Leon Bakst in Britain. Production - Reception - Impact

Susanne Marten-Finnis is an Anglo-German scholar who has specialised in the study of Jewish periodicals in the European countries of former Jewish residency and migration. Her research methods explore the nexus between European thought and a unique textual tradition as the principle subject of Jewish heritage. Exemplary in this respect are her pioneering studies and publications on the transformative character of Jewish periodicals in Vilna, Czernovitz and Berlin. Her academic career includes positions at Queens University Belfast (Northern Ireland) and the universities of Portsmouth (United Kingdom) and Bremen (Germany) as well as visiting scholarships at the universities of Heidelberg, Berlin, Minsk and Oxford.

“Outsplendouring Splendour”! – commented the British press on the décor the Russian-Jewish artist Léon Bakst created one hundred years ago for the performance of the ballet La Belle au Bois dormant, revived under the title The Sleeping Princess at the London Alhambra Theatre in 1921. Indeed, Bakst’s contribution was the deciding factor in the great success of this ballet. Its spectacular impact lasted for decades. In this talk I will speak about the powerful Bakst reception in Britain. I will introduce Léon Bakst as a scenic artist, scrutinize British patterns of reception, and shed light on the enormously strong female response that Bakst’s décor evoked among the British public both Jewish and non-Jewish.

All are welcome!