It marks the centenary of the ‘lost’ 1918 Mariinsky Theatre production, which is based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen about a Chinese emperor whose fascination with a nightingale’s song ultimately saves his life. It was the first of Stravinsky’s operas to feature sets and costumes designed by Golovin, a renowned Russian artist.
However, after a single performance at the Mariinsky in St Petersburg on May 30, 1918, the ambitious production disappeared from the repertoire in the wake of revolution and civil war.
Michael Klatchko, a Russian doctor who travelled internationally, came into possession of the works and kept them until his death. Douglas Engmann, Klatchko’s grandson, is the current owner of the designs.
The exhibition, Music, Magic and Flight: Alexander Golovin’s Designs for the Lost Production of Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Le Rossignol,’ runs from May 24-June 6.
“This exhibition is a rare opportunity to see these extraordinary and beautiful works,” says Yelena Harbick, international director of Bonhams’ Russian department. “They provide a fascinating visual narrative of the final vestiges of the opulence and elegance of the late Imperial Theatre and reveal the brilliant creativity of the Russian Theatre that flourished during the most explosive and transformative years of the early 20th century.”