Rubinstein, Ida. (1885–1960) [Ravel, Maurice. (1875–1937)] [Ansermet, Ernst. (1883–1969)]
Original 1929 La Scala Broadside Poster, including Ravel's "La Valse"
Original La Scala broadside from the week of March 14–21, 1929. The featured artist, Ida Rubinstein, danced roles choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska: the role of Pysche in Le nozze di Amore e Psiche, music by J. S. Bach, orchestrated by Honegger; La Bien-Aimée, music by Schubert and Liszt, orchestrated by Milhaud; and the choreographic poem Valse, music by Ravel. The orchestra directed by Ernest Ansermet, with scenarios and set designs by Alexandre Benois, and couture for Mme. Rubinstein by Casa Paquin. Published by the Edizioni S. E. S., Officine Grafiche Manifesti Confalonieri at 4, via Barbavara in Milano. Affixed with ten-lira revenue stamp (marca da bollo) at upper right corner. Printed on thin paper, 10.5 x 15 inches (27 x 38 cm), in fine condition.
Ida Rubinstein, famous Russian actor, dancer, and director, left the Ballets Russes to form several dance companies. During 1928–29, the period of this broadside, she directed her own dance company in Paris with Bronislava Nijinska.
Perhaps the most intriguing component of the present program, is the presentation of Ravel's La valse. The idea of La valse began first with the title "Vienne", then Wien, as early as 1906, where Ravel intended to orchestrate a piece in tribute to the waltz form and to Johann Strauss II. Eventually completed between February 1919 and 1920, Ravel completely reworked his idea of Wien into what became La valse, which was to have been written under commission from Serge Diaghilev as a ballet. However, he never produced the ballet. After hearing a two-piano reduction performed by Ravel and Marcelle Meyer, Diaghilev said it was a "masterpiece" but rejected Ravel's work as "not a ballet. It's a portrait of ballet". Ravel, hurt by the comment, ended the relationship. Subsequently, it became a popular concert work and when the two men met again during 1925, Ravel refused to shake Diaghilev's hand. Diaghilev challenged Ravel to a duel, but friends persuaded Diaghilev to recant. The men never met again. The ballet was premiered in Antwerp in October 1926 by the Royal Flemish Opera Ballet, and there were later productions by the Ballets Ida Rubinstein in 1928 and 1931 with choreography by Bronislava Nijinska.