Theatre Costume thumbnail 1
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Theatre Costume

1916 (made)

Costume designed by Natalia Goncharova and worn by Lubov Tchernicheva as the Sea Princess in Sadko, at the London Coliseum in 1918. It is likely the original costume which would have been first worn by the English dancer, Doris Faithful who created the role of the Sea Princess which she performed in the USA.
The underwater ballet derives from scene 6 from the opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov which was staged in a new version by Adolf Bolm as a particularly Russian work for the second tour of the USA by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. It was previewed at the Teatro Victoria Eugenia in San Sebastián, Spain, on 19 August 1916.
The 1916 production of Sadko was the second by the Ballets Russes (in June 1911 Sadko:In the Underwater Kingdom with vocalists and dance had been staged at the Théâtre du Châtelet by the Ballets Russes for four performances). The 1916 Sadko reused the set by Boris Anisfeld. The scene presented in both productions is that in which Sadko charmed the Sea Princess so she lured him to her father's underwater kingdom. There his music played on the gusli (a Russian harp) caused all the sea creatures to dance. Eventually Sadko broke the strings of his gusli to escape to the real world taking his sea-bride with him.
After three performances in Spain, Sadko featured in the opening performance at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York on 16 October 1916 although it only appears to have had 5 performances on the tour. In New York the ballet was photographed by White. Sadko was revived during the 1918-19 season at the London Coliseum where it was favourably reviewed. The Observer 3 November 1918 described how when Sadko played the 'finny Court had to dance to it. How oddly, how madly, how waterily, they jigged! There was the great Sea-King himself, with his huge green beard and his splendid robes and crown, bobbing it up and down and round and round. And there were all the watery people flopping it and twirling it and flapping it to the mad music of the harper. And the colours as they danced were just as sheeny and strange and under-watery and lovely as could be. It is a fascinating little ballet, at once comical and exquisite.' It had 15 performances at the London Coliseum where it received its final performance on 12 February 1919.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Theatre Costume
  • Dance Costume
  • Dance Costume
  • Theatre Costume
  • Theatre Costume
  • Theatre Costume
  • Dance Costume
  • Jacket
  • Theatre Costume
  • Dance Costume
  • Headdress
Materials and techniques
Silk satin, gold and silver metal braid and ribbon, metal wire, raffia plaits
Brief description
Three part costume designed by Natalia Goncharov for the Sea Princess in Adolf Bolm's ballet Sadko created for Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes 1916.





Jacket for the Sea Princess in Bolm's ballet Sadko designed by Natalia Goncharova, Diaghilev Ballet 1916. Loose jacket with wide trumpet sleeves in honey-coloured satin applique with silver stylized. The sleeves are edged with orange silk applique with silver and scarlet 'flowers'.



Headdress for the Sea Princess in Bolm's ballet Sadko designed by Natalia Goncharova, Diaghilev Ballet 1916. Very high stylised 'crown' with stiffened scalloped points of silver tissue trimmed with gold braid, from which hang two long raffia plaits.
Physical description
Three parts of a c ostume designed by Natalia Goncharova for the Sea Princess in Adolf Bolm's ballet Sadko for Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes 1916.



Primrose yellow satin tunic falling to a back point, with long sleeves. The yellow bodice is set with silver sequin crescents suggesting waves and a silver star on a white satin yoke. A row of magenta-painted metal studs separate the white yoke from yellow bodice. The orange silk 'skirt' is set with large silver ellipses each with a stylized scarlet silk leaf.



Loose jacket with wide trumpet sleeves in honey-coloured satin applique with silver stylized flowers. The sleeves are edged with orange silk applique with silver and scarlet stylised flowers.



Headdress consisting of a very high stylised 'crown' Kokoshnik with stiffened scalloped points of silver tissue trimmed with gold braid, from which hang two long raffia plaits.



The costume is missing its trousers with silver sequin crescents suggesting waves which taper to the ankles and are in the collection of the Dance Museum, Stockholm and kitten-heeled shoes with up-turned toes.







Dimensions
  • Height: 185cm (This is a 'footprint' measurement for the whole costume when mounted, taken from the 2010 V&A Diaghilev Ballets Russes exhibition records.)
  • Width: 80cm (This is a 'footprint' measurement for the whole costume when mounted, taken from the 2010 V&A Diaghilev Ballets Russes exhibition records.)
  • Depth: 60cm (This is a 'footprint' measurement for the whole costume when mounted, taken from the 2010 V&A Diaghilev Ballets Russes exhibition records.)
Object history
Owned by the Diaghilev and de Basil Ballet foundatin and sold as Lot 54 at the Sotheby auction of Ballets Russes material at the Scala Theatre 17 July 1968 where it was purchased by P Godison for £120
Summary
Costume designed by Natalia Goncharova and worn by Lubov Tchernicheva as the Sea Princess in Sadko, at the London Coliseum in 1918. It is likely the original costume which would have been first worn by the English dancer, Doris Faithful who created the role of the Sea Princess which she performed in the USA.

The underwater ballet derives from scene 6 from the opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov which was staged in a new version by Adolf Bolm as a particularly Russian work for the second tour of the USA by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. It was previewed at the Teatro Victoria Eugenia in San Sebastián, Spain, on 19 August 1916.

The 1916 production of Sadko was the second by the Ballets Russes (in June 1911 Sadko:In the Underwater Kingdom with vocalists and dance had been staged at the Théâtre du Châtelet by the Ballets Russes for four performances). The 1916 Sadko reused the set by Boris Anisfeld. The scene presented in both productions is that in which Sadko charmed the Sea Princess so she lured him to her father's underwater kingdom. There his music played on the gusli (a Russian harp) caused all the sea creatures to dance. Eventually Sadko broke the strings of his gusli to escape to the real world taking his sea-bride with him.

After three performances in Spain, Sadko featured in the opening performance at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York on 16 October 1916 although it only appears to have had 5 performances on the tour. In New York the ballet was photographed by White. Sadko was revived during the 1918-19 season at the London Coliseum where it was favourably reviewed. The Observer 3 November 1918 described how when Sadko played the 'finny Court had to dance to it. How oddly, how madly, how waterily, they jigged! There was the great Sea-King himself, with his huge green beard and his splendid robes and crown, bobbing it up and down and round and round. And there were all the watery people flopping it and twirling it and flapping it to the mad music of the harper. And the colours as they danced were just as sheeny and strange and under-watery and lovely as could be. It is a fascinating little ballet, at once comical and exquisite.' It had 15 performances at the London Coliseum where it received its final performance on 12 February 1919.

Collection
Accession number
S.741-1980

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Record createdJuly 1, 2009
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