Okay, not the actual premiere, but the BBC dramatisation that was shown earlier this year. Alex Ross has spotted four videos on YouTube (1, 2, 3, 4) covering the complete first performance. As you’d expect from the BBC it’s pretty authentic stuff – Nijinsky playing with the house lights, cues and beats being shouted from the wings to dancers who could no longer hear the music over the catcalls, the costumes, etc. I don’t know how much of the dialogue is authentic, informed guesswork (‘go back to Russia’, ‘long live Lenin’), or pure fantasy. Some of it is, unfortunately, clunky BBC sitcom writing. But the thing as a whole is an incredibly powerful experience. As an artistic triumph over adversity it’s second to none, and with the benefit of hindsight and plenty of judicious editing the audience interventions and disruptions only add to the power of the music and the ballet (in which the travails of the dancers and the characters they perform are shown as closely intertwined). Another interesting observation is that in this dramatisation (and again I don’t how authentic this can claim to be) it is the women who enjoy it more – almost all of them shown like it, whereas male opinion is fiercely divided.
Anyway, it’s well worth half an hour of your time to watch this.