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Mikhail Baryshnikov
Robert Wilson

production dates

Spoleto, Italia
Spoleto 58 Festival dei due mondi
Teatro Caio Melisso
8-11 July 2015

Milano, Italy
CRT Teatro dell'Arte
11-20 September 2015

Madrid, Spain
Teatros del Canal
12-15 May 2016

Montecarlo, Monaco
Salle Garnier, Opéra de Monte-Carlo
30 June - 3 July 2016



Iconic director Robert Wilson and legendary performer Mikhail Baryshnikov are joining artistic forces to create a new performance work based on the famous diaries of Russian dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky who, in his prime, was recognized as the most celebrated male dancer in the Western world, performing with Sergei Diaghilev’s renowned Ballets Russes. The project is the second collaboration for Mr. Wilson and Mr. Baryshnikov, whose production of Daniil Kharms’ The Old Woman, featuring Mr. Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe, has been touring nationally and internationally to critical acclaim.

Of Nijinsky’s diaries, first published in 1936, American author Henry Miller wrote: “It is a communication so naked, so desperate, that it breaks the mold. We are face to face with reality, and it is almost unbearable...had he not gone to the asylum we would have had in Nijinsky a writer equal to the dancer.”

Letter to a Man  is a theatrical work performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, who enters the fragmented mind of the great dance artist as he descends into madness.  As always in Wilson’s works movements, text, lights, set and music are equal parts of the same creation where, as he says, "all theatre is dance."


As Robert Wilson’s staging of the Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky opens, we find Mikhail Baryshnikov as the troubled dancer in Budapest in 1945. He and his wife have found refuge with her family. These are the final weeks of World War II and battles between German and Russian soldiers rage in the destroyed streets. Nijinsky’s mental health had broken down in Switzerland at the close of the First World War. His Diaries are an extraordinary document of his struggle not to go mad and to understand what was happening to him. When he stopped writing his Diary, he locked himself away, as in a tomb. There he remained for more than two decades, watched over by his wife. But as another catastrophe in Europe
draws to its close, the great artist seems to be coming to life again. We visit him behind his silence. For Nijinsky, time has stood still. He is alone with his ghosts, especially that of Diaghilev, the impresario who first put him on stage before the ballet world.



Robert Wilson / Mikhail Baryshnikov

direction, set design, lighting concept Robert Wilson
with Mikhail Baryshnikov

based on the Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky
text by Christian Dumais-Lvowski
dramaturgy Darryl Pinckney

music Hal Willner
costumes Jacques Reynaud
collaboration to movements and spoken text Lucinda Childs
lighting design A.J. Weissbard
associate set design Annick Lavallée-Benny
associate director Nicola Panzer
sound design Nick Sagar / Ella Wahlström
video design Tomek Jeziorski
assistant director Fani Sarantari
stage manager Thaiz Bozano
stage engineer Mauro Farina
technical director Reinhard Bichsel
lighting supervisor Marcello Lumaca
assistant costume designer Micol Notarianni
make up Laura Tosini / Maria Rita Parisi
production delegate Simona Fremder

a Change Performing Arts and Baryshnikov Productions project
commissioned by Spoleto Festival dei 2Mondi, BAM, Cal Performances University of California Berkeley, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA
in collaboration with Teatros del Canal Madrid, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo/Monaco Dance Forum
executive production CRT Milano

a special thank to the Vaslav and Romola Nijinsky Estate


in English and Russian


photo ©Lucie Jansch