Russia and like most children, he wanted to be many things; a singer, dancer, violinist and poet. Reflected in his work, he often included musicians and performers in his paintings. The set and costume designs from four theateical productions, Aleko, The Firebird, Saphnis and Chloé and the Magic Flute are the subject of the exhibition “Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Hurry, there are only a few weeks left to get tickets.
In her article for the Los Angeles Times, Liesl Bradner writes that " ... after fleeing Nazi-occupied France with his family, Chagall received a commission from the Ballet Theatre of New York (now American Ballet Theatre) to create the scenery and costumes for Aleko", which is based on a 1824 poem by Alexander Pushkin. The ballet premiered in Mexico City in the 1943. Marc actually hand-painted on the fabric for the costumes for Aleko, which mixed traditional Mexicans styles with Russian folklore.
However, for the 1945 production of Stravinksy's opera The Firebird, Chall used more experimental and avant-garde designs and included heavy and richly coloured fabrics and intricate embroiderings. If you can make it to the exhibition, you'll be delighted by 145 objects; inlcuding 41 costumes, more than 100 sketches, reproductions of original backdrops and projections, and a rare piece of 1942 footage of the ballet Aleko. The exhibition was designed by Yuval Sharon and Jason H. Thompson.
Detail of Marc Chagall's A Fantasy of St. Petersburg. Study for backdrop for Scene IV of the ballet "Aleko" from 1942 (The Museum of Modern Art); I can only imagine the impact of this amazing painted backdrop on the performers and audiences, alike.
Professionals in the worlds of art, music, and costume design reflect on Chagall's designs for the ballet and opera. Featuring costume designer Albert Wolsky, costume historian Bobi Garland, visual artist Frances Stark, opera director and Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage exhibition designer Yuval Sharon, LACMA installation specialist Melinda Kerstein, and LACMA curators of Costume & Textiles Clarissa Esguerra and Kaye Spilker. Enjoy the video ...