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Nijinsky in L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune,
by Léon Bakst

March 2011


Costume design for Nijinski in
Petrushka by Benois

March lecture

Elizabeth Rumbelow entertained us with an exploration of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. She is a popular returning lecturer who in the past has talked to us about the images of Cleopatra and presented a well received Special Interest Day on the Three Romantics. For those who managed to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929 before it closed this lecture would have been a bonus, for the rest of us it was a fascinating eye-opener into the personalities engaged in the collaboration of the Ballets Russes.

Diaghilev had a passion for music and art and set up his company in the Châtelet Theatre in Paris, enlisting the talents of an extraordinary range of dancers, composers and artists. Elizabeth looked closely at the productions of two famous ballets, Petrushka and L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune, and examined their sets, costumes, choreography and music. We were entertained by Stravinsky’s and Debussy’s music, aurally as well as visually, and even had a demonstration of the difficulty of the poses Nijinsky expected his dancers to hold – going far beyond what we normally expect our lecturers to do! A very entertaining and informative evening was much enjoyed.

New Year of lectures

Our new programme year is approaching fast and with your membership renewal letter there is a list of the planned lectures for 2011/2012 and a brief outline of the subject. The lectures – and visits for this year – are also posted on our website, with a colour picture; we hope this will encourage you to renew your membership and that you enjoy our forthcoming year.

At the April meeting, those who have renewed will receive their membership/programme cards as usual, so it is helpful if you can send in your renewal forms as quickly as possible. Please use the new Standing Order form if you can. Please note that it must be signed (we are sorry we omitted to mention this), and please also add your sort code number.

On the subject of lectures

Many thanks to those of you who responded to our request for lecture suggestions. They have been added to our list and will be considered by the Programme Committee.

Early start

The lectures from this May onwards will start promptly at 7.00p.m. to give our lecturers time to both answer questions AND get the train home! On some occasions it has happened that they could do one or the other, but not both, which is very disappointing. Please arrive in time to sign in before that because the reception desk is only manned until a few minutes before the start time.

Museum of London Docklands

This visit is now full and there is a waiting list. If you have any questions about your place, please contact Max Bone on 01603 712273.

Our June lecturer is a television star

Members who watched the television programme, which has been shown several times recently on BBC4, When God Spoke English – the Making of the King James Bible may have had a noticed a lively fair-haired academic being interviewed in Hampton Court Palace. That is our June lecturer Dr Lucy Worsley, and from what could be seen on the programme she has an excellent personality for public speaking and should be an entertaining presenter. We look forward to meeting her in person.

A cup of coffee

Many thanks to those members who have kindly offered a pair of hands for pouring coffee; quite a good number of those attending the lectures take advantage of this opportunity to chat, socialise and sometimes ask further questions of our lecturers. Any more volunteers would be gratefully appreciated, and the more there are on the rota, the less often your turn will come around! Please contact Hilary Payne at

Our website

We are submitting our web page to the National Association for their Media Awards for “the most informative, original and easy to use Society website”. To this end, we have posted more lovely pictures of Norwich on our banner heading – which now gives you a slideshow on the Home page of a total of 13 photographs; the same photographs are randomly shown every time a user clicks on a page or item. New photos include a detail of Dragon Hall, the Ziggurat, a detail of the Sainsbury Centre and the Henry Moore in the foreground, and a detail of the Cathedral cloisters.

Our next Special Interest Day

Due to the fact that we are only human, and therefore prone to error, we have listed the date of the October Special Interest Day on our printed summary of events as Thursday 26th, and it should be Wednesday 26th. Apologies. It will of course be correct when we sent out the booking flyer.

Visit to Docklands Museum

Our first visits flyer has gone out by email – which will save a considerable sum of postage – and if you have not received this, or if you are having trouble printing it, please email and we will try to help you. If you have email, and also receive the flyer in the post, please let us know so that we can save time, print and postage costs. Many thanks.


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