The First Season


Unidentified artist. Le Pavillon d’Armide, Character portrait of Tamara Karsavina, undated. Ink and watercolor. Uncatalogued portrait drawings. Purchased with the Parmenia Migel Ekstrom Memorial Fund, 1999.

Le Pavillon d’Armide

Michel Fokine’s ballet Le Pavillon d’Armide had its origins at the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, in 1907. With a brilliant score by Nicolai Tcherepnin, handsome but traditional costumes by Alexandre Benois, and choreo­graphy by Michel Fokine, Le Pavillon d’Armide was one of the chief successes of the first season of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

Set in the Baroque period, the ballet depicts Vicomte de Beaugency who seeks refuge in a mysterious castle during a storm. He spends the night in the pavilion of the castle, where he is transfixed by a tapestry of Armide.  That night, he dreams that he enters the tapestry and falls in love with Armide.  He wakes and realizes it was just a dream, only to discover that he still has Armide’s scarf in his hand.  This simple plot bears resemblance to many works from ballet history, including La Sylphide and the Ballets Russes work Le Spectre de la Rose.